…as party founding members back acting national chairman
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Wednesday’s recognition of the suspended Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Victor Giadom, as the party’s acting national chairman has worsened the leadership crisis rocking the ruling party.
Buhari’s declaration of support for Giadom threw the party into more confusion as 17 members of the National Working Committee insisted the NEC meeting being convened by him was illegal.
The NWC members also threatened to boycott today’s meeting, insisting that the President was blackmailed to give it his endorsement.
The crisis in the APC NWC reached its crescendo last week when the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja upheld the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
At an emergency meeting on the evening of the same day, 17 members of the NWC loyal to Oshiomhole, appointed a former governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as acting chairman.
But Giadom, in a counter move, along with two other NWC members, on June 17, declared himself the acting chairman at a press conference. He backed his action with the judgment of the FCT high court, which in March endorsed him the acting national chairman.
Despite his suspension by two Port Harcourt courts and his replacement as the deputy national secretary, Giadom on Tuesday issued a notice of the APC NEC meeting, which would hold today.
But the Ajimobi-led NWC on Tuesday said having been suspended from the NWC, Giadom was not qualified to convene the NEC meeting.
But on Wednesday, the President threw his weight behind Giadom as the APC acting chairman.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, who announced this in a statement, said, “The President has received very convincing advice on the position of the law as far as the situation in the party is concerned and has determined that the law is on the side of Victor Giadom as acting national chairman.
“Because he will always act in accordance with the law, the President will be attending the virtual meeting Giadom called for tomorrow afternoon.
“We urge the media to stop promoting manufactured controversies and to not give any further room for mischievous interpretations of the law on this matter.
“In addition to the President, the Giadom meeting will, hopefully, be attended by our governors and the leaders of the National Assembly.”
But the APC acting National Secretary, Waziri Bulama in a statement in Abuja, on Wednesday, counter the statement by the Presidency endorsing Giadom.
According to him, “Our leader, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is renowned for insisting on compliance with our constitution and rule of law.
“It can, therefore, not be true that Mr President supports the convening of such an illegal NEC by a non-member of APC’s NWC. We urge all to disregard the said notice as neither the NWC nor the NEC has called for such meeting.
“We are constrained to once again react to a purported invitation to a National Executive Committee meeting of our great party; the All Progressives Congress, issued by one Victor Giadom who until the last general elections in 2019 held the position the deputy national secretary of the party.
“Our esteemed members are advised to disregard this invitation because the author and sole signatory of the said invitation is not a member of the National Working Committee of our party, talk more of being an acting national chairman as claimed.
“He had voluntarily resigned in compliance with Article 31(1)(i) of our constitution to contest the position of deputy governor in Rivers State during the last general elections and has not been re-nominated by his zone to return to that office. Further, his non-membership of the NWC has been affirmed by the courts and an order restraining him from parading himself as a member of the NWC was granted against him on June 22, 2020 in the case of Dele Moses and others vs APC (SUIT NO: PHC/360/2020) where the court said inter alia:
“That an order of interim injunction be and is hereby made restraining the 1st, 2nd 4th and 5th defendants, acting by themselves or through any of their officers, agents, or privies from recognizing or regarding the third defendant/respondent as the national chairman or acting national chairman or deputy national secretary of the first defendant/respondent (the APC) or member of the national working committee of the first defendant pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
But members of the APC NWC have vowed not to attend today’s NEC meeting called by Giadom.
Already, the Ajimobi-led NWC has rejected the invitation extended to its members to attend the NEC meeting.
The NWC made its position known in a statement jointly signed by the acting National Chairman, Hilliard Eta, and the acting National Secretary, Waziri Bulama, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
They said the President was wrongly advised and blackmailed into agreeing to lend his weight to illegality.
The statement read, “We wish to unequivocally state that members of the National Working Committee believe that the President was offered wrong advice or blackmailed into lending his weighty office to the illegality of the National Executive Committee meeting purportedly convened by one Victor Giadom on 25th June, 2020.
“We hereby respectfully implore Mr. President to kindly avail himself with facts of the matter regarding the impasse presently experienced by the party so as to guide him in his assessment of the matter because we are sure that the President if properly advised, would come to the conclusion that the meeting convened by Chief Victor Giadom bothers on illegality and criminality.
“The National Working Committee regrets to turn down the invitation to the illegal and unconstitutional national executive committee convened by Chief Victor Giadom.
“We believe that attending such a meeting will amount to embracing illegalities and turning a blind eye to the infractions on the constitution of our great party. “
Today’s NEC is APC’s ‘Doctrine of Necessity’- Founding members
But some founding members of the ruling APC have backed today’s meeting of the National Executive Committee.
They described the reconvened NEC meeting as “APC Doctrine of Necessity.”
The founding members, who issued and signed a statement on Wednesday, were Salihu Mustapha, Polycap Udah, Capt Bala Jibrin, Ray Morphy, Umar Kachalla Zubair, Dr Slyvanus Amechi, Shaba Emangi, Emeka Enechi, Charles Idahosa, Mohammed Aboki Mahmud, Prince Maxkor Shaka Momodu and Yusuf Omobeni.
They urged all NEC members to attend or participate virtually in the “golden opportunity” for the collective interest of all and the survival of the party.
They said, “We the representatives of founding members of the Legacy Parties that merged to form our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), welcome the Reconvened National Executive Committee meeting billed for Thursday 25th June, 2020; with Open-Arms and indeed for the saving grace – APC Doctrine of Necessity. We appeal to all NEC members to attend or participate virtually as the case maybe for the collective interest of all and the survival of our great party.
“This crucial meeting is Doctrine of Necessity and the last hope of the recovery of the soul of APC; because we have complained bitterly, wailed and lamented helplessly as our great party is sliding dangerously from 24 State Governors in 2019 to God knows.
“And regrettably our sister political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was on its knees in 2019, is today the ultimate beneficiary.
“This is why PDP national Chairman, Hon Uche Secondous gloriously hailed our suspended Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as their oxygen supplier.
“For the avoidance of doubt, may we for emphases state once more that our rating of the Reconvened National Executive Committee meeting as Doctrine of Necessity is because NEC going by Article, 13.1 of APC’s Constitution is the Principal Executive Body of our party.
“This being the case, since politics is jaw-jaw, and negotiation is imperative for the resolution of any conflict, the meeting therefore presents a golden opportunity for us to resolve most of the intractable issues bedeviling our great party.
“We restate that this is a win-win meeting, let’s take the message and leave the messenger.
“This is more so when Mr President has graciously not only accented to the meeting, but provided seamless venue.
“We do not want to belabour our esteemed leaders with the truism that the deliberate ineffectiveness and utter redundancy NEC was rendered in the last two years contributed immensely to the sordid scenario we found ourselves.
“Is APC’s Constitution not our grundnorm? Is not a fact of law that if the NEC has met the issue of all manner of culture of impunity, arbitrary appointments, waivers and unratified party primary regulations could not have arisen? Time is of essence.
“Accordingly, we appeal that we utilise the golden opportunity provided by the Doctrine of Necessity to participate in the meeting without let or hindrance.”