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‘NWC tenure extension, mere proposal to APC convention’



A founding member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tony Momoh has said it was a misinformation that the tenure of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun’s-led National Executive and the states were extended by a year.

Momoh, who is also a member of the APC’s Constitution Drafting committee, explained that the tenure extension was a proposal that was unanimously endorsed during the party’s caucus and NWC meetings. It is however subject to ratification by the convention, which is billed to hold in June.

The former Minister of Information who equally played active role in the merger process that led to founding of APC on February 2 2013, also dismissed as ‘absolute lie and abject misinformation’ that the National Leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom President Muhammadu Buhari recently appointed to drive reconciliation among all aggrieved members of the ruling party across the nation, called for the removal of Chief Odigie-Oyegun as National Chairman.

In a telephone conversation with The Guardian yesterday, Prince Momoh further cleared the air over speculations that Tinubu also tried to usurp the powers of the party’s National Executive body by demanding that crucial information be released to him (Tinubu) to aid his reconciliation assignment.

According to Momoh, “The tenure extension, which is currently being misinterpreted to mean that Tinubu has lost out in the APC power game, was a mere proposal agreed on during the NWC meeting on Tuesday to be presented before the convention in June for ratification. If the convention approved it, so be it otherwise it would not stand.

“Although, we also considered the serious implications it would cost the party and at the same time weighed the option of disbanding the present executives when election is less than a year. It was on this basis that a constitution amendment proposal was made, which must be tabled before the convention for ratification.”

When asked why the governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello failed to give the details while briefing the media on Tuesday if the explanation that the tenure extension was a mere proposal is not an afterthought, Momoh said, “It was a well-known fact that such a major decision could not have been taken by fiat without necessarily referring it to the convention for ratification according to our constitution. You should also know that democracy has its intrigues. There was nothing like a gang up among the governors against the national leader.

“It was true that the NWC took the decision to extend the executives tenure for certain reasons but not with the intent to smear anybody the way it is being insinuated. Governor Bello did not make mistake. He told the media the decision that was agreed upon but there are also further clarifications, which the party has done and I am also informing you.

“For instance, if the party decides to hold another congresses less than a year to the general elections, there are bound to be crises, issues and others, which was one of the factors the NWC considered before proposing a year tenure extension so that the party could have enough time to concentrate on the 2019 elections.”

Also speaking on the perceived implications of the tenure extension to the Tinubu reconciliation committee, the erstwhile National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), one of the parties that merged to APC said Tinubu only visited the National Secretariat after he was appointed by President Buhari to reconcile aggrieved members in the party, which was a normal thing to do “but that he tried to take over the functions of the organ was strange. On what basis would he have taken steps to usurp the powers of the National Executive arm of the party?

“What would he have achieved by doing that and what machinery would he have set up as an alternative? This is democracy and the opposition would always look out for loopholes to either malign us before the electorate or rubbish us. The game plan is to win and in doing that any strategy is allowed. We do not expect the opposition parties to fold their arms and keep mute on what we are doing. That insinuation was not true.

“The fabrications that Tinubu demanded for Odigie-Oyegun’s removal was a lie. The contents of the letter he (Tinubu) wrote does not suggest anything near that insinuation. As a matter of fact the National Chairman pledged to support Tinubu in the reconciliation assignment for the progress of the party.”

Momoh further denied any form of crack in the APC and that all members of the party are happy with the Tinubu’s committee and everybody is going to cooperate with him.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General, Yoruba Ronu, Mr. Akin Malaolu told The Guardian that the explanation the tenure extension is a proposal was mere make believe and afterthought.

He wondered who would reverse the decision at the convention when majority and the serious stakeholders have decided at the NWC meeting? He also said that Tinubu whom Buhari asked to reconcile aggrieved members was part of those that created the crisis within the ruling party in the first place by their meddlesomeness in the National Assembly leadership election affairs in 2015. He also wondered whom Tinubu would reconcile when he (Tinubu) had serious issues right in his Southwest base with majority of those he prompted up politically?

According to Malaolu, “The APC should go and tell it to the marines that the tenure extension was a proposal that would be ratified by the convention as if the stakeholders who met on Tuesday would no longer have a say or serious influence at the convention?

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