Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has stepped-down a move to appoint the former Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, as the acting National Publicity Secretary of the party.
THISDAY gathered that apparently due to the disagreement among members of the National Working Committee of the party, the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has decided to stay-action on the appointment of the new acting spokesman for the party.
It was learnt that the first meeting of the NWC summoned by the chairman to kind of ratify the choice of the new spokesman was opposed by a section of the leadership which argued that the approach did follow due process. The party had allegedly planned to appoint a suitable replacement for the former spokesman,Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who will operate in acting capacity pending the election of substantive person during the next national convention.
According to the existing zoning arrangement in the party, the position of National Publicity Secretary was allotted to the North-central zone from where the former party Spokesman and now Minister of Information, Mohammed, came from.
Following Mohammed’s appointment as minister and the subsequent vaccum created by his exist, several intrigues began to play out suggesting that some power brokers were interested in the position. Ordinarily, with the exist of the National Publicity Secretary, the party should have given his deputy, Comrade Timi Frank the opportunity to operate in an acting capacity till the emergence of another substantive Spokesman at the national convention, but the leadership doubted the loyalty of Frank.
Since then the party has officially delegated the Spokesman’s job to the National Secretary, Mai-Mala Buni, to play the dual role even at the risk of not meeting up with the expectations of the job.
However, a source within the leadership of the party who confirmed the present predicament to THISDAY yesterday said that the party had to back-down after realising the legal implication of going ahead with such appointment.
“Our party’s constitution only gives the NWC powers to supervise the nomination of a replacement for the vacated national offices but the power to undertake appointment and confirmation of names for such positions actually lies with the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the national convention respectively, “ he said.
According to the source it would have amounted to acting beyond its mandate if the NWC had gone ahead to appoint the acting National Publicity Secretary, which any of the aggrieved member would have taken the advantage of to sue and embarrass the party.
Frank had insisted that he remained the acting spokesman of the party, adding that any attempt to name a new spokesperson outside due process will lead to a legal action against the party.
Meanwhile a group has said that the reason Timi Frank is passing through his current ordeals is because he has remained very outspoken, especially against the Oyegun-led leadership of the party.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Executive Co-ordinator of the Coalition of Nigerian Youths Against Impunity, Illiasu Wakili, the group said Frank’s outspokenness is aimed at righting the wrongs in the ruling polity and to stabilize and correct some unbecoming attitudes of the leadership.
“For this very reason, he has become a subject of vilification and undeservingly so, but we are equally glad to note that he has continued to stay the course and project the image of the Nigerian youths positively – the many denials of his rights within the party architecture notwithstanding. Worse still, he has been marked for suspension or expulsion from the APC.
“As young Nigerians, we must not be cowed as we remain a potent and ever dynamic force for the political emancipation and economic development of our great country, Nigeria,” he said.