The National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, left a sore taste in the mouth of some major stakeholders in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), when President Muhammadu Buhari rejected the decision to extend the tenure of the executive members of the party by one year.
President Buhari had initiallyh agreed to the tenure extention only to have a sudden change of mind weeks later stating that the initial decision was unconstitutional, and a violation of Nigeria’s and APC’s constitutions.
Naija News recalls that majority of APC members had, on February 27, 2018, voted to extend the life of the present national executive committee of the party by one year when its current term elapses in June.
In a reasonable manner, the president told the leaders at the meeting that the party could not afford to jettison its constitution and expect peace to reign.
He called for a strict adherence to party and constitutional provisions in the interest of the party.
He said after seeking legal advice from the Ministry of Justice, he came to the conclusion that their action of February 27, 2018, contravened the constitutions of the party and Nigeria.
He further noted that though he was part of the resolution to extend the tenure, he had, however, realised that their action may ruin the chances of the party in the 2019 general elections.
Meanwhile DAILY INDEPENDENT quoted a source which disclosed that governors loyal to Oyegun, such as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State looked dejected throughout the meeting, following the president’s speech.
“We were all shocked. Nobody believed the president could come up with that position because one, it was not part of the agenda of the meeting and, two, the matter is in court. We never expected he will speak against tenure extension.
“I noticed the shock on the face of Governors Rotimi Akeredolu and Yahaya Bello and others loyal to the national chairman.
“They couldn’t challenge the president but, from the look of things, they won’t be comfortable if an election is to be held, because their favoured state chairmen may not return and they may not be in the good books of the new national chairman.
“Definitely, this is going to be a game changer,” he said.
Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, said the president’s rejection notwithstanding, the party’s position on the tenure extension still stands.
Abdullahi, who also briefed journalists on the outcome of the meeting, said the members had agreed that a small technical committee be set up to look into the matter and advise the party on the way forward.
According to him, “Members of NEC thanked the president for his graciousness for saying look, this is not okay; we had a situation because we recall that after the last NEC and this decision was taken, some members felt aggrieved and went to court.
“You know that any issue that goes to court is sub judice. Then that also presented its own complications, so the NEC decided to set up a small team that will advise the party on the way forward.
“At the moment, there is no decision taken, so the position of NEC still stands from the last meeting. There is a technical committee at the moment that is looking at it. That position may change tomorrow but as it is today that is the position of NEC.
“The president’s position has not changed the position of NEC. NEC has not reversed itself on the tenure extension.
“The decision of the NEC on the one-year tenure extension still stands.
“The president is not NEC. The NEC will have to reverse itself, but right now, it has not done that. So, the tenure extension still stands,” Abdullahi said.
Concerning the report of the True Federalism Committee of the party, the spokesman explained that the NEC agreed that a technical committee between the National Assembly, the executive, and the party be set up to look at the proposals point by point as quickly as possible, to enable the president to transmit to the National Assembly for action.
On constitution amendments, he noted that observations that were made would be incorporated into the draft constitution, adding that there was no motion taken to adopt the amended constitution.
“We believe that those amendments and proposals should first of all be updated in the amended constitution before a motion is taken for its adoption,” Abdullahi stated.