By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Udora Orizu in Abuja
Ahead of the 2019 general election, the National Interest Party has elected Mrs. Eunice Atuejide as its presidential candidate.
The party at its national convention held on Monday evening in Abuja also resolved to sanction some members of its National Executive Committee (NEC) accused of violating the party’s constitution.
Speaking at the convention, Atuejide who also doubles as the National Chairman of the party, thanked the members for choosing her as their presidential candidate for the 2019 general election.
She added that with her emergence, she can campaign with so much more confidence, with accountability and transparency as a watchword
On the NIP’s membership of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), she said the party still retains its right to elect candidates, adding the arrangement is a coalition and not a merger.
“With the few candidates we have, we joined the coalition to negotiate with them so that our view can get in. I will still do a second primary in CUPP, because I’m a member of the strategic planning committee.
“I have convinced them to allow us do a free and fair primary. I’m a member and secretary of one of the highest committee there. The coalition has not been a bad idea so far; we will never be part of anything that hurts Nigeria.
“The CUPP is a group of big and small parties and what I need to do is to convince them that I’m the best candidate to represent them in 2019, when the CUPP is backing you, half of Nigeria is backing you,” she explained.
In a communique at end of the convention, the party said it has resolved to expel some erring members, as well as the ineffective members of NEC.
It explained that the entire process was observed and endorsed by the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) present at the convention.
The convention passed vote of no confidence on erring members of the party who illegally suspended the National Chairman and National Secretary.
Commenting on the disciplinary action taken by NIP, the presidential candidate said the new party “will not surrender their core values, adding that the NEC members removed will be replaced and new members decided and announced within 48 hours”.
According to Atuejide, the sanction was as a result of recent anti-party activities by some members of the NEC.
According to her, it became expedient that the convention, in line with the provisions the party’s constitution addressed their actions.
The NEC members that were expelled from NIP at the convention include the Deputy National Chairman, Ibrahim Barde Suleiman; National Legal Adviser, Sanni Abass Itopa; National Internal Auditor, Bontim John Nanpon; Deputy National Financial Secretary, Salman Ibrahim Ishola; National Treasurer, Hadiza Hussein Abdullahi; National Organising Secretary, Jude Osasere Ogbeide; Deputy Social Media and Cyber Monitoring Secretary, Azeez Oladipo Yusuf, and National Fundraising, Secretary, Priscilia Uloba.