From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The last may not have been heard of the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) as concerned party stakeholders, under the umbrella of APC Rebirth Group, has threatened to resist any attempt to extend party’s National Convention beyond February next year.
The group equally chided the party over the attempt to sanction Prince Mustapha Mona Audu, the coordinator of APC Progressive Youth Movement.
APC Rebirth Group, in a statement he issued in Abuja on Thursday also frowned at the invitation the Department of State Services (DSS) extended to Mustapha Audu, warning that party to exhaust the rule of law in trying him.
The statement signed by Aliyu Audu, read: “The Concerned APC Stakeholders use this opportunity to reiterate our earlier position that the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee must conduct the national convention of the party as due or do the needful by resigning their positions to enable willing and capable hands take charge and carry out the overdue task of giving us a convention that will fully kickstart the rebirth of APC.
“It has been nearly two weeks since Governor Mala Buni, in company of some other APC governors, told Nigerians that it took a date of February, 2022 for the conduct of the national convention to President Muhammadu Buhari and that the President graciously approved it; but no definite date or plan has been released by the CECPC since that announcement.
“This clearly shows that the CECPC, despite going to the Villa with a February proposal has no prepared plan to meet the deadline. Let it be known, however, that any attempt to extend the convention beyond the February date as graciously approved by the President will be resisted by all concerned,” APC Rebirth Group warned in the statement.
On the plan to sanction Mustapha Audu, they said: “The attention of the Concerned APC Stakeholders, otherwise referred to as the APC Rebirth Group has been drawn to the travails of Prince Mustapha Mona Audu following his recent activities, especially in relation with the internal affairs of the APC and the stand of his group, the Progressive Youth Movement.
“The Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator James Akpanudoedehe had, in a response described the Mustapha-led group as a paid and misguided group who are unregistered or it’s members unknown to the party.
“Apparently flowing from the instruction of the CECPC, the chairman of the APC in Ogbonicha Ward of Ofu LGA of Kogi State, Hon. Peter Onoja, in a purported press conference he addressed disowned Prince Mustapha Audu and said he has ceased being a member of the party.
“While we are yet to come to terms with this flagrant disregard for constituted rules and procedures and the diplomacy required at this time, it has been brought to our attention that the DSS has extended an invitation to Mustapha Audu to appear before the service.
“Even as we have not minced words, especially in our previous press statement in disagreeing with the method of the movement, particularly in the sacking and reconstitution of a duly constituted committee which has the blessings of our leader and president, Buhari, the APC Rebirth Group completely frowns at the response of the Caretaker Committee and purported dissociation of the ward chairman.
“For the leadership of the APC to take this position against a group it has interfaced with at various times, so much as disowning their leader, Prince Mustapha Audu who was recently a governorship aspirant under the platform of the party, one only imagines how seriously those superintending over the affairs of the party takes their responsibility.
“We feel that even if the party would impose any disciplinary action on Prince Audu, the constitution of the party must be followed to the letter by adhering to laid down rules and procedures prescribed for the discipline of party members, including being given the fair chance to defend himself, and not the arbitrary and unconstitutional action of the CECPC and the ward chairman acting on their behalf.
The fact that Prince Audu expressed a contrary opinion or embark on activities that are seen to be against the current leadership of the party does not warrant his being denied his rights as a full-fledged member of the party. In any case, what has Prince Audu and his Progressive Youth Movement said about the current leadership of the party that are not true?
“Apart from the wooing of opposition politicians into the APC which has not translated into any meaningful political capital, the CECPC has lost more elections than it has won and has succeeded in creating more crisis across the length and breath of the party than it met and meant to resolve.
“As regards the purported invitation of Mustapha Audu by the DSS, the APC Rebirth Group would like to draw attention of the service to a subsisting court order which barred government or any of its security agencies from intervening in party affairs. Except there is a different matter upon which Prince Audu was invited, we would be very disappointed if the invitation was as a result of the recent activities of his group.
“We recall that the leader of the party, President Buhari has warned several times that no individual, no matter how highly placed, should use the agencies of government to intimidate any Nigerian, let alone members of our own party.
“It’s our hope that whoever is behind the ongoing attempt to checkmate the activities of Prince Audu’s group or any other group for that matter would do so with a clear obedience to the Constitution of the party and the laws of Nigeria. Illegalities and violation of rights must have no space within a progressive party such as the APC and a democratic country under the leadership of President Buhari,” the statement read.