- Says no going back on anti-corruption war
- Party sets up disciplinary panel on Timi Frank
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Segun Oni, has described as wishful thinking the prediction on a possible disintegration of the ruling party before the 2019.
He also said those expecting the federal government to halt the current war against corruption would be disappointed as that will not happen.
Speaking in an interview with journalists yesterday, the former Governor of Ekiti State said the fear of APC’s implosion does not exist as the party at present boasts of the strongest base that any political group has ever had in Nigeria.
“As it is, this is the strongest base that any political system has in Nigeria today, so if it is the wishful thinking of anybody that it would not last till 2019, I would say that it is wishful thinking and not one of the most reasonable thing to say,” he said.
Oni said even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its own period had turbulent times and it went through it, adding that it would amount to extreme conjecture to think that the APC would not exist till 2019.
“We are already in 2016, you shouldn’t take such a person serious. We can have problems; we will face our problems as its comes,;we are not saying that there won’t be turbulent times, but if there are turbulent times we will go through it, turbulent times are normal,” he said.
On the accusation levelled against the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for not respecting the rule of law in the anti-corruption crusade, Oni said such persons does not mean well for the country.
Oni stated further that “People who are talking about rule of law and so on, how much have we achieved by rule of law? Are they saying there is no corruption? If there is corruption, what has been achieved in stopping it? Or we should now say we cannot stop it, then we should institutionalise it?
Oni believed that if the rule of law is followed in the case of fighting corruption, nothing will be achieved by the APC government.
“I believed that Nigerians know that we are very serious; we are very sincere about fighting corruption; and I think the people from their reactions, are happy.
“We therefore expect attitude to change more, we expect Nigerians to become more demanding, because the moment they know that their voices can count, they would continue to raise their voices against corruption, and Nigeria would be better up for it. I am very sure that Nigeria has started on a road that nobody can block
“If you leave this war in the hand of people who would not be able to prosecute it, it means we give up and God forbid that we should fail.
“At one stage, there must be a stop. In Ghana, Rawlings applied a measure. God forbid that in Nigeria we should leave things until people get so frustrated. It cannot continued; things cannot continue the way they are, everybody knows corrupt people, but they are keeping their voices low.
“Don’t lawyers know corrupt judges? Don’t judges also know corrupt judges? what we are trying to do now is to prevent the alternative, which is the collapse of the whole system where people are taking laws into their hands. If the NJC has been able to deal with the issue of corruption decisively in such a way that people are very confident that it would be done, I am sure this would probably not be necessary, but not much has been done, people are frustrated, the whole system is in a mess.
“I want to see how Nigerian judges or Nigerian lawyers or Nigerian practitioners of anything could raise their hands and say there is no corruption in the system. Nobody has defended the system so far, even the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) has not defended the system to say there is no corruption. What people are talking about is how we are going about it, yes, let them come up with alternative ways of achieving that.
“We assure you we will fish out all corrupt people out of this system within six months and they would be out, give us this time, then there would be no need for any extra measures, but if we don’t have such an assurance from anywhere we have to continue to do what we believe is a right way to go about it. This is an extra-ordinary circumstance and people should see it as such,” he said.
Meanwhile, in an apparent response to his persistent attack on the leadership of the ruling APC, the party yesterday set up a five-man disciplinary committee to investigate Timi Frank, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party.
Frank had been persistent in calling on the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun to resign, aligning with the earlier calls by national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
The committee said at a briefing with journalists that it would probe the party chieftain over a petition it allegedly received from a member of the party in Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Aneka Akpabio, against Frank.
The committee was set up by the National Vice Chairman, South-south, Utufam Etah, Ben Davidson Opute (Secretary), Wilson Samuel, Dan Akpan, Tony Odey, and Solomon Edoja (Chairman)
The chairman of the committee promised to make its proceedings open to the public.
“We are going to sit in the public. People will be allowed to come and watch our proceedings,” Chairman of the committee, Edoja, said.
He said of the mandate of the committee: “It is a disciplinary committee because there is a petition lying in front of us in respect of the activities of Mr. Timi Frank who is the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party. We have just been inaugurated. We will soon invite him to state his own side of the story. We are also going to invite the petitioner because the legal procedure is that you have to hear from both sides before you can reach the decision. We are going to subject our recommendation to the zonal executive committee for ratification.
“But be that as it may, the APC wants to tell the world that the party is supreme, our constitution is supreme, and if there are infractions, we have to follow due process to attain whatever petition that comes before us.
“Article 21 (B) sub-section 2 of our constitution requires that once petitions are received, within seven days, the committee of this nature has to be put up to look at them. If there are no merit, we throw them away, if they have merit, we make our recommendations and we subject our recommendations to the next body to ratify, which is what we are embarking upon now. So, our assignment is brief, and within the shortest possible time, we will do the needful.”
The committee is to conclude and submit its report to the regional office of the party within two weeks.
Asked what the committee would do should Frank fail to appear before it, Edoja said: “He is a honourable (member) He is a National Officer of the party. And, we expect him by all standards that will come, as a honourable man, a respected member of the party, he will want to show the way.”
While answering question on why the committee was inaugurated by the party’s National Vice Chairman, South-south, given the fact that Frank’s office was not zoned to the South-south, Edoja said if Frank claims his mandate did not come from the region, he is from the South-south.