APC AND THE NEED FOR A CONVENTION BEFORE THINGS GET OUT OF HAND

Recently, the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said every day the party was being reported to be in one crisis or the other yet the party is winning its elections. He inferred that if what it means to be in crisis is to winning elections, then APC is in a good stead.

This postulation might sound logical to some persons, not many party members would toll his line of arguments. Like the saying, the crisis in APC is like little flosses that spoil the vine.

Some party chieftains, stalwarts and members believe that the tide of wave in APC needs to be addressed for the party not to go into oblivion within a short time. For them lessons must be learnt from the mistakes of others.

They are feeling seriously that the arrogance and overbearing of some party members must be addressed to give the party a sound footing; otherwise the aim of forming APC would be defeated.

According to them, the aim of forming APC was to institute a change in governance and political culture in the Nigeria political space. This, they say is being eroded by attitudes of some members who are in the leadership of party and governance.

To this effect some are canvassing for a Mini Convention at which some of the issues bedeviling the party would be discussed and addressed.

Since after the general elections or better still after the conduct of the APC primaries, it has been one allegation too many of wrongdoing against some party leaders.

If it were not allegations of corruption, it would be of closing the political space by not allowing for internal democracy. And one of the things that are injurious to political party is closing the political space against members. If members cannot be allowed to participate appropriately in the affairs of party activities, either by standing for primaries or standing for election in the party, it becomes a problem and unacceptable to them.

This phenomenal was seeing in the APC primaries for the last general elections and subsequent ones perpetrated by party leaders and those in government which led to the party been denied participation in the elections of Zamfara and Rivers States. This situation is causing crisis in these states and other states.

The First Lady, Aisha Buhari was the first to cry out on this lack of internal democracy in APC after the Adamawa State governorship primaries. Suffice to say that this was somehow responsible for the loss of APC in the governorship election in that state.

Many of such allegations could be found in many other states’ primaries. The level of financial transactions during the APC primaries before the general elections was unprecedented as observed by the APC former National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

The electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof. Yakubu also observed wrongdoing in the conducts of party primaries, especially that of APC when the he talked about the numbers of election litigations in various courts.

In some states, the party literally allotted the tickets to some persons in violation of the constitution of the party to please some persons or as a result of financial reward. Lagos State was an example of such state.

These anomalies are what have caused the unmitigated crisis in the party to the extent that members have created divisions and factions and unwilling to withdraw their cases against the party or members from courts.

Such factions in the party have taken sides with some leaders for one reason or the other on the detriment of the unity and cohesion of the party.

The belief therefore is that a Convention that would address the anomaly should be convoked for members to air the feelings and opinions.

Article 25 (A)(i) of the APC constitution talks about a National Convention According to that provision of the constitution, the National Convention of the Party shall be held once in Two (2) years at a date, venue and time to be recommended by the National Working Committee and approved by the National Executive Committee subject to the giving of the statutory notices to the Independent National Electoral  Commission and at least fourteen (14) days notice given to members  eligible to attend.

That Article also in (A)(ii) says, Without prejudice to Article 25 (A)(i) of this Constitution, the National Executive Committee may summon an emergency National Convention at any time provided at least seven (7) days notice of the meeting shall be given to all members eligible to attend.

The last Convention of APC was held in December 2018, where the party ratified the candidature of President Muhammadu Buhari, who emerged through Direct Primaries.

By that Convention and the provisions of the constitution, APC can only hold a mini Convention, which is being canvassed for by some members.

A party member had said it was among the consideration of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) meeting that was held last week. In that meeting, about 16 out of the 22 APC governors were in attendant.

Also, Article 13 of the APC constitution stipulates the functions of the Convention as follows: Ratify policies and programmes of the party;

Elect or remove National Officers of the Party; Elect the Presidential Candidate of the Party; Receive reports from the National Executive Committee and from any other Committee and or organ of the Party; and take appropriate decisions on the reports and or recommendations; Amend the Constitution of the Party from time to time as the need may arise; Delegate any of its powers to the Board of Trustees, National Executive Committee or to any other organ of the Party; Take any action as may be conducive to the promotion of the aims and objectives of the Party as laid down in this Constitution; etc.

In the denial of this Convention, some party members are of the opinion that the APC National Working Committee (NWC) led by Adams Oshiomhole has arrogated some of the functions of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Convention of the party to itself. This they say are some of the upheavals found in the party.

Arguing further on this, they believe that every other organ of the party is not functioning except the 21-member NWC, which has been highly depleted.

As at today, according to the proponents of Mini Convention the people running APC as party are not more than 16.

By the APC Constitution, the National Executive Committee should meet every quarter and or at any time decided by the National Chairman or at the request made in writing by at least two-third of the members of the National Executive  Committee provided that not less than fourteen (14) days notice is  given for the meeting to be summoned. This provision of the Constitution has not been adhered to by the leadership of the party and it has affected party unity.

It took almost 9 months for the last NEC meeting of the party to be held from the previous.

Among the functions of NEC is to ratify the some of the decisions of the NWC but you find the NWC ratifying all their decisions, a party member said.