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Disquiet in APC over convention


The National Chairman, of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

The National Chairman, of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

• I’m studying the constitution, says spokesman
• Party youths seek 50% of political appointments

With barely two weeks to the end of the year the rumpus within the National Working Committee (NWC) of All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to be mounting, as there are fresh agitations over the failure of the party’s top hierarchy to convene a national convention of the party.

The development, The Guardian gathered at the weekend has led to a fresh agitation for the leadership of the party to give way, having allegedly violated some sections of the party’s constitution.

The John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC has come under intense criticism from some key actors of the party for not convening a meeting of this important arm of the party’s organ.

Stakeholders believe that as a result of this lapse, some of the critical decisions, which should be ratified, are left
hanging thereby, violating the party’s constitution.

Specifically, Article 25 (A) (i) of the APC constitution prescribes that the national convention of the Party shall be held once in Two (2) years at a date, venue and time to be recommended by the NWC and approved by the NEC, subject to the giving of the statutory notices to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with a minimum of 14 days notice given to members eligible to attend.

Also, the constitution provides that NEC may summon an emergency national convention at any time provided at least seven days notice of the meeting shall be given to all members eligible to attend.

It would be recalled that the party last held its national convention in 2014. The 2014 convention was held to adopt the six-point manifesto that was extracted from the one earlier submitted to INEC for the purpose of the 2015 general elections.

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank had called for the sack of the Oyegun-led NWC for violating the party’s constitution with regards to the national convention.

Frank, an ardent critic of the party’s national chairman, who was recently suspended by the party’s South-South zonal chapter, said: “For the inability of the NWC members to hold National Convention of the party as at when due, they should be sacked.”

However, the new National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, said that he would need to look at the party’s constitution to know what it says concerning Conventions.

Abdullahi, who assumed office only last week pleaded for more time to enable him study the party’s constitution to be able to form an opinion on the matter. 

Incidentally, Abdullahi’s own appointment, as the party’s spokesman ought to have been ratified at the convention.His words: “I will have to check. I don’t know what the Constitution says about that and as you know l have just resumed, so l do not know what the Constitution says about the regularity of the convention. But l believe that at all times, the party would do the right thing. As l said l would have to check the constitution and get back to you.”

Odigie-Oyegun had in an interview late last year promised that the party would hold National Convention this year 2016.“We have to amend the Constitution. We want to have a convention to approve the amendment of the Constitution. The convention will take place within the next three months.

“The revision of that aspect of the constitution is ready.Notices will go out very soon. So, there is no magic to it.We just want to do things that will be effective; things that will contribute maximally to the party and governance,” Oyegun said.

However, going by the reality on ground, the APC would not be able to hold the national convention this year as earlier promised by the national chairman.

MEANWHILE, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, has underscored the importance of entrusting the youth with more political positions across the spectrum of the country.

Making the assertion in Abuja when a non-partisan northern youths group, the Arewa Youths Forum, (AYF) paid him a visit to empathize with him on the face-off between him and the party, Frank said it would not be too much if youths demand 50 percent slots of all political appointments at all levels.

Though the President of the forum, Gambo Ibrahim Jungu, said although Arewa Forum is not a political organization but he explained that they have come to sympathize with Frank on his travails with the leadership of the party.

He said the forum believed the youth of Nigeria should be given major role to participate in governance, adding, “We believe it is unfair and an attempt to short-change Timi Frank.”

He therefore pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently intervene in the face-off between the APC and Frank, stressing that allowing the crisis to fester for long would amount to doing injustice to the younger person.

On his part, Frank assured that he would continue to lead the struggle for more participation of young people in public offices across the country.

His words: “I have made it clear during a recently celebrated International Youths Day that it is high time every government gave youth 50 percent political office from local government, to state and federal government. I’m still re-iterating same position that 50 percent of political position should be given to us (youths) from now upward, this is the only thing that we cannot negotiate.

“It is non-negotiable, this is one thing we must do in 2019, before we elect any leader, they must have an agreement with us on the 50 percent inclusion because we cannot be oppressed anymore. We must ask them question on what they have for Nigerian youths, this is what we are demanding, and you must give us 50 percent inclusive.

In this article:
John Odigie-Oyegun
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