Governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have urged the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to review disciplinary actions taken by the embattled National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee against some party members.
The governors, under the auspices of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) stated this in a memo written through their Director-General, Salihu Lukman, entitled: “Disciplinary Actions by Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC: Why APC must be Rule-Based” and made available to journalists on Saturday in Abuja.
Daily Trust reports that the party has scheduled emergency NEC meeting for Tuesday March 17, 2020 and the President, Muhammadu Buhari, who is regarded as a father of the party, is expected to be present.
While Oshiomhole-led NWC had suspended Sen. Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman (North), Alh. Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman (North West), was alleged to have been suspended by his Magajin Gari, “A” Ward, Sokoto North Local Government of Sokoto State over alleged anti-party activities.
Former governors of Ogun, Imo States and governor of Ondo State, Ibikunle Amosun, Rochas Okorocha and Rotimi Akeredolu respectively and two others were also suspended over alleged anti-party activities before they were reinstated.
But Lukman urged NEC of the party to make APC rule-based with a view to laying solid foundation for the resolution of all the major leadership problems facing the party.
He said: “With the emergency National Executive Council (NEC) of APC scheduled to hold Tuesday, March 17, 2019, apart from the issue of appointing Acting National Chairman, the resolution of cases of so-called suspension of members of the National Working Committee (NWC) would have to be addressed.
“This is very important given that part of what the emergency NEC meeting would be required to achieve is to lay solid foundation for the resolution of all the major leadership problems facing the party. That will mean that the NEC will have to review all cases affecting all leaders of the party, especially members of the NWC and as much as possible ensure they are settled.
“This is also necessary because after the meeting, it will be the NWC that will be saddled with the responsibility of providing leadership to resolve all other leadership problems. Therefore, charity must begin at home, or as they say in law, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.”
Our correspondents recall that Shuaibu, in May 2019, wrote a letter to Oshiomhole, asking him to resign due to alleged incompetence. The NWC was then reported to have set up a five-man Disciplinary Committee led by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the then Deputy National Chairman (South), to investigate allegations against Sen. Shuaibu. The NWC was said to have suspended Sen. Shuaibu on the purported recommendation of the disciplinary committee.
Lukman wondered whether NWC of the party has power to suspend its party members according to APC’s constitution.
“Does the NWC has the power under the APC constitution to suspend any of its serving officers such as Sen. Shuaibu who is the Deputy National Chairman (North)? Without going into the details of the allegations against either Sen. Shuaibu or Alh. Abdulkadir, what is the procedure for discipline as provided in the APC constitution?”, he queried.
He added: “It is very difficult not to conclude that by its actions, the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC arbitrarily handled issues of discipline such that even where there could be valid cases of activating disciplinary proceedings against Sen. Shuaibu and the three Governors, it was compromised therefore rendered the so-called suspension, acts of nullity.
“The case of Alh. Abdulkadir is different largely because it was the decision of the ward executive, which the NWC, instead of transmitting it to NEC, decided to appropriate the powers of NEC. This may require that NEC recall the decision of the ward and proceed to appoint the fact-finding committee as provided in Article 21(B)(ii) of the APC constitution.
“Somehow, all these so-called cases of suspension and the speed with which the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC acted on them further demonstrate the intolerant disposition of the APC NWC under Comrade Oshiomhole.
“Unfortunately, it also exhibited a disturbing reality about the inability of members of the NWC to cross-check provisions of the APC constitution before arriving at their decision. Such conducts are only the credentials of tyrants and despots and not political party leaders under a constitutional democracy.
“The reality is that to discipline a party leader of the status of a Deputy National Chairman, National Vice Chairman, Governors, etc. is not an easy task. It requires good planning and the necessary courage to be combative. But more importantly, it is a question of skillful application of capacity of our leaders to mobilise our members to enforce provisions of the APC constitution on matters affecting the conduct of party leaders.
“It is not as simple as just sitting in Abuja to make pronouncement. I fear that combativeness was applied at the expense of membership mobilisation. All this period, at no time did the NWC convene any meeting to attempt to explain or seek for support of any of its disciplinary decision to any member or organ. Everything was reduced to media outburst, which is unfortunate.
“This brings us to the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole by his ward. In every respect, Comrade Oshiomhole’s case is similar to that of Alh. Abdulkadir. Since November 2, 2019, the ward executive of Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State announced the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole, interestingly for alleged anti-party activities similar to the charges against Alh. Abdulkadir.
“The decision was transmitted to the NWC and instead of applying the provision of Article 21(B)(ii) of the APC constitution to set up a fact-finding committee, or even endorsed the suspension given the precedence they have set in the case of Alh.
Abdulkadir, the NWC rejected the decision of the ward executive to suspend Comrade Oshiomhole.”