A faction of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State has condemned the rejection of Muiz Banire as the head of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) by senators representing the state.
A statement signed by Fouad Oki, the party’s factional chairman in the state, Wednesday said Mr Banire’s appointment ought to have elicited excitement and a sense of pride but, instead, was met by a “scurrilous objection” by the senators.
Mr Banire, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had been nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, as chairman of the Governing Board of AMCON.
But the nomination was rejected by the three APC senators from Lagos State – Olamilekan Solomon (Lagos West), Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), and Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East).
According to the lawmakers, their constituents had written a petition rejecting Mr Banire’s nomination.
On Wednesday, Mr Banire, a former national legal adviser of the party, said he would not join issues with the senators out of respect for the office they occupy, adding that his nomination was not “a quota appointment.”
According to the statement by the factional APC chairman, the rejection of Mr Banire’s nomination was “the handiwork of Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the party.”
“Mr Tinubu’s continued meddlesomeness in the affairs of the party is very worrisome and should be checked by all men of good conscience,” Mr Oki said.
“We can unequivocally say that only one thing will come out of his shenanigans this time, it is failure.
“We have it on authority that all the efforts to thwart the confirmation (of Mr Banire) was orchestrated by Mr Bola Tinubu including directives on late Monday, 23rd July 2018, which was conveyed by Senator Solomon Olamilekan (aka Yayi) to his colleagues in a desperate attempt to sway the Senate President and other senators into his unholy attempts.
“Mr Tinubu’s actions was clearly a manifestation of an act of self-interest and personal pursuit of power, wealth and influence at the expense of the Lagos people, to the detriment of indigenes in particular.
“And this indeed, is injurious to the party; we can only hope that APC will not pay dearly for this at the polls in the coming elections.”
Mr Banire, a two-time commissioner in Lagos State, had been a champion of internal democracy in the state chapter of the APC, putting him at loggerheads with Mr Tinubu.
Last year, scores of protesting members of the APC marched to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s office demanding Mr Banire’s expulsion from the party.
The state chapter of the party also suspended Mr Banire, then national legal adviser of the party, a decision that was promptly overruled by the party’s national body.
Mr Oki said Mr Tinubu’s alledged determination to play god on matters of federal nominations and appointments into key positions “had gone too far.”
He called on President Buhari and other well-meaning members of the party to wade into the matter “before it gets too late”.
“You will recall his similar battle to scuttle the federal appointments of Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, (SAN), and several other individuals from Lagos State. Must he be the sole determiner of the aspiration and destiny of every party member?”
When contacted, Mr Tinubu’s spokesperson, Tunde Rahman, declined to comment on Mr Oki’s accusations against his principal.
“Why don’t you call the senators to find out if they were influenced,” Mr Rahman told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday night.
Phone calls to Tunde Balogun, the chairman of the Lagos State APC, did not go through.
But the immediate past state chairman, Henry Ajomale, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Oki had no right to take a position on behalf of the party “because he’s neither the party or an officer of the party.”
“He has been removed as the vice chairman of the party, he’s just an ordinary member now,” he added.
When reminded that Mr Oki’s statement was written on a Lagos State APC official letterhead, Mr Ajomale said: “That’s exactly the impunity we are talking about. I’ve not seen his statement, when we have a reasonable evidence, we can discipline him because he cannot continue to parade himself as an officer of the party.”