A resolution that was reportedly adopted unanimously by members of the All Progressives Congress National Executive Committee (APC-NEC) has given the current National Working Committee (NWC) an approval to continue overseeing the affairs of the party for another one year in the absence of a valid convention.
The resolution, adopted Monday afternoon at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, could see John Odigie-Oyegun remain the chairman of the party until after the 2019 elections.
“If for reasons of inability to fulfill constitutional and or legal conditions requisite for the conduct of a valid elective congress or convention, then the party may as a last resort leverage on the NEC resolution of February 27, 2018 which in our view is lawful in the circumstances,” according to item five of the resolution obtained by PREMIUM TIMES Monday night.
Davies Ibiamu-Ikanya, the chairman of APC in Rivers State, moved the five-item resolution. It was seconded by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and adopted by NEC members, PREMIUM TIMES understands.
It was not immediately clear why there were no dissenting voices prior to the adoption of the resolution, which appears to favour Mr Odigie-Oyegun.
Mr Odigie-Oyegun and other members of the current NWC had previously secured a nod to extend their tenure by one year due to a myriad of internal squabbles in some state chapters. The members also said the extension would help the party minimise the crisis that holding elections in troubled states could throw up.
But the February 27 plan was scuttled after President Muhammadu Buhari withdrew his support and said it would be better if the party conducts congresses across the country. The president believes doing so would save the party legal troubles ahead of general elections.
The president’s turn-around was seen as a capitulation to Bola Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor and prominent party leader, who has been pushing hard to ease Mr Odigie-Oyegun out of office.
But with the latest decision by NEC, it seems the APC has returned the decision of holding the congress for elective positions to Mr Odigie-Oyegun.
Other items in the resolution include a “21 days statutory notice for the holding of elective congress and convention be given to INEC immediately,” it said.
“The current zoning formula for the party offices be retained,” item three of the resolution said.
Item four said “Requirements of the article 31(iii) be waived in line with the provisions of article 13.4 (xv) to avoid disruption in the management of party affairs at all levels.” This could allow Mr Odigie-Oyegun remain in office until the convention. Considering Mr Odigie-Oyegun’s alledged opposition to the convention, some commentators have said they won’t be surprised if he decided to use the power to his advantage.
An APC commentator, Ayo Akanji, said the resolutions may favour Mr Odigie-Oyegun, “in paper only”.
“No matter what, the convention would hold,” Mr Akanji said. “In fact, people are already paying ahead for paraphernalia.”