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APC Tenure Extension Faces Legal Obstacle

APC Tenure Extension Faces Legal Obstacle

APC National Working Committee (NWC) faces more facts as the process of extending party executives’ tenure is spelt out in the Nigerian Constitution, legal sources said, quoting Section 233 (1).

The Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello had announced on Tuesday that the National Executive Committee (NEC) granted the John Odigie-Oyegun-led  NWC an extension of tenure; a claim that was debunked by Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) Chairman and Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari.

Yari said such an extension could be effective with a constitutional amendment, which only a National Convention could do.

“Article 30 of the APC constitution states: The constitution and the schedules hereto can be amended only by the National Convention of the party.

“The process of amending the constitution is also expressly provided in Article 30 sub section 2. This states: “Notice of any proposed amendment by any member or organ of the party shall be given to the National Secretary at least 14 days before the date of the National Convention. The Notice shall be in writing, shall contain a clear statement of the proposed amendment and reasons for it,” Yari said.

Yari added:  “What was done today (yesterday) is only an expression of a desire to extend the tenure of Chief Oyegun-led National Executive.”

Many party chiefs and members yesterday realised that those who claimed that the NWC’s tenure had been extended were wrong.

Many members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Executive Committee (NEC) were yesterday backing out of the decision to extend the tenure of the party’s executives when they discovered that it requires an amendment to the constitution.

The party has slated another NEC meeting for this month to begin the march to the national convention, the only organ of the party that can amend the constitution.

Article 30 of the APC constitution stipulates that “this constitution and the schedule hereto can be amended only by the National Convention”.

This is in conformity with article 223 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution which stipulates: “The Constitution and rules of political party shall provide for the periodical election on a democratic basis of the principal officers an members of executive committee or other governing body of the political party.”

Oyegun said yesterday that the NEC decision to grant the tenure elongation was because of the “the mighty task” ahead of the party.

He told reporters in his office that the party wanted to avoid going into the general elections in a crisis, pointing out that congresses and electoral process were potential conflict areas that could affect the general election.

He said that the leadership of the party was not expecting the decision to be welcome by all members of the party, adding that it was impossible to have 100 per cent support for such a decision.

Oyegun said: “Well, I don’t want to talk on this sensitive political issue. Suffice it to say that whatever is happening naturally will be contrary view. So, it will be so difficult if you come out with total, one hundred per cent unanimity.

“But I think the reasons for not wanting to hold some of these elective congresses this year is very clear; we have such a mighty work to do this year and each one has the potential of causing crisis. It has always been that once there is an election, it always creates its own issue.

“We are going to have first set of party elections, second set of elections to governmental aspirants, other House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate, governorship and so on.

“So, we just felt we could defer some of these issues or the party felt some of these challenges can be deferred for one year because of the serious task before us which are the national elections, and people gave the good examples of Ekiti and Osun. The last time, because elections were due in those two states, the filling of party offices had to be deferred.”

Oyegun did not, however, say if the “decision”  was legal.

A chieftain of the party, Timi Frank, described the “decision” of the NEC as “undemocratic”.

In a statement in Abuja, Frank said the action of the NEC in extending the tenure of the NWC was a clear indication that it does not respect even its own laid down rules and guidelines.

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Rev Francis Waive

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