Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has lifted the suspension imposed on Ondo State Governor, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu SAN; former governors of Ogun and Imo States, Senators Ibikunle Amosun and Rochas Okorocha; former Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Uguru Usani.
The party had suspended them immediately after the general election due to what it described as anti-party activities.
However, the ruling party was silent on the fate of its Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawal Shuaib, and National Vice Chairman, North-west, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, who were equally suspended for the same offence.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement yesterday, said the decision to recall the party chiefs was in line with the party’s deliberate policy of fairness and actions targeted at ensuring harmony within the party across the country.
He said: “Through the suspension, our party has shown the capacity and willingness to implement its own rules and enforce discipline when there is an infraction. We have also shown that no individual is above discipline and that the party would always apply equity and justice in the day to day running of the party.
“We hope the concerned party members will seize this opportunity to fully reconcile themselves with their ward, local government, and state party structures, key into the party activities, and continue to make their own contributions to the growth and stability of the party.”
The ruling party urged them to also take steps to reconcile with groups and individuals that are important to ensuring a lasting solution to any conflict that may exist in their respective states.
The ruling party had suspended Akeredolu and others for allegedly sponsoring other candidates during the general election against those presented by the APC.
The party had accused them of campaigning openly for other political parties and candidates besides the APC and constituting themselves as opposition to the party.
Having failed to get the party to ratify his nomination of a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, as his successor, Amosun had floated
the Allied Peoples Movement on whose platform Akinlade and other Amosun’s loyalists contested for the elections against APC candidates.
The APC’s NWC had also accused Amosun of instigating thugs to attack party chieftains at the presidential campaign rally in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Like Amosun, Okorocha had squared up against the party, which failed to recognise his choice of his son-in-law as the APC governorship candidate in Imo State.
He openly campaigned for Nwosu, who later defected to the Action Alliance, against the APC’s governorship candidate, Hope Uzodinma.
Meanwhile, the party has refused to comment on the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to allow the party to replace its candidate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who last week withdrew from the rerun in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial District.
The Court of Appeal had while giving judgment in a petition by Akpabio challenging the declaration of Senator Chris Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election in the senatorial district, voided the PDP candidate’s election and ordered a rerun in the local government.
But Akpabio, in a letter last week to APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, had notified the party of his withdrawal from the rerun, due to his current ministerial duties, and urged the party to find a replacement and send the name to INEC for approval.
But INEC had told THISDAY on Sunday that APC couldn’t replace Akpabio as the time for substitution had lapsed.