• Caretaker c’tte lacks power to review constitution
• Disputes seeking another six-month extension
Gboyega Akinsanmi and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The decision of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to constitute an eight-man committee to review the party’s constitution has stoked a fresh crisis in the rank of its national leaders, THISDAY has learnt.
While a wing of its national leadership accused some governors elected on the platform of pushing the APC into constitutional crisis, others argued that the decision was a ploy by the caretaker committee to seek a fresh six-month extension.
Multiple sources expressed concerns over the eight-man constitution review committee yesterday, noting that the CECPC absolutely lacked power to review the constitution of the party,
Amid the controversy, the National Secretary of the APC caretaker committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe disputed that the CECPC planned to seek another extension of tenure before next June.
CECPC was constituted in June 2020 to conduct an elective national convention in December last year, but it sought a six-month extension, which was granted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) in December 2020.
On Tuesday, it inaugurated an eight-man committee to review the constitution, a decision that stirred fresh concern in the rank of the APC leaders that CECPC might not conduct a national convention in June 2021.
Chaired by Prof. Tahir Mamman, the constitution review committee comprises Mr. Dare Oketade as Secretary; Prof. Dakas Dakas; Hon. Akinremi Olaide; Dr. Ego Ezuma; Hon. Mohammed Kumaila; Shuaibu Aruwa and Dr. Ekokoi Solomon.
With the committee in place, aggrieved leaders claimed that it was a pointer “to the extension of the tenure of the caretaker committee,” which they argued would create a constitutional crisis for the party.
Besides, they noted that the on-going membership registration/revalidation exercise “has already been extended till the end of April 2021. By implication, the party cannot conduct ward, local government and state congresses until the exercise is duly completed.”
Speaking anonymously with THISDAY yesterday, a member of the dissolved National Executive Committee (NEC) categorically said the caretaker committee would seek another six-month extension.
He added that the caretaker committee would not be able to complete the ongoing revalidation/registration exercise, constitution review and the conduct of congresses in three months.
He noted that the caretaker committee “cannot complete the assignment in three months. So, it is true that they will seek further extension. The Constitution Review Committee was not supposed to be inaugurated now.
“The caretaker committee is supposed to wait till the party is ready to conduct a convention. That is when the review of the party’s constitution is done, not now. This one is just abracadabra.
“Even, the caretaker committee has no right to inaugurate a constitution review committee. It does not have the right because it is just a caretaker committee set up to take care of the party for a while until the substantial body is in place.
“Even the registration and revalidation exercise, they do not have the right to conduct it. It is just because we do not follow the rules and regulations of the party,” the party source lamented.
Another NEC member, who spoke with THISDAY in confidence, said another six months extension would create a constitutional crisis in the party.
He said: “How are they going to call for an extension in the first place? Are they going to call for another NEC meeting? Or is it the Caretaker Committee that will sit and extend itself?
“The committee will create a constitutional crisis for the party. Also, they might now give room for people to go to court. So, they have to be very careful. I read an online report talking about convention in December 2021.”
In specific terms, an entirely different party source warned of the implication for the plan to seek another six-month for the caretaker committee, which according to him, might deepen internal crisis within the party’s ranks.
He also warned that another six-month extension “will create a crisis in the party. The extension the committee got in December 2021 took the intervention of the presidency before some party members who were initially opposed to it agreed.
“It will surely create a crisis. Even, some party members were against the extension if not because of the intervention from the presidency. Some party members insisted that they should go.”
However, the party source observed the governors might not oppose “another six-month because they are the one in control of the party now.”
Concerned with this development, an APC pressure group, Concerned APC Stakeholders, yesterday noted that it was not surprised by the latest move by the caretaker committee to seek another six-month extension.
In a conversation with THISDAY, the group’s spokesperson, Mr. Abdulahi Dauda warned that the way things are going in the party is bad. Even the extension given to the committee in December 2020 was unconstitutional.
“We are not surprised by the latest extension move of the illegal caretaker. They want to seat tight and not conduct an election this year for the new National Working Committee (NWC). The script they are playing will destroy the party and we may not have a party to call our own again by 2023.”
“What we expect from them is to release the timetable for the convention a month from now. As the party is going right now, there is no party leader. If there are party leaders, this caretaker committee is not listening.
“There is a Board of Trustee (BoT). How can a party move like this? The party is going like a car without a driver, it is only a conductor. That means nobody can take decisions for the party. We cannot allow the caretaker committee to exceed June, while insisting that they must conduct the congresses and the convention.
Dauda said the Chairman of the committee and the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala should go back to his state and face governance, rather than pursuing tenure elongation as a caretaker party chairman.
“All lovers of APC and aspirants for the June convention must not allow the latest extension. We call on Mr President, governors, national assembly and stakeholders of the party to resist and call the caretaker members to order.
Faulting claims of another extension, the National Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe said the committee has no plan to seek another six-month extension.
He added that the constitution review committee “has been given one month to complete its exercise. It is not true that we will seek extension. We gave them (Constitution Review Committee) one month to finalise their report.”