A seeming desperate move by President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the leadership crisis of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday with a military regime-like decree has hit the rocks.
Members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, who the Buhari proposal flushed out of the office at a questionable National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting summoned by the Victor Giadom faction of the troubled APC have threatened to drag President Buhari to court.
If the aggrieved APC chieftains challenged their sack in court, it will mean that President Buhari’s appeal to the warring factions has gone unheeded. The Nigerian leader had warned that continued political antagonism in the party could lead to its destruction.
He accordingly appealed to the warring factions to withdraw all pending litigations against one another, and settle for internal conciliation.
This reporter reported on Thursday that the decision of the Giadom NEC may not resolve the crisis in the party because the credibility of the faction that summoned the Presidential Villa meeting was in doubt.
Some legal luminaries including a top presidential aide like Prof. Itse Sagay had warned President Buhari against gracing the Giadom NEC meeting, claiming it was ‘’illegal’’.
Now, 18 members of the sacked NWC are kicking against the decision of the Giadom NEC meeting. The meeting was supposed to be a virtual one but some members attended in person along with Buhari.
Equally, the political camp of the APC ceremonial National Leader and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, is firing at President Buhari, accusing him of not being grateful for the over N35 billion their principal allegedly spent to make a president.
Before now, it has been reported by this reporter that there was also another dimension to the APC crisis aimed at aborting Tinubu’s alleged 2023 presidential ambition. Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has been very conspicuous in his opposition to Tinubu’s presidential dream.
It seems Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, has joined forces with others to cut the ex-Lagos governor to size. Giadom, whose faction President Buhari used to hammer the Adams Oshiomhole NWC is an unshaken political associate of Amaechi.
Perhaps, some APC governors are dealing Tinubu a political blow for humiliating one of their own, former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, and for not intervening for Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State in his feud with Oshiomhole.
At the moment, guarded whispers have it that all is not well between Tinubu and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The governor is reportedly not pleased with Tinubu’s “overbearing demands and his attempt to control his administration.”
In the meantime, the 18 NWC members who are loyal to Oshiomhole in a statement by a factional APC Acting National Chairman, Hillard Eta, and acting National Secretary, Waziri Bulama, are saying the Giadom NEC meeting was illegally convened by a suspended National Secretary of the party.
According to Eta and Bulama, the 18 unyielding NWC members are already consulting with their lawyers and other stakeholders: “The NWC of APC wishes to reiterate its earlier position that Victor Giadom has no authority whatsoever to convene a meeting of the NEC of our great party.
‘’Article 25(B) of the constitution of the APC is explicit that only the National Chairman or the NWC is given the prerogative of summoning meetings of the NEC of the party either for statutory quarterly meetings or for emergency meetings. The same provision of the constitution makes it compulsory for notice of a minimum of 14 days in respect of statutory quarterly meetings and seven days in respect of emergency meetings.
“We note that Giadom had convened and conducted a virtual meeting purportedly to be a NEC meeting of our party wherein certain far-reaching resolutions were purportedly reached. While the NWC is studying the unfolding drama, it will be consulting with stakeholders and team of lawyers on the next line of action.
“Therefore, all members of our great party and concerned Nigerians are urged to remain calm pending the outcome of the consultations.”
In support of this position are the National Vice Chairman, North West, Inuwa Abdulkadir; National Vice Chairman, South-West, Pastor Bankole Oluwajana; and National Vice Chairman, North Central, Alhaji Ahmed Wambal.
This is playing out as the new Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, has pledged to do justice to every party member and ensure the current challenges were amicably resolved.
Other members of the caretaker committee and extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee include: Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State (South West), Senator Ken Nnamani (South East), Stella Okorete (Women Representative), Governor Sani Bello of Niger State (North Central), Dr. James Lalu for the physically challenged, Senator Abubakar Yusuf (Senate Representative) and Rep. Akinyemi Olaide, representing House of Representatives, David Lyon (South-South), Abba Ari (North West), Prof. Tahir Mamman (North East), Ismail Ahmed (Youth Leader) and Senator Akpan Udoedehe, the Committee Secretary.
Interestingly, Governor Buni is a former APC National Secretary of the party. For him, the committee is a capable team to deliver the job. “After being two-time National Secretary of the party, I can say I know the party very well. I want to assure every APC member that we will do justice to everyone because we have a capable team.
“I am a team player and I am here to manage a crisis, and if you do not manage crisis, crisis will manage you. So, without justice, there will be no peace. So, I am ready to do justice to every APC member”, he says.
Continuing, he said NEC is the highest organ of the party, except the convention, and it can function for convention in-between, so any decision taken by NEC is the final decision.
“NEC has directed that every member in court should withdraw his suit. Party will carry all members along, especially the leaders of the APC. Many of them have paid their dues to the party, so we will carry them along”, he adds.
Following the fallout of the Giadom NEC meeting at the Presidential Villa, the Nigeria Police on Thursday removed the blockade on the national secretariat of the APC after sealing it off.
The APC secretariat was unsealed a few minutes after the NEC meeting of the party that was presided over by the President Buhari that dissolved the Oshiomhole-led NWC and replaced it with the Governor Buni Caretaker Committee.
Buni had a brief stopover at the secretariat. He went to exchanged pleasantries with members of staff, most of whom were his colleagues when he served as the national scribe before he was elected governor in 2019.
His committee is expected to organise a National Convention that will reset the sinking party.