The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress has taken a new dimension as one of the men claiming to be the party’s acting national secretary has said he is authorised to take over the administration of the party.
Victor Gaidom, the party’s deputy national secretary, took over in interim capacity after the former holder of the post, Buni Mala, became governor of Yobe State in 2019.
The party however named a new secretary, Waziri Bulama, in January, although he was billed to take charge last Friday, according to officials.
The party fasttracked Mr Bulama’s takeover after the party’s chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was suspended on Wednesday.
But Mr Gaidom, who is backed by Salihu Mustapha, national vice-chairman (North-East) and one of Mr Oshiomhole’s critics, insists he remains secretary.
On Friday, he issued a statement on behalf of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), calling for a National Executive Committee meeting to discuss the crisis in the party.
A counter statement signed by the party’s spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party’s national legal adviser, Babatunde Ogala, and Mr Bulama, said Mr Gaidom’s call was “unconstitutional” and beyond his powers.
Mr Mustapha opposes Mr Bulama’s appointment. He had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES the announcement of Mr Bulama by the Oshiomhole faction was illegal.
Defending call for meeting
Explaining his decision to call a NEC meeting, Mr Gaidom said in a statement on Sunday night that the party’s constitution empowers him to call for a NEC meeting in the absence of the national chairman.
“It is on record that the erstwhile National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiohmole has been suspended by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction,” he said.
“The two Deputy National Chairmen are no longer in office. The next most senior party officer should be the Secretary General of the party. But as we all know, our erstwhile National Secretary in the person of Hon. Buni Mai Mala is now the Executive Governor of Yobe State. Hence, as the Acting National Secretary, I have the Constitutional Power to steer activities of our great party,” he stated as he accused both the party’s spokesperson and Mr Bulama of trying to mislead the public in their joint press release.”
Mr Gaidom, basing his argument around Article 14.4 and 25 (B) of the party constitution, also said that a call for another NEC meeting was long overdue and since he has been functioning in the acting capacity of the national secretary, he is entitled to call a NEC, “provided at least days’ notice of the meeting is given to those entitled to attend.”
“Article 25 (B) (i) of our constitution is very clear and it says, The National Executive Committee of our great party shall meet every quarter of a year. It is on record that the last National Executive Committee meeting was held on the 22 of November 2019, which is about 4 months to 17 of March fixed for the NEC meeting which itself is a breach of the party’s constitution.
“While Article 25 (B) (ii) provides that the National Working Committee of our great party may summon an emergency National Executive Committee meeting at any time provided at least days’ notice of the meeting is given to those entitled to attend. The Notice given on the March 6, 2020, is in strict compliance with the provision of the Constitution,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Article 25 (iv) of the party constitution emphasised that “the quorum for the meetings of the National Executive Committee shall be one third of its membership.”
Mr Gaidom did not indicate if he has gotten the required membership before he called for the controversial NEC meeting.
Also, in Article 14.3 (II), the national secretary is mandated to issue notices of meetings as directed.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...