Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A group, Concerned Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned the Caretaker Committee of the party led by its Chairman and the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, not to attempt to elongate their tenure in office beyond December 2020.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja on behalf of concerned party members, Mr. Ogenyi Okpokwu, also warned the caretaker committee to stop the proposed membership registration.
The leadership of the party had on Thursday officially received materials for the party’s nationwide membership registration, update and revalidation exercise to be conducted across 36 states and the Federal capital Territory (FCT).
Buni, while receiving the consignment at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, said the membership registration, update and revalidation exercise would be conducted across the country’s 119,973 Polling Units and 57, 000 Voting Points.
The move infuriated the concerned APC members who threatened to approach the courts for interpretation of the party’s constitution especially the composition of the committee which it said was at variance with section 17 (4) of the party’s constitution.
The concerned party members said they stood their ground effortlessly as in making sure that the erstwhile National Working Committee (NWC) led by Mr. Adams Oshiomhole was desolved as the chairman of the party after being viewed to lack capacity to listen to opposing views within the party, internal democracy and listen to advise from members.
The members also said they were part of the court processes and movement, leading the major protest that led to the sack of Oshiohmole’s NWC.
The members said their expectation was for the present Caretaker Committee to resolve the internal crises within the party, conduct Convention and handover to the duly elected NWC of the party after the expiration of the six months mandate given by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
The group noted that as loyal party members, even though the composition of the Caretaker Committee was at variance with section 17 (4) of the party’s constitution which states “nobody can hold Executive Position at the same time with Party Position”, the party’s NEC breached this same constitution with the imposition of Buni-led Caretaker Committee.
The concerned party members, however, expressed shock when they read it in the newspapers that the Caretaker Committee was embarking on new membership registration.
It stated: “This is outright fraud! How can a party that have existed for over seven years commence a new registration instead of updating the existing register. It is now clear that the intention is to divert N1.5 billion the committee has budgeted for the same exercise without procurement process. The Committee is also planning the dissolution of all Wards, LGA and State Excos and conduct new congresses even though their tenures will not expire till two (2) years’ time, this is must be resisted by all party members.
“As to the Committee’s claims of having finished reconciliation in Ekiti and some other states, the public should know that they have further encouraged crisis in those state chapters than solving problems inherited. A case in point is Zamfara State. Senator Kabir Marafa yesterday exposed the committee’s lies in a statement.” He declared that “the Buni-led committee lied and that the two factions in the state are still very much alive each with its secretariat in operations, likewise in Ekiti Rivers etc.”
The group reminded the committee that NEC resolution did not give them such powers to begin new registration of members because none of them were elected without party membership cards.
Are Governors Buni, Gboyega Oyetola, Muhammed Bello and other members of committee no longer card carrying members of the party that we now want to give them new membership cards?
The group said all elected members in the party submitted party membership cards to INEC during nomination of candidates because the country’s constitution forbids independent candidacy, wondering why the rush to discard party register.
The group noted that it was no longer a secret that some members of the Committee have been bragging about having gotten the nod of the Presidency to extend their mandate till December 2021.
The group therefore demanded that the Committee should begin the process of convening the National Convention in December with immediate effect.
It demanded: “All the permanent party membership cards that were printed and submitted to the party’s National Secretariat by APC Data Center for onward distribution to our members in the Wards, LGA and States should be distributed immediately. Incase they cannot find it; they should request for it at our data center.
“The incoming National Working Committee should handle the updating of new register if we so need to update one.
“ If our demands are not met, we will have no option than to approach the courts for interpretation of our constitution as it was done before you came onboard and we will occupy our secretariats. The party belongs to us all.
“The most senior member of sacked Oshiohmole led NWC should be returned as Chairman because that is what our party constitution says. We call on State Chairmen of the parties not to join the illegal registration because is tailored for your removal from office in the long run.
“The steps of Buni led Caretaker Committee has further left no one in doubt that the committee has lost foothold in the discharge of its duties as unbiased umpires and now interested in squandering the N3.9 billion left in the party’s purse which has been depleted daily.”
The Concerned APC members, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the order committee before it destroy the image and the goodwill of the party due to their selfish interests and tenure elongation plot.