Romanus Ugwu and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it would not succumb to the nationwide clamour for it to convene an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to resolve its myriad of crises, which has led to the sack of its national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, by the courts.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, acting national chairman of the party, Hilliard Eta, said, with over 120 members, a NEC meeting would violate the COVID-19 pandemic protocol prohibiting public gatherings: “I do not believe there is anybody afraid or scared of convening NEC meeting. For those who want to build this party, who want this party to outlast this present government, they are such in number that there is no fear of convening NEC meeting.
“What has been militating against constituting NEC meeting in the recent past is, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic that has stopped everybody from gathering more than a certain number of persons.
“As you are all aware, we have over 120 members of NEC and it would amount to breaking the COVID-19 protocol as established by the Nigerian authorities prohibiting gathering of more than 50 people at a time. It will take our breaking that protocol for us to have a NEC meeting. But, if it is possible to have a waiver, so to speak, to be able to have a NEC meeting, we can explore that. There is nobody afraid of having NEC meeting. There is no way the ruling party will voluntarily disobey or break rules it is part of making.”
Regardless of his explanation, the newly formed Integrity Group of the party has insisted that an urgent emergency NEC meeting should be held to resolve the leadership crisis and challenges confronting the party.
At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, spokesman for the group and NorthWest national youth leader of APC, Alhaji Abubakar Fakai, said the party had a critical leadership problem, and the development was threatening the unity of the party.
He expressed concerns over the crisis and challenges confronting the national leadership of the party, adding that, if left unchecked, it could wreck the foundation and structure of APC across the country.
Fakai said members of the Integrity Group comprised elected and appointed members of the party and the group had resolved to critically look into the party’s constitution regarding the current situation with a view to addressing them amicably.
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari, national caucus of the party and the Progressive Governors Forum to take necessary action and decisions to resolve the situation.
He also urged the National Working Committee of the APC to look inward and strictly adhere to its schedules and stop encroaching or abusing the power of the NEC.
Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has disclosed that President Buhari would in the next few days intervene in the crisis and amicably resolve disputes and appropriately manage conflicts largely responsible for the crisis in the party.
Lawan, who spoke to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with the President in Abuja, said the crisis in the APC must not be allowed to degenerate any further than it already has, adding that a stable party was tied to a stable country.
Lawan, who said he came to discuss the issue of insecurity in the country with the President, especially in the North and what the National Assembly was willing to do, said he also took the opportunity to discuss the crisis rocking the party and why President Buhari must step in.
“But I also had the opportunity to talk to my President and my leader about the challenges in the APC. I believe that we have to deal with these challenges, this is the ruling party of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the President, with the control of the National Assembly, with more governors than any other political party. The situation should not, must not, be allowed to degenerate further than it has.
“And I believe that we must go into the constitution of our party and see how we are to address this but we must not allow this to continue as it is today.
“Because, the stability of APC is the stability of Nigeria; this is the party that is running the affairs of this country. So, I believe that we have to sort this out and that will make our work in National Assembly even better and easier when we have a stable party.
“Because, the party is supposed to be part of the apparatus of running government. We are supposed to run or operate or implement or execute the manifesto of the party. And, therefore, the party is so key, so central, so essential to ensuring that government whether on the executive or legislative side continues to face those issues in the manifesto and of course the manifesto will be to make Nigeria better.
“So, I had the opportunity to discuss that with the President, who is the leader of the party in Nigeria and, by the grace of God, in the next few days, we will see certain actions which will be taken and we are praying that all our leaders in the party across the country will make every possible effort to get the party reconciled.”
Backs Buhari’s marching orders to security chiefs
The Senate President also threw his weight behind President Buhari’s marching orders to the security chiefs to tackle insecurity in the country or be shown the way out.
According to him, the National Assembly was ready and willing to consider a supplementary budget to provide the security agencies with more resources to enable them recruit more personnel to boost their capacity to tackle the challenges of insurgency, banditry and other crimes in the country.
Lawan said: “You know the country is facing very deep and serious security challenges and I have come to discussed with Mr. President what we discussed previously that we should do whatever it takes to improve the security situation in the country.”