Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau
* Expels dissident member, Bala
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Nigeria Peoples Party has accepted the report of the resolutions on the planned formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party said in a communique at the end of its NEC meeting Thursday in Abuja that it had accepted the merger report presented by Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.
THISDAY gathered that the report on the progress of the merger talks submitted by the ANPP’s merger committee at the NEC meeting included the resolutions on the draft APC constitution as well as the modalities for choosing members of the interim National Working Committee (NWC) and NEC of the new coalition party.
It was learnt that the report of the committee did not include the manifesto of APC as it was not yet ready.
In the communique issued at the end of the meeting, the party endorsed the expulsion of Mallam Isah Bala, the Bwari Area Council ANPP member who alleged that Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was hijacking the merger of oppositions.
Bala had advised the party to pull out of the APC on grounds that the ACN was dominating the process and that the legal challenge posed by the rival APC may prove a very dangerous adventure for the merging parties.
However, the ANPP NEC decided to axe Bala for contravening party rules and regulations as stipulated in Article 24;1, Sub-Section1 and 2 of the 2006 Constitution, the reviewed edition.
“The NEC of the ANPP which met today at the party’s national secretariat; adopted the recommendation of the NWC to suspend and expel the errant member, Bala, “ it said.
The NEC said it had constituted its National Convention Committee made up of 23 members.
The chairman of the convention committee is Governor Abdulazeez Yari of Zamfara State with Hon Emma Eneukwu, (National Publicity Secretary) as secretary of the committee.
The ANPP NEC also approved and adopted the establishment of its special/diaspora branches in United States, Togo, Benin Republic, and Ghana.
It further adopted the recommendations of NWC and replaced Chief John Oyegun, who resigned as the Deputy National Chairman, South, with Mr. Solomon Edevbiri of Edo State as the new Deputy National Chairman, South.
The ANPP NEC meeting witnessed absence of key party leaders, including governors of Yobe and Zamfara States and many other National Assembly members.
Meanwhile, the party Thursday said the opposition coalition parties had been able to resolve troubled areas of the merger initiative through negotiations.
While declaring the NEC meeting open, the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, urged party members to remain steadfast with the merger plan and not be afraid of failure of the process.
He told party leaders that contrary to the belief of pessimists, the merging parties had been able to resolve most of the thorny issues during the course of negotiations.
“I am happy to inform you all that significant progress has been made on the historic assignment given to the National Rebuilding and Inter Party Contact committee. All the troubled areas that some people thought would have posed challenges, have been amicably resolved as negotiations proceeded,” he said.
The NEC meeting was called to review and adopt among other issues, the report of the party’s merger committee on resolutions reached with other merging parties.
Onu said there was need for the leaders to forge ahead as a united family, adding that they should not be afraid of failure of the merger plan.
“I believe the ANPP should be part of the efforts made by committed democrats and resolute patriots to provide Nigerians with broad, strong and a united alternative political party that can return power to our people and redefine the role of politics in our development process,” he said.
According to him, by embracing the merger movement and working hard to realise its aims, ANPP members would be seen as honourable men and women who have made sacrifices to make the country great.
Against the background of the initial mistrust and crisis of confidence which characterised the entry of ANPP in the merger talks, Onu reminded leaders of the party that Nigerians were watching to know whether they could be trusted to work with other leading opposition parties.
He said Nigerians were eagerly awaiting to know whether the party would go with the opposition movement meant to form an alternative platform that would cater for their needs.
The NEC meeting which started behind schedule at about 3.15PM saw the party secretariat heavily guided by combined team of SSS, Police and men of the Bomb Disposal Unit.
The meeting was attended by all the party’s NEC members comprising, national officers, state Chairmen and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.