Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The plot to remove the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has persisted with the Director General APC Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh.
Lukman, has accused him of being tyrannical and despotic in the disciplinary sanctions he melted gainst chieftains of the party.
Apparently reacting to Oshiomhole’s rant that his ward lacks the power to remove him since he was elected by 7000 party members at a National Convention, Lukman queried his rationale in endorsing the suspension of the National Vice Chairman (North West), Inuwa Abdulkadir who was also suspended by his ward.
He suggested that the National Executive Council (NEC) during its emergency meeting scheduled for March 17, should apart from appointing an Acting National Chairman, review the questionable suspensions clamped onot NWC members and governors.
Backing his arguments with relevant sections of the party’s constitution, he insisted that the previous suspensions endorsed by the Oshiomhole-led NWC are not rule based but on impulse.
“Article 13.4(i-xvii) provides for the powers of the NWC. Nowhere in those provisions were disciplinary responsibility given to the NWC. The reality is that all decisions about suspending Deputy National Chairman (North) Lawal Shuaibu and the three governors were taken by the NWC.
“In the case of Abdulkadir, it was taken by his ward and transmitted to the NWC. Upon receipt of that decision, the NWC was expected to invite the NEC to set up the fact-finding committee.
“It is very difficult not to conclude that by its actions, the Oshiomhole-led NWC arbitrarily handled issues of discipline such that even where there could be valid cases of activating disciplinary proceedings against Shuaibu and the three governors, it was compromised to the extent of such comprises therefore rendered the so-called suspension, acts of nullity.
“The case of Abdulkadir is different largely because it was the decision of the ward executive, which the NWC instead of transmitting it to NEC decided to appropriate the powers of NEC. This may require that NEC recall the decision of the ward and proceed to appoint the fact-finding committee as provided in Article 21(B)(ii) of the APC constitution.
“Somehow, all these so-called cases of suspension and the speed with which the Oshiomhole-led NWC acted on them further demonstrate the intolerant disposition of the APC NWC under Oshiomhole.
“Unfortunately, it also exhibited a disturbing reality about the inability of members of the NWC to cross-check provisions of the APC constitution before arriving at their decision. Such conducts are only the credentials of tyrants and despots and not political party leaders under a constitutional democracy.
“The reality is that to discipline a party leader of the status of a Deputy National Chairman, National Vice Chairman, Governors etc, is not an easy task. It requires good planning and the necessary courage to be combative. But more importantly, it is a question of skillful application of capacity of our leaders to mobilise our members to enforce provisions of the APC constitution on matters affecting the conduct of party leaders.
“It is not as simple as just sitting in Abuja to make pronouncement. I fear that combativeness was applied at the expense of membership mobilisation. All this period, at no time did the NWC convene any meeting to attempt to explain or seek for support of any of its disciplinary decision to any member or organ. Everything was reduced to media outburst, which is unfortunate,” he said.
Insisting that Oshiomhole stands suspended, the PGF DG, said: “This bring us to the suspension of Oshiomhole by his ward. In every respect, Oshiomhole’s case is similar to that of Abdulkadir.
Since November 2, 2019, the ward executive of Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State announced the suspension of Oshiomhole, interestingly for alleged anti-party activities similar to the charges against Abdulkadir.
“The decision was transmitted to the NWC and instead of applying the provision of Article 21(B)(ii) of the APC constitution to set up a fact-finding committee, or even endorsed the suspension given the precedence they have set in the case of Abdulkadir, the NWC rejected the decision of the ward executive to suspend Oshiomhole.
“What makes the case of Oshiomhole different? To worsen the matter, Oshiomhole himself kept making the argument that he is not an officer of his ward. Is Abdulkadir an officer of his ward? Oshiomhole argued that he was elected by over 7,000 delegates at a National Convention as such only the National Convention can remove him. Who elected Abdulkadir? Was it his ward?
“Under no circumstance should we allow double standards in the application of disciplinary proceedings. Therefore, just like in the case of Abdulkadir, the NEC need to also recall the decision of Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State regarding the suspension of Oshiomhole and proceed to appoint a fact-finding committee in line with provisions of Article 21(B)(ii) of the APC constitution.
“There are other many cases of suspension by either the NWC or other state organs of the party. The NEC would need to recall all these so-called suspensions and decisively treat in line with provisions of relevant sections of the APC constitution.
“It is important that the NEC take steps to ensure that we are able to shift our politics to a rule-based conduct and not impulsive and opinionated driven by the ego of our NWC leaders. Anything short of this will just amount to waste of time,” he warned.
He further asked: “Does the NWC has the power under the APC constitution to suspend any of its serving officers such as the Deputy National Chairman (North)? Without going into the details of the allegations against either Shuaibu or Abdulkadir, what is the procedure for discipline as provided in the APC constitution?”
“The recommendation therefore is that all disciplinary decisions initiated and executed by the NWC as was the case with Shuaibu and the three governors should be declared a nullity. Although, the NWC has announced the withdrawal of the suspension against the three governors, it is important that the NEC is able to affirm the provisions of the APC constitution with respect to the powers of NWC on matters of disciplinary hearings.
“Finally, all cases rightly initiated by relevant executive committees as provided by the APC constitution, the NEC should proceed to activate Article 21 with the appointment of respective fact-finding committees for each case.
“Perhaps, it needs to be emphasised that NWC is not an executive committee and therefore does not qualify to exercise the powers of taking most of the decisions it has taken with respect to disciplinary conduct of leaders,” he suggested.