- It is okay by us, says opposition faction
Segun James and Shola Oyeyipo
Barely 24 hours after rejecting the tenure elongation handed over to the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the Lagos faction has taken its opposition further by petitioning President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.
The leader of the APC in Lagos Central senatorial district, Chief Tajudeen Olusi, hinted that the Lagos State chapter of the party has taken its grievances to appropriate channels in the party.
But in surprise move, another faction of the party in the state has denounced the decision of the state chapter, saying that the extension of national chairman’s tenure was in order and in the best interest of the party.
The faction also denounced Olusi, saying that he was not in a position to speak for the state chapter of the party as he holds no position.
According to a former chieftain of the party who is now in the opposition but pleaded anonymity pending a formal statement today, the decision to reject the extension of tenure was taken by the Governor’s Advisory Committee (GAC), a group of 16 party leaders headed by Senator Bola Tinubu.
Quoting relevant sections from the 1999 Constitution and the APC constitution after a consultative forum held in Lagos, the Lagos State APC kicked against the 12 month tenure extension for the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
Speaking with THISDAY on the possible next line of action, Olusi said the Lagos State chapter was prepared to register its displeasure with President Buhari and other appropriate organs of the party.
“The option available to us is that we are going to make representations to all organs of the party. We are going to talk with the national leadership, the national executive and President Buhari.”
Olusi, who earlier faulted the tenure elongation, quoting Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution as amended which stipulates elections at interval and Article 17 of the APC constitution, which stipulates a four-year tenure for its national and state executives, said it amounts to depriving other aspirants to the post.
“The tenure elongation is against the constitution of Nigeria and the party. It is a means of depriving aspirants who want to aspire. We think we should allow democracy to thrive in the party,” he said.
While he maintained that APC leaders in Lagos State unanimously rejected the elongation after receiving reports from the Chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, he said the state was in support of the reconciliatory responsibility assigned to Tinubu.
However, the opposition movement in the state insisted that the GAC is a body not recognised by the constitution of the party, hence its decision is void and of no effect.
It disclosed that the man who announced the decision, Olusi, does not hold any position in the party, and as such, cannot speak on such a sensitive decision as that of the tenure elongation of the national chairman and the national working committee of the party.
It doubted if the committee actually sat as most members of the body including former Governor Babatunde Fashola are in Abuja.
According to him, the GAC was set up because, Lagos State, unlike other states in the federation, does not have a state caucus.
He stressed that as at wednesday, any decision taken outside the state working committee of the party is not binding.