National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has stated that the party was not expecting everyone to support the national executive committee, NEC-backed tenure elongation by 12 months for all the executives of the party at all levels, stressing that people were entitled to support any cause they believed in.
During the meeting of the NEC of the APC on Tuesday, its members had, without an amendment of the party’s constitution, voted in favour of extending the tenure of national working committee, NWC, members of the APC, citing Article 13 of the APC constitution, which empowers the NEC to carry out the functions of the convention.
Governor Yahaya Bello announced that the NEC decided to extend the tenure of the current NWC members and other executive committees at various levels for another 12 months, starting from June 30, 2018. But this decision has since been getting criticisms from some chieftains of the party, as the constitution of the party provides for a four-year tenure for its executives. The current executives led by Oyegun, the national chairman was elected in June 2014 for a four-year mandate, which is expected to lapse on June 30, 2018.
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and Zamfara state governor, Abdulaziz Yari had stated that the decision reached at the NEC meeting was a “mere expression of interest”, adding that it is only at the National Convention of the APC that a constitutional amendment can be carried out to extend the tenure of the executives.
Yari said, “What has been done is a mere expression of interest. The power of the convention to extend tenure is exercised only by way of a constitution amendment.
“The power of the National Executive Committee of our party cannot go beyond doing so by way of constitution amendment.
“Article 30 of the APC constitution states that the ‘constitution and the schedules hereto can be amended only by the National Convention of the party’.
“The process of amending the constitution is also expressly provided in Article 30 Sub-section 2.
“What was done today (Tuesday) was only an expression of a desire to extend the tenure of the Chief Oyegun-led national executive.”
The Zamfara governor’s position was supported by other members of the party who warned that the absence of a constitutional amendment by the National Convention of the APC could lead to litigation and further crisis in the party.
Stating that he expected such reactions, Oyegun told reporters on Wednesday that 100 per cent acceptance of the extension from members of the APC would have been unusual and impossible.
He said: “Well, I don’t want to talk on this sensitive political issue. Suffice to say that whatever is happening naturally will be contrary view. So, it will be so difficult if you come out with total, one hundred per cent unanimity but I think the reasons not wanting to hold some of these elective congresses this year is very clear: we have such mighty work to do in this one year and each one has the potential of causing a crisis.
“We are going to have the first set of party elections, second set of elections for governorship aspirants, and others for the state Houses of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate, and so on.
“So, we just felt we could defer some of these issues, or the party felt some of these challenges can be deferred for one year for us to concentrate on the serious task before us which is the national election, and people gave the good examples of Ekiti and Osun States, where because of this same issue of elections looming in those two states, the filling of party offices had to be deferred.”