Saturday, 10 March 2018

Oyegun's Tenure Extension:APC Replies Lagos Chapter

The National Headquarters of the All Progressives Congress has advised the Lagos State chapter of the party to wait for another National Executive Committee meeting or the National Convention to make its case over NEC’s decision to extend the tenure of elected and appointed party officials.

National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, said this in a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH, in Abuja, on Friday.

Abdullahi, who is also a member of the party’s National Working Committee, was reacting to questions on the decision of the Lagos State APC to reject the tenure extension granted to the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the APC and all elected and appointed party officials at all levels by the party’s NEC.

Abdullahi said, “Well, that’s democracy. A decision has been taken by the second highest decision making body of the party, which is the NEC.

“If one out of the several chapters of the party disagrees, it does not invalidate the decision.

“The chapter concerned can wait for another NEC meeting or the National Convention to make its case; this is the beauty of party democracy. We have internal mechanisms for resolving whatever issues that arise and we advise that these mechanisms be explored.”

Ogun, Ondo APC disagree with Lagos over tenure extension

Meanwhile, the APC chapters in Ogun and Ondo states have declared support for the tenure elongation for Odigie-Oyegun and other party officials, as approved by its NEC.

By their actions, both state chapters have disagreed with the Lagos chapter of the party, which had earlier opposed the elongation of the tenure of the party’s national and state executives, saying it was against the party’s constitution.

The Ondo State Chairman of the APC and the Ogun State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Ade Adetimehin and Mr. Sola Lawal, respectively, said they aligned themselves with the decision of the National Executive Committee of the party.

Adetimehin said, “Our constitution allows tenure elongation and at the NEC meeting, it was put to vote and the majority had their way and that is the beauty of democracy. But before the NEC meeting, all the 37 chairmen met and it was a unanimous decision. The Lagos State Chairman (of the party), Chief Henry Ajomale, presided over the meeting.

“The issue is not about Odigie-Oyegun, the decision affects all the elective officers of the party, from the ward to the national level. The tenure of all the officers has been elongated for just 12 months for the party to concentrate on the elections before us. We have elections in Osun and Ekiti states as well as the general elections next year, but after the elections in 2019, we can now meet again on the issue.”

Similarly, Lawal said, “We in the Ogun State APC will align with the position of the party on the tenure elongation of the current national and state executives of the party for one year. We do not hold any contrary position because the party’s decision is supreme.”

The NEC of the APC had on February 27 approved the extension of the tenure of all its elected and appointed party officials by one year, taking effect from June 30.

But rising from a Consultative Forum held at the State House Marina, Lagos and attended by party elders from across the state on Tuesday, the leaders said the extension of the tenure of Odigie-Oyegun and his executives was against the spirit of Nigeria and the APC’s constitutions.

When Saturday PUNCH contacted Oyo State chapter of the party for comments, its Public Relations Officer, Olawale Sadare, described the issue as “delicate”, adding that it “is best addressed by the appropriate officers and leaders of the party and that the Oyo State chapter of the party will not be making any statement for now.”

The Spokesperson for the party in the Osun State, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, said the chapter would disclose its position after the meeting of its leaders.

Similarly, the Ekiti State’s APC Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, said, “I don’t have the mandate to comment on the issue for now. So, I can’t speak on it.”

Lagos APC chieftain challenges Oyegun’s tenure extension in court

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC in Lagos State, Dr. Wale Ahmed, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos, challenging the decision of the party’s NEC to extend Odigie-Oyegun’s tenure.

The plaintiff, Ahmed, who is a former Commissioner for Special Duties in the state, in his originating summons in a suit numbered: FHC/L/CS/364/18, which was made available to one of our correspondents on Friday, said the decision to extend the tenure ran contrary to section 223 (1a and 2a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He is praying the court to declare as null and void and of no effect the elongation of the tenure of the NEC, contrary to the extant laws.

Joined in the suit are the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Segun Oni; Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu; National Secretary, Mallam Ibrahim Gubi; National Vice Chairman (South-West), Chief Pius Akinyelure; the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

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