Different Tunes as Faction Declares APC NEC Meeting Illegal

Different Tunes as Faction Declares APC NEC Meeting Illegal

…Urges Members to Disregard Notice …Buhari Okays Gaidom as Acting Chair, Opts to Attend Meeting The All Progressives Congress (APC) faction, said to be loyal to the National Leader, Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu has declared as illegal a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC), convened for Thursday by the court recognised acting National Chairman,

…Urges Members to Disregard Notice

…Buhari Okays Gaidom as Acting Chair, Opts to Attend Meeting

The All Progressives Congress (APC) faction, said to be loyal to the National Leader, Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu has declared as illegal a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC), convened for Thursday by the court recognised acting National Chairman, Mr Victor Giadom, even as President Muhammadu Buhari has opted to endorse the meeting.

A statement signed by the factional National Secretary, Mr Waziri Bulama urged NEC members to disregard the said notice of meeting, insisting that it is not true that President Buhari as a respecter for the rule of law has thrown his weight behind convening such meeting.

The statement reads; “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 APC issued by one Victor Giadom who until the last general elections in 2019 held the position of 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 NWC 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 & ANOR V 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 3rd Defendant/Respondent as the National Chairman or Acting National Chairman or Deputy National Secretary of the 1st Defendant/Respondent or member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the 1st Defendant/Respondent pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice’.

“He has also been suspended by the Rivers State Chapter of our party and the NWC received communication of same on June 21, 2020.

“More instructive is the fact that the said invitation copiously references the NEC meeting he illegally sought to convene on March 17, 2020 with a view to resurrecting same to hold on June 25, 2020. Regrettably, this proposed NEC meeting is also infected by the same bug that rendered the former void which is Article 25 (B) of our Constitution which provides: (i) The National Executive Committee shall meet every quarter and or at any time decided by the National Chairman or at the request made in writing by at least two-third of the members of the National Executive Committee provided that not less than 14 days notice is given for the meeting to be summoned.

“ii. Without prejudice to Article 25(B)(i) of this Constitution, the National Working Committee may summon an emergency National Executive Committee meeting at any time, provided that at least seven days’ notice of the meeting shall be given to all those entitled to attend”.

“It is clear that even a legitimate Chairman is only invested with powers to fix/announce a date for NEC meetings to hold every quarter and nothing more. He cannot summon a meeting on that date because under our Constitution only the National Secretary can do so pursuant to Article 14.3 of our Constitution which provides:

“The National Secretary shall:

ii. Cause to be issued as directed, notices of meetings of the National Convention, the National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee of the Party’.

“Indeed two-thirds of the members of NEC may also summon a meeting, but it shall be required that the National Secretary gives 14 days notice to all persons entitled to attend.

“In this case, the purported invitation was illegally issued on June 23, 2020 and the meeting fixed for June 25, 2020 which gives notice for only 2 days. We concede that a shorter Notice period of 7 days is allowed under our Constitution as stated in 25(b)(ii) above, however, a majority of the members of NWC must have voted to summon such a NEC meeting and that was not the case in this instance.

“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”.

Buhari Cast Lot for Gaidom

President Muhammadu Buhari has however okayed Mr Giadom as the acting National Chairman of the APC, revealing he would be attending the virtual NEC meeting convened by Giadom on Thursday.

Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity Mr Garba Shehu in a statement on Wednesday, stated that Buhari had received convincing advice on the position of the law as far as the situation in the party is concerned.

He further stated that the President had determined that the law was on the side of 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.

“In addition to the President, the Giadom meeting will, hopefully, be attended by our Governors and the leaders of the National Assembly,” the statement reads.

Jos High Court Endorses NEC

Meanwhile, a High Court sitting in Jos, Plateau State has granted an order compelling Giadom to proceed with the NEC meeting fixed for Thursday, June 25th, 2020.

The order was made upon the application of the Chairman of Plateau APC, Mr. Latep Dabang, who is also a member of NEC.

He complained that the provision of the APC constitution regarding the convening of a quarterly NEC meeting has been serially abused and ignored by the present NWC, leading to a litany of illegalities by the NWC.

Already letters have been sent out to all the Governors and members of the National Assembly who are NEC members.

Whilst the Governors and lawmakers would be seated at the Council Chambers with Mr. President, others would join by virtual means.

Already, the visitors list at the Presidential Villa contains the names of NEC members expected to arrive tomorrow, confirming the clear endorsement of the meeting by Buhari.

Giadom Convened NEC Meeting

Giadom, in a statement issued Tuesday, said he was convening the meeting with the consent of President Buhari. He said that the NEC meeting of the party scheduled for Thursday, June 25, would take place at the State House, Abuja.

The statement read: “I, Chief Victor Giadom, having been duly authorized by Court Order to Act as National Chairman of our great party and to preside over all meetings of the NWC and NEC hereby and with the consent of the President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR (who is the leader of our Party) reconvene the NEC meeting that was earlier billed to hold on the 17th of March, 2020, but was postponed.

“The reconvened meeting shall hold on Thursday, June 25th, 2020. Venue shall be the State House, Abuja.

“However, in keeping strictly to the COVID-19 Guidelines, the postponed NEC shall proceed by virtual means. The codes would be sent by text to the phone numbers of all NEC members. Those to be physically present at the State House, Abuja, would also be communicated.”

Giadom’s statement coincided with the day when a detachment of the Police took over the National Headquarters of the party, preventing NWC members from gaining access. Barely 24 hours after, some Governors elected on the platform of the party met with President Buhari at the State House over the leadership crisis in the party.

Oshiomhole’s Suspension Triggered Crisis

The crisis in the party degenerated last week after the Court of Appeal affirmed the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, by his ward in Edo State, and stripped him of his duties and privileges as party chair.

His suspension was the fallout of the frosty relationship between him and Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, which dragged on for over a year, leading to the Governor’s disqualification from the party’s governorship primary. Obaseki later left the party for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Oshiomhole’s exit triggered a bitter rivalry for the soul of the party among contending factions, leading to the emergence of three acting chairmen for the party in less than 24 hours of the suspension.

The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) met a few hours after Oshiomhole’s suspension and picked one of his zonal deputies, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as the acting national chairman.

However, the next day, APC Deputy National Secretary, Mr Giadom, dangling an earlier order of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, declared himself as the acting national chairman.

With Ajimobi in hospital, where he is receiving treatment for contracting COVID-19, the NWC, in line with the party’s constitution, asked the National Vice Chairman (South-south), Mr Hilliard Eta, to act instead.

Eta on Monday inaugurated Mr. Worgu Boms as the party’s acting Deputy National Secretary, to replace Giadom who was said to have resigned his position in order to contest as running mate of the party’s flag bearer in the last governorship election in Rivers State.

NWC May Spurn Invitation

In a statement after an emergency meeting of the NWC on Wednesday, Eta said Buhari was wrongly advised and said the NWC will not be a part of the meeting.

“We wish to unequivocally state that members of the National Working Committee (NWC) 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 borders on illegality and criminality.

“The National Working Committee (NWC) regrets to turn down the invitation to the illegal and unconstitutional National Executive Committee (NEC) convened by Chief Victor Giadom.”

Apart from the President and Vice President, all APC Governors, the leadership of the National Assembly, past chairmen of the party and NWC members are expected at the Villa Thursday for the NEC meeting. Conspicuously absent on this list is APC National Leader, Mr Tinubu, signalling that the rug may have been pulled under his feet.

Photo: APC Acting National Chairman, Mr Victor Gaidom

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