Ca Victor Umeh
The long brewing conflict within the ranks of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) yesterday blew open as a group of party leaders yesterday stormed the party’s headquarters in Abuja under the watchful eyes of the men of the Nigerian police.
However what would have been clash between the invading group led by the Deputy National Chairman (North) and the Chief Victor Umeh leadership of APGA was prevented as most of the party officers, including Umeh were not at their offices at the time.
The renegade group which was led by the party’s Deputy National Chairman (North), Alhaji Sadiq Massala in a communiqué read out to journalists at the secretariat said it arrived at a decision to suspend Umeh and Shinkafi after a meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC).
Umeh who eventually came to his office at about noon when the opposing group had finished addressing journalist and left, described the people as nothing more than “a bunch of felons”, sponsored by his adversaries to disrupt the activities of the party.
He dismissed the action of the group, saying the National Executive Council of APGA never met anywhere to take such a decision.
“APGA NEC never met ‘today’. As the national chairman of the party, I should be the one to summon NEC meeting but I did not. The people who broke into the party office were nothing but a bunch of sponsored felons who were sent on a mission to distabilise the party,” he said.
Umeh said he has reported the matter to the Commissioner of Police in-charge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command and that he had told him that the group decieved the Police into believing that they were holding a normal party meeting and that they needed just some Police protection.
He said the Commissioner has directed that a tream of armed Policemen numbering five will now guard the party premises to forestal a re-occurrence.
In the vein, the APGA National Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi who spoke to THISDAY Tuesday evening said the group had no capacity to do what they did as they were only five members of NEC out the 29 others.
“The action of the group is null and void and of no effect. As far I am concerned this is a none issue. only five out of the 29 members of NEC were involved in the attempt to sack our party leadership. Even the Deputy National Chairman, Sadiq Massala was with me at a xonal meeting of the party in Kaduna last week and for him to be involve in planning a coup against the party is very unfortunate, “ he said.
The group met briefly at the national secretariat in Abuja before handing down indefinite suspension to the National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh and National Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi for violating party’s constitution.
“Pursuant to the provisions of our party’s constitution, a meeting was conveyed by members of the National Working Committee (NWC), to assess the state of affairs of our great party.
The communiqué said the meeting of the NWC unanimously resolved to suspend indefinitely, the National Chairman, Chiefg Victor Umeh and the National Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi.
“Following a thorough analysis of the above and consideration of the relevant article of the constitution of our great party, we members of the National Working Committee do hereby, unanimously suspende indefinitely Chief Victor Umeh as National Chairman of our great party and Alhaji Sani Shinkafi as National Secretary of the party,”.
It said in accordance with Article 21(3) of the party constitution, a seven-man disciplinary committee has been set up to look into the allegations levelled against Umeh and Shinkafi within 14 days.
In the interim, the communiqué said the Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Sadiq Massala and Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, a former commissioner in Anambra state as Acting National Chairman and National Secretary respectively.
The growing number of unilateral actions and impunity of the duo without reference or consultation with relevant organs of the party, lack of accountability and transparency in the financial administration of the party, mismanagement of party affairs leading to the closure of 33 state offices of the party and growing absence of internal party democracy due process and unrestricted infringements of the provisions of the party’s constitution and the electoral Act in the conduct of affairs of the party.
In addition, the group accused Umeh and Shinkafi of engaging nocturnal meetings with the leaderships of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and CPC.