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It is terribly unfortunate. It is not helping the crisis in the party. We need to address the issues, because you don’t have to keep postponing the evil day. We need to meet and discuss the issues to move the party forward.
• It Has Nothing To Do With Crisis, Says Abdulahi
There are concerns that the sudden postponement of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) might have widened the cracks in the party.
Most party stalwarts expressed ignorance of the development, saying the postponement came to them as a surprise. The NEC meeting was initially slated for tomorrow in Abuja.
Sources close to a Southwest governor, confided in The Guardian that he was taken aback by the postponement, particularly after listing the meeting on his schedule for next week.
Also, Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Pally Iriase, told The Guardian on Friday: “I received the invitation for the NEC meeting, but I haven’t received the notice for the postponement. I can’t talk about what I don’t know something about. If I know I will find out why they did that.”
Lamenting the postponement of the NEC meeting, which would have approved the convention of the party, a member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) from Enugu state, Major Gen Josef O. Okoloagu (rtd) said it is “terribly unfortunate” the shift in the meetings of the National Caucus and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
He said the development would create room for crisis in the party to continue, stressing that there was need for the leadership to meet and review its performance in the last two years before the national convention that should prepare the party for the 2019 general elections.
He said: “It is terribly unfortunate. It is not helping the crisis in the party. We need to address the issues, because you don’t have to keep postponing the evil day. We need to meet and discuss the issues to move the party forward. This is almost two years that we came to power and we must take stock of what has happened and look towards the future for our dear party. You don’t keep everything down when basically there is no need for it.”
On the allegation that the shift may not be unconnected with plots to remove the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Okoloagu said such plan was not on the agenda.
“You don’t talk of impeachment when there is no quorum. The issue of impeachment is not on board. There is no motion to that effect and if there is, it has to be seconded before it could be carried out. We need to meet for people to air their views on how the party should continue to run. Let us not go with the wrong impression that there is going to be impeachment, but all I am saying is that we have crisis at hand and postponing meetings is like postponing the evil day”, he stated.
A member of the NEC and National Vice Chairman of the party in the southeast, Chief Emma Eneukwu said that he has no knowledge about the postponement of the meetings. However, Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Timi Frank, who is a campaigner for Oyegun’s ouster, described the postponement of the NEC meeting as unconstitutional, adding that Oyegun’s exit was all that is required to reposition the party ahead of the 2019 poll.
Frank insists that contrary to claim that the proposed convention would be non-elective, the convention of the party ought to be an elective one since there would be six vacant positions to be filled when convened eventually.
But the factional Chairman of the party in Kaduna State, Dr. Tom Maiyashi, welcomed the postponement of the NEC and National Convention, saying it would enable the party to resolve the various crises bedeviling it and put its house in order.
A member of the BoT, Chief Emeka Akamukalam, said there was nothing awkward with the sudden postponement. He said: “They called a meeting and they have the right to postpone or not to postpone it. But I was notified of the NEC Meeting.”
The party has however denied the notion that the sudden shift of the NEC meeting was due to crisis. Spokesperson of the party, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi told The Guardian that part of the reason for the shift had to do with the fact that key members of the party NEC, like the Senate President Bukola Saraki and no fewer than ten APC governors were actually not on ground because they traveled out of the country.
He said: “It is wrong to have the perception of crises on the issue. Anybody looking from the outside can read anything they want to read in this situation. But what I am telling you is that it has nothing to do with any crisis. It is just absolutely about logistics and being able to get everybody on ground.
“If you do your check, how many APC Governors are in town today that are not outside the country. If you want to do a NEC meeting and about ten governors are not in town, what NEC meeting are you doing?
“The Senate president is in town? The National Assembly members are on recess. It has got nothing to do with crisis,” he said. On the notion that national leaders of the party in the mould of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar had became I different to the affairs of the party, he said there was no iota of truth in such claim notwithstanding the fact that they may have misgivings on some issues relating to the affairs of the party.
He also feigned ignorance that the duo had withdrawn their financial support to the party since the aftermath of the 2015 poll. “Can you give me a specific instance to buttress your point? The reason why I said you should give me specific instance why they stay away was because Asiwaju was in Ondo for the swearing in of the Governor and I think that was the last major activity that we had. And I cannot speculate why the former vice president Atiku Abubakar was not there.
“If you call a NEC meeting I believe that all these people must come and if there are any issues, people would put those issues on the table. The national caucus meeting and the NEC meeting provides the opportunity for people to ventilate on whatever grievances that they have.