Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The crack in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) widened Tuesday as the Lagos State chapter of the party kicked against the extension of the tenure of the partyâ€™s national and state executives, saying it was against the countryâ€™s and partyâ€™s constitutions.
Rising from a consultative forum held at the State House, Marina, Lagos, which was attended by party elders from across the state, the leaders said the extension of the tenure of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party by one year violated the 1999 Constitution and that of the party.
According to the Lagos APC, Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution provides for periodic elections on a democratic basis for principal officers and members of the executive committee of political parties.
It said: â€According to the 1999 Constitution, election of the officers or members of the executive committee of a political party will be deemed to be periodical if done at regular intervals not exceeding four years.
â€œArticle 17 of the partyâ€™s constitution also provides for a four-year tenure for its national and state executives, which is renewable for another four years.â€
The leader of the party in Lagos Central senatorial district, in Lagos, Tajudeen Olusi, who spoke with journalists after the meeting, said they had reviewed the reports of the state APC chairman in respect of the NEC meeting held in Abuja last week.
â€œWe have also had the privilege of receiving great reports from our leader of the reconciliation committee. We have considered the issue of extension of tenure and we are of the firm belief that the decision is a breach of the constitution of our party and of the country. We are against the elongation of tenure. We shall continue to make our decision known to the party and to the president.
â€œIn extending the tenure, the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) had relied on Article 13.3 (ii) of its constitution which states that The NEC can discharge the functions of the convention in a period of emergency,â€ he said.
Article 13.3 (ii) of APC Constitution specifically states that the NEC of the party is empowered to: â€œDischarge all functions of the National Conventions as constituted in between Conventions.â€
â€œBut the provision in Article 13.3 (ii) is not limitless and open-ended. It is a responsibility restricted by the same constitution, which provides exclusively under Article 30 (i) that: â€˜This Constitution and Schedules hereto can be amended only by the National Convention of the partyâ€™,â€ Olushi added.
Earlier, an aggrieved member of the party, Mr. Okere Nnamdi, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to dissolve the Oyegun-led NWC of the party.
The plaintiff, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/219/2018, asked the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject, cease to recognise and to stop dealing or having any official communications with the Oyegun-led NWC of the APC, effective from June 1, 2018, having spent the constitutionally allowed tenure of office.
He asked the court to compel Oyegun and others to vacate their offices from June 1.
Nnamdi joined the partyâ€™s NWC, INEC, the state working committees, local government area executive committees and ward executive committees of the party as defendants.