The decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to dissolve party organs at the polling units, wards, local governments, states and zonal levels, has been greeted with mixed reactions.
Though the NEC thereafter approved the immediate reconstitution and composition of the dissolved excos to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity, majority of the affected party officials welcomed the development and position of the NEC.
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Also, there has been an uneasy calm in the party after the expulsion of a former National Vice Chairman (South South), and ex-Acting National Chairman, Eta, from the party.
Daily Trust gathered that the decision to sack Eta for flouting the directives of NEC to discontinue all litigations against the party and its members stemmed from the notion that he was allegedly being sponsored by opposition to destabilize the ruling party.
Eta in a suit he filed on November 26, 2020, through his lawyer Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), is challenging the dissolution of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole -led National Working Committee (NWC) which he was part of.
He also asked the court for an order of injunction to restrain the Buni-led caretaker committee from functioning as the national leadership of the party, arguing that it is not recognised by the party’s constitution.
The Buni-led caretaker committee was inaugurated on June 25, 2020, after the dissolution of the Comrade Adams Oshimhole-led NWC.
But the ex-vice chairman has described his expulsion by NEC as a nullity, saying it cannot stand.
Eta, who spoke with one of our correspondents in a telephone chat said, “If it is about what is happening in the party, I have nothing to say.”
“Everything is in court; it is subjudice, so, I won’t say anything. When the court would have adjudicated, then I will speak.”
Asked to speak on the rumour that some political actors were sponsoring his case, he said, “It is a convenient blackmail. I have no response to those kinds of nonsense. How is that possible?”
In the meantime, Eta’s expulsion has divided some political actors.
A member of the National Caucus of the APC, Chief Sam Nkire, told our correspondent in a telephone chat that those instituting court cases against the party should face the wrath.
“Their aim is to destroy the party and let our opponent defeat us. But there is no crisis resolution mechanism that our constitution did not make provisions for. There is no need for all these.
“As a party leader, I further appeal to all these people to withdraw their cases, let us face the forthcoming elections,” Nkire said.
Also speaking, a foundation member of the APC, Mr Osita Okechukwu, said: “On Hon Hilliard Eta’s matter, I was one of those who pleaded with him to withdraw his suit from the court and he refused. Secondly, I couldn’t locate his efforts in exploring the embedded mechanism provided in the constitution of the APC, before heading to court?
“Accordingly, for not adhering to provisions of our constitution and deliberately ignoring the admonition of Mr President, that all cases should be withdrawn to enhance peace and unity of the party, how do expect some of us to sympathise with him?,” he asked.
However, a former National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who is now a Special Adviser to Borno State Governor on Trade and Investment, Barrister Bashir Maidugu, said, “The caretaker committee ought to have in the first place, organised a mini convention to legitimise their stay resulting from the decision of NEC.
“But they chose not to. And that is what is giving rise to all these litigations. And those litigants have a powerful argument,” Maidugu said.
A chieftain of the party, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo, told our correspondent in a telephone chat yesterday, that Eta has a strong case in court and should not be taken for granted.
“Since he was still carrying the APC’s membership card when he went to court, his case in court is still valid and that can still destroy the foundation these people are laying now. So, to me, that was a wrong decision.
“APC has not learnt lessons. That man alone has gone to court. But he has a lot of sympathisers even among the present NEC and others across the country. Many people have sympathy for him,” Ojo said.
Knocks, kudos trail NEC’s decision on Buni, state excos
Meanwhile, mixed reactions have continued to trail the dissolution of the party’s organs at the polling units, wards, local governments, states and zonal levels.
The Edo State factional chairman of the APC, Aslem Ojezua, said: “I don’t think it is in the right direction”.
He said though the decision was meant to reposition the party, the development might be medicine after death for the state chapter.
‘NEC decision jolts APC in Lagos’
Chieftains and members of the State Working Committee (SWC) of the APC in Lagos were reportedly jolted by the decision of the NEC of the party to dissolve the party executives at all levels, Daily Trust can report.
Some members, who spoke with our correspondent, said they were shocked by the decision.
They said dissolving all ward, local government and zonal excos in one fell swoop could deepen the crisis in the party.
“We know there are issues at some state levels but in Lagos we are united under one leadership. The state executive is one and there is no crisis whatsoever,” a member of the party said.
A chieftain of the party, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun, told Daily Trust that there was no problem with the decision of the NEC since those dissolved would continue as caretaker committees.
Akala, Shittu, others seek new strategies
A former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and the immediate past Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, have supported the dissolution of party officials.
Akala, who is the leader of the party in Oyo State, told our correspondent that the development was long overdue.
The former minister said many of the outgoing executives were stooges to their governors who put them in offices.
Shittu said with the new development, he expected them to only supervise the new registration of members for the next three months and allow fresh blood to take over the mantle of leadership of the party.
A former senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Senator Soji Akanbi, described it as a bold step but added that the party needed time to know whether the development would benefit members.
Similarly, the APC in Ogun State has welcomed the extension of Buni-led committee.
The State Publicity Secretary of the caretaker committee, Tunde Oladunjoye, said there was no vacuum in the state executive of the party.
Also, members of the dissolved executive of the APC in Ekiti State from ward to state levels have passed a vote of confidence on the national caretaker committee.
The party’s chieftains met at the party secretariat in Ado Ekiti and expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the Buni-led national caretaker committee to reposition the party.
This was contained in a statement issued at the end of the meeting and signed by Ade Ajayi, the party’s public relations officer.
In Kano, the vice-chairman of the dissolved APC executive in the state, Alhaji Maigari Shehu, has said the dissolution of the party structure by the NEC will not affect the fortunes of the party.
Shehu told Daily Trust in an interview that he supported the decision of the NEC 100 per cent because the right thing had been done at the right time.
Stressing that he was not speaking on behalf of the entire dissolved excos, said the decision taken would enable APC to face all its current problems and prepare for the coming ones.
On his part, the Secretary of APC in Plateau State, Bashir Musan Sati, said the NEC decision was a welcome development.