Tenure Elongation: APC NWC divided over technical committee
INDICATIONS emerged yesterday that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may currently be divided over earlier resolution at the last NEC meeting of the party that a technical committee be set up to review President Muhammadu Buhari’s opposition to the elongation of the tenure of the party’s NWC which ends in June.
Investigations by The Nation revealed that some members of the NWC and other prominent chieftains of the party are opposed to the setting up of the review committee, preferring instead to have the party announce dates and procedures for the immediate conduct of congresses that will usher in new leadership at all levels for the party at the expiration of the tenure of the John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC.
In a like manner, a former member of the NWC has said that the idea of a technical committee may be a ploy by the current chairman of the party and his allies to buy time and see if they can circumvent the directive of President Buhari in their bid to stay in office beyond June. According to him, this disagreement among party chieftains is responsible for the delay in setting up the technical committee 96 hours after the decision to do so was made public.
A top ranking member of the NWC, while speaking with The Nation in Lagos yesterday, confirmed that the committee was yet to be set up. According to the politician, there are issues over the propriety of subjecting the outcome of a NEC meeting to a technical committee to be instituted by the NWC “which is a respondent in the matter to be adjudicated upon.”
“The President, who is the leader of the party, spoke at the last NEC meeting and he was not contradicted by anybody. He made his position clear and buttressed it with constitutional reasons. We believe the way to go is to put modalities and dates in place for the conduct of congresses as advised by Mr. President and other leaders of the party. The idea of a technical committee, given the shortness of time, is unacceptable.
“That the said technical committee is yet to be constituted 96 hours after the meeting is a proof that it is unpopular. We know those insisting on it and we know their intentions. We have told them we will reject it as we cannot be judges in our own case. The NWC is a party to the matter to be reviewed and it should not be the one to set up such a body,” our source claimed.
The Nation also learnt that disagreement over the technical committee may have also militated against ongoing efforts by the party to get its chieftains currently in court against the planned tenure elongation of the NWC, to withdraw their cases. Miffed by the insistence of Oyegun and some of his officials to subject the issue to a technical committee, rather than announce dates and modalities for congresses, the aggrieved party chieftains are refusing to withdraw the cases.
“We are sincerely talking to our members currently in court over the matter to respect President Buhari and save the APC from crisis by withdrawing their cases. But they are insisting that there must be dates and procedures for congresses in place for them to do that. Two of them invited to the national secretariat during the week were categorical in rejecting the idea of a technical committee.
“But sadly, some of our people see the technical committee as an escape route from what is obviously an inevitable end. The party’s future depends on internal democracy and the President has warned us not to toy with that. Most of us are ready to seek re-election at the congress than threaten the future of the party by staying put in office through the back door,” our source added.
Efforts to speak to the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, who earlier announced the decision of the party to immediately set up the technical committee after the NEC meeting on Tuesday, on the development, we’re not successful as calls to his mobile phone numbers did not go through. But another member of the NWC, who said he was not authorized to speak on the matter, confirmed that the technical committee was yet to be set up due to the need to iron out some grey areas.
“The committee is not yet in place. We are trying to agree on some things before that could be done. It is all in the interest of the party. I can assure you that progress is being made to resolve all these issues. Mr. President has spoken and his opinion must be respected. As soon as there is an agreement on some issues, you will see us moving forward,” he said. (The Nation)