•Deputy spokesman threatens to sue party leadership
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The disciplinary committee set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to investigate the alleged embarrassing actions and utterances of the Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank, yesterday submitted its report indicting him of the offence.
The verdict of the disciplinary panel came just as the party gave reasons why Frank had not been empowered to speak for the party, saying the National Working Committee (NWC) found out that he lacks the capacity to do the job.
Although the Solomon Edoja-led five-man disciplinary merely said it found all the allegations to true submitted, to be true THISDAY gathered from sources privy to the content of the report that it actually recommended sanctions ranging from suspension to outright expulsion of Frank from the party.
The Solomon Edoja-led five-man committee was recently constituted by the South-south zonal Vice Chairman of the party, Hilliard Etta, to investigate a petition written by a member of the party from Akwa Ibom State, Mr Aniekan Akpabio.
The petitioner had accused Frank of making disparaging comments against the party in the media.
Speaking while receiving the report of the committee yesterday, Eta, said several factors counted against Frank being appointed deputy spokesman among which were his temperament, loyalty and capacity.
He said: “Let me let people know what is obtainable in our constitution and it is here in the house, it is not a seamless transmission from an active to a substantive office. You cannot. In our constitution, you must be assigned that responsibility and you can be assigned that responsibility in two ways: it is either the substantive occupier or occupant of that office assigns you that responsibility or in his absence, the relevant executive committee of party will assign that responsibility.
“So when he wrote the first time that he be made an acting publicity secretary, that information was brought to the executive committee and we considered two things. We considered his temperament and loyalty, and we considered his capacity.
“And this informed not only the National Chairman, Chief Odigie-Oyegun, but the entire National Working Committee (NWC), saying we cannot assign him that responsibility,” he said.
Frank has faulted the NWC and Oyegun’s stance that he cannot speak for the party, arguing that the constitution has enabled him to so do.
Frank had also indicated that he would not appear before the disciplinary committee describing it is “kangaroo panel.”
“Some certain people cannot continue to oppress us. I want to make it very clear, I will not attend to any kangaroo committee because I do not know them. That is not to say that I do not respect party processes but I can only attend to a committee set up by responsible people.
“How can I go to a committee that will take their report to Oyegun to decide my fate? If tomorrow I do not go and they submit their report to Oyegun and then he suspends me, then that is the beginning of the struggle,” Frank had said
The report of the committee would be subject to deliberation by the NWC as well as the NEC of the party.
Meanwhile, Frank has said he will not only shock the NWC and those behind the panel but also deplore all legal means to fight for his right.
While responding to the report that the disciplinary committee has recommended his suspension and subsequent expulsion, Frank said: “I made it clear from the word go that I will not appear before any committee not constituted by respected party members and NEC because such committee lacks legality. Yes, I got invitation letter from the panel but I made it clear that I will not recognise any committee set up outside NEC.
“I did not appear before the committee because it is in our constitution that only NEC can suspend any national officer. Therefore, there is no way I would have appeared before a kangaroo committee set up by the zone.
“Again, the South-south Vice Chairman of the party lacks integrity to set up a committee to try me. He would have known that I am not a zonal officer and cannot be tried by the committee set up by the zone. My pain is that my party is not wise enough to realise that such move is illegal. Any decision from such committee is not binding on me.
“I want to say that the involvement of the vice chairman South-south in the purported committee to suspend me was to cover up the hatchet and dirty job he has been doing of the party. As far as I am concerned, I am still the acting Publicity Secretary of the party.”
According to him, “The report is an effort in futility and inconsequential. I want to emphasise that I will not go outside the rule of law in proving to them that all they did was an effort in futility.
“I want to inform those behind this that I am going to come up with a shocking surprise at the appropriate time but for now, I am still consulting with the relevant stakeholders and those working with me. It is not my fight alone. I want to make it clear to them that I am not scared,” he said