Lagos state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday kicked against the “elongation” of the party’s national and state executives tenure, disclosing that the decision is against Nigeria’s and the APC’s constitutions.
The APC, had in February extended the tenure of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party. The extension, approved by the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party at its meeting in Abuja, saw the extension of the tenure of the NWC, headed by the party’s national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun and his executives.
The tenure of the NWC had initially been scheduled to end in June having been elected in 2014. The party’s decision to extend the NWC’s tenure came against the backdrop of the disagreement between a national leader of the party and its strong financier in Lagos, Bola Tinubu, and the national chairman, Odigie-Oyegun.
The ex-governor had in a letter accused the party’s national chairman of sabotaging his efforts at reconciling warring factions within the party, an assignment handed to him by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Odigie-Oyegun had in his reaction attributed the extension to the party’s resolve to maintain peace in the party.
Rising from a Consultative Forum held at the State House Marina, Lagos and attended by party elders from across the state, the leaders said the extension of the tenure of the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and his executives by one year was against the spirit of the country’s and APC’s constitutions.
Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution as amended provides for periodical election on a democratic basis for principal officers and members of the executive committee of political parties. According to the constitution, election of the officers or members of the executive committee of a political party will be deemed to be periodical if done at regular intervals not exceeding four years.
Article 17 of the party’s constitution also provides for a four-year tenure for its national and state executives, which is renewable for another four years.
The leader of the party in Lagos State Central Senatorial District, Chief Tajudeen Olusi, spoke with journalists after the consultative forum.
He said: “We have taken reports of the state APC chairman in respect of the NEC meeting held in Abuja. We have also had the privilege of receiving great reports from our leader from the reconciliation committee.
“We have considered the issue of extension of tenure and we are of the firm belief that the decision is a breach of the constitution of our party and of the country. We are against the elongation of tenure.
“We shall continue to make our decision known to the party and to the president”.
Section 223 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, as amended, specifically states that:
“(1)The Constitution and rules of a political party shall
(a) provide for the periodical election on a democratic basis of the principal officers and members of the executive committee or other governing body of the political party; and
(b) ensure that the members of the executive committee or other governing body of the political party reflect the federal character of Nigeria.
(2) For the purposes of this section
(a) the election of the officers or members of the executive committee of a political party shall be deemed to be periodical only if it is made at regular intervals not exceeding four years; and…”
In extending the tenure, the APC National Executive Committee had relied on Article 13.3 (ii) of its constitution which states that The NEC can discharge the functions of the convention in a period of emergency.
Article 13.3 (ii) of APC Constitution specifically states that the NEC of the party is empowered to;
“Discharge all functions of the National Conventions as constituted in between Conventions”.
But the provision in Article 13.3 (ii) is not limitless and open-ended. It is a responsibility restricted by the same constitution, which provides exclusively under Article 30 (i) that: ”This Constitution and Schedules hereto can be amended only by the National Convention of the Party.”
The party’s constitution provides the processes for constitution amendment.
Article 30 “(ii) Notice of any proposed amendment by any member or organ of the Party shall be given to the National Secretary at least twenty-one (21) days before the date of the National Convention. The notice, which shall be in writing, shall contain a clear statement of the proposed amendment and reasons thereof.
(iii) Notice of proposed amendment(s) shall be served on the members of the National Convention at least fourteen (14) days before the date of the meeting at which the proposed amendment is to be considered. Publication of the notice of the proposed amendments in a National Newspaper shall be deemed to be sufficient Notice.
(iv)The Constitution or any part thereof shall stand amended if a proposed amendment is supported by at least two thirds of the delegates present and voting.
(v) Where new positions and Offices are created as a result of the amendment of this Constitution, the relevant Executive Committee shall until the next Convention or Congress fill such positions and office in an interim capacity.”