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Why APC considers downsizing BoT

At its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held last Thursday, the National Chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said that…

At its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held last Thursday, the National Chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said that the party had resolved to set up a committee to review its constitution in order to streamline it in line with the plan to downsize the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT).
Chief Odigie-Oyegun, who said this as part of the resolutions of the second NEC meeting under President Muhammadu Buhari held at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, stated that the BoT would be “seriously downsized”.
Hence, the APC boss said a constitution review committee would be headed by the party’s National Legal Adviser without giving the reasons why the decision was taken.
He said, “We have set up a committee to look once more into the constitution of the party to be able to streamline it. He did not give the NEC decided to downsize our Board of Trustees in line with all other constitutional amendment.
“We don’t have any particular number, but it is going to be seriously downsized. The committee will be headed by the National Legal Adviser,” Chief Odigie-Oyegun said after a meeting attended by President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives and governors of Bauchi, Kogi, Imo, Kano, Plateau, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states, among others.
Daily Trust on Sunday, however, learnt that the decision to downsize the BoT was necessitated by the current high number of the membership of the Board, which is put at about 150.
Sources said the figures, if it is not downsized, could reach 1000 in the next ten years if nothing is done because it will keep increasing to the extent that it will become unwieldy as there are also statutory members of the BoT.
According to Article 12.2 of the APC constitution, members of the BoT include past and serving Presidents and Vice Presidents of Nigeria who are members of the party; past and serving Senate Presidents and Deputy Senate Presidents of Nigeria who are members of the party; past and serving Speakers and deputy Speakers of the House of Representatives who are members of the party; past and serving Governors of states in Nigeria who are party members; and past National Chairmen and Chairmen of BoT of political parties that have produced a past President, Senator (s), member(s) of House of Representatives, Governor(s) of State(s) or member(s) of House(s) of Assembly of State(s) who are party members subject to approval by the NEC.
The membership also include past and serving National Chairmen produced by the party, serving National Secretary, two serving senators from each geo-political zone of the country who are party members to be nominated by the senators from such zone, one member nominated by each State/Federal Capital Territory Executive Committee for consideration, and subsequent recommendation by the National Working Committee (NWC) to the NEC for approval.
The composition further has one woman from each geo-political zone of the country nominated by the zonal committee for consideration, and subsequent recommendation by the NWC to the NEC for approval, and any other person(s) nominated by the NWC and approved by the NEC.
Daily Trust on Sunday learnt the constitution of the APC Board was considered necessary because of the various challenges facing the party, apart from the constitutionality of its composition.
Going by Article 13.2 of the APC reconstitution, the Board of Trustees is expected to “be the embodiment of the conscience, the soul and the sanctity of the party and shall be the mirror of the highest standard of morality in the party, and shall intervene in all disputes and crisis in the party to ensure its stability at all times”.
Article 13.1(i, iii, iv and vi) also provides that the Board shall “advise on, and when considered necessary, initiate policies for guidance of the party”; “act as Arbitrators and Mediators in disputes and ensure the enforcement of discipline in accordance with the party constitution”; “promote reconciliation, encourage and facilitate the settlement of disputes in an amicable manner among members of the party”; and “ensure that peace and tranquility prevail in the party and, when necessary, intervene to restore absolute peace”.
A vote to amend the APC constitution to accommodate this new amendment had earlier been taken at last Tuesday’s National Caucus’ meeting of the party held behind closed-doors at the New Banquet Hall of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Daily Trust on Sunday had exclusively reported the plan to replace the BoT with the Council of Elders, which will be established at national, zonal and state levels, a decision which had put the much-anticipated election of the BoT Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary on hold.
Members of the BoT had already started forming queues behind former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu before the current decision to “downsize” the APC Board. 
On July 3, 2015, the APC NEC had ratified the composition of membership of the party’s BoT. The APC National Chairman had said at that NEC meeting that the completion of the composition of the BoT membership would enable this organ of the party undertake its constitutional responsibilities.
Pundits say the delay in the composition of the Board contributed to the inability of the party to resolve the lingering leadership crisis in the Senate among party members, and the internal strife among party officials and members in states like Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Kebbi, Plateau and Yobe.
This, they added, may have been the compelling factor which made President Buhari appeal to party leaders and members during the two NEC meetings held under his leadership to protect the APC success at the 2015 general elections.
At the July 3, 2015 NEC meeting, President Buhari appealed to members and leaders of the APC to always respect the supremacy of the party and continue to work together in order to justify the mandate given to the party.
He said, “God in his infinite mercy has helped by giving us acceptance. Let us not throw this success to the wind. Let us as members of the APC, no matter our personal differences, get together and use the mandate given to us by this country. This is my personal appeal to you in the name of God. Whatever your personal interest or ambition, please keep it close to your heart and in your pocket. Let APC work, let the system work and let us have a government that will earn the respect of our constituencies.
“My problem is the constituencies. I thank you very much for listening to me, and I thank the leadership across the board, and I appeal to you to please continue to work together.  Please accept the superiority of the party.  I cannot confine myself to the cage or Sambisa Forest and refuse to participate in NEC or BoT. So, I respect the superiority of the party.”
The President, who also spoke on the challenges the APC went through before it achieved its current success, said the party must find a way to manage its victory. He attributed the challenges facing the party to human errors which, he added, could be corrected through collective efforts of all the stakeholders.
He said, “The elections have come and gone, the APC has won the battle, but lost the war. This is the paradox of democracy, and we shall see how we can manage it going forward. The APC must not disappoint its constituency, that is the nation state. We have to convince our various constituencies that we are individually worthy of the sacrifices that they have made.
“They stayed awake day and night, travelling all over the country and made sure as a party, we emerged victorious. What subsequently happened is human. As human beings, we are not perfect. But let our collective actions in this party prove that we have won the elections, the battle and we will win the war.”
He added, “As for me as a president, I have to clearly understand the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the constitution of APC, and having tried three times and successfully lost three times and successfully ended up at the Supreme Court, I think I have tasted bitter disappointments and the sweetness of success. What happened to the APC must be given to God almighty.”
In reference to the crisis that rocked the National Assembly, he said that all members should accept what has happened, forget their grievances and move on.
Also during last Thursday NEC meeting, Buhari, who expressed commitment to fulfilling the promises to tackle security, economy, and corruption, appealed to party leaders and members to sink their personal and ideological differences for the good of the party and Nigeria.
“We are members of the legacy party, plus APGA and DPP. We realized since 2005 that to remove the PDP from power, we must sink our differences, come together and form a party. God willing, that eventually happened and that is why we are where we are today, coming together in spite of our differences, both personal and ideological. We must not forget that,” he said.

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