Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Smarting from the uncertainty over their future as national officers of the All Progressives Congress (APC), some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) Thursday started moving their personal belongings out of their offices.
The NWC members have been engaged in a titanic battle with some factions of the party over the legality of the motion by the National Executive Committee (NEC) to extend the tenure of the national and state executives of the party.
While many of the APC governors backed the NWC to continue for the next 12 months, other governors and party chieftains loyal to the Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu camp are strongly agitating for conduct of congresses and elective convention to replace the officials.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech during last NEC meeting faulting the motion to extend the tenure had posed a serious threat to the future of the members of the NWC, as many of the governors on the side of Asiwaju had backed the President for conduct of congresses and elective convention.
According to Buhari, “While the APC constitution in article 17(1) and 13.2 (b) limits the tenure of elected officers to four years, renewable once by another election, the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) in section 223 also prescribed periodic elections for party executives at regular intervals, which must not exceed four years.
“Furthermore, article 31 of our great party’s constitution provides that any principal officer wishing to re-contest, or contest for another post, must resign from his current post at least one month before the election.
“In this circumstance, what is expected of us is to conduct fresh elections once the tenure of the current executives approaches its end. A caretaker committee cannot remedy this situation and cannot validly act in place of elected officers,” the Presdient had said.
Miffed by the reality of an imminent conduct of congresses and uncertainty over their future, the personal assistants to some of the NWC members were seen moving their personal belongings, including portraits, documents among others things, into their vehicles.
Confirming the development, a staff at party headquarters told Daily Sun in confidence that the haste to evacuate their personal effects was to avoid the embarrassment of the possibility of setting up a convention committee during the emergency NEC meeting on Monday.
“This week is the only chance for NWC members to tidy up their offices since they are not sure of returning. Once NEC sets up a convention committee the responsibilities of the NWC will be reduced to ceremonial,” the source said.
“Don’t forget that they have just few months to operate here before some of them re-contesting compulsorily resigning as stipulated by the party constitution. So they technically have few months to function effectively and they don’t want to be reduced to an inconsequential level once the emergency NEC meeting agrees on congresses and convention. It is obvious that they don’t want any embarrassment,” our source said.