The decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to reject the tenure elongation for National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and executive members at all levels is the best, and it will strengthen the party, the new state chairman of the party in Abia state, Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe has said.
Ndukwe stated this in Abuja on Tuesday while briefing some selected journalists at the end of National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party.
NEC had earlier given one-year tenure extension to Oyegun-led NWC and all executive members at all levels during its meeting that held in February 27.
But Buhari on Tuesday made U-turn by rejecting the NEC’s February meeting decision, saying he had sought legal advice from the minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami on the implications it has constitutionally.
Ndukwe, who was attending the NEC meeting for the first time after he took over as the party chairman in Abia state, described president Buhari as a law-abiding citizen who believes in working in accordance with the party’s constitution.
“I am Buharist, the president is law-abiding citizen and as a law-abiding citizen, we work with party’s constitution and it is the party’s constitution. There is never a place where it was mentioned that a tenure can be extended.
“So, I gladly accept and very very happy that we are going to conduct our congresses, especially in Abia State where I have taken over.”
It would be recalled that an Abia State High court sitting at Okpuala Ngwa, had earlier sacked the party’s state executive council led by Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, which later paved way for Ndukwe as the new state chairman.
Speaking further, the party chieftain stressed that he disliked the way some moneybags have been going around to buy over the party, promising that he will make sure all party members in the state are carried along by mobilising from the grassroots.
“I use this opportunity to call on all the people that have been sidelined previously from participating in party activities to mobilise and come in and participate in the congress and they can install whoever they want.
“All what we want is openness. The era of moneybags coming in, using their money to influence important issues is over. Let them come in and mobilise people in the grassroots. There is no need running away, let them come in build the party,” he said.
He continued, “The doors are open quite unlike what has been happening in the past. All the people that they are feeling they have been excluded from participating in party activities; this is an opportunity to come, prove their popularity and mobilise to work for APC because APC must take over Abia state in the general election in 2019.”
Meanwhile, addressing journalists at the end of the NEC meeting, the party’s spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, said the NEC has set up a small technical committee to advise the party on the matter.
He said the committee is expected to submit its recommendations on or before tomorrow.
Pending that time, however, he said the last decision to extend the tenure remains.
“Members of NEC thanked the president for his graciousness. Of course we had a situation because we recall that after the last NEC and this decision was taken some members felt aggrieved and they went to court.
“Of course you know that any issue that goes to court is sub-judicial. 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.”
On federalism, Abdullahi said a committee between the executive, national assembly and the party will be set up to look at the report of an earlier committee set up by the party.
The earlier committee, headed by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, had recommended, among others, the establishment of state police.
Abdullahi noted that the new committee to be established would review the report as quickly as possible and make recommendations that could enable the president send fresh bills on the matter to the legislature.
“Second issue is the issue on true federalism. The various opinions were canvassed and then both yesterday at the national caucus meeting and here, again it was agreed that a technical committee between the national assembly, the executive and the party should 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.”
Another issue discussed at the meeting was amendment of the APC constitution. Abdullahi said no motion had been adopted as several observations made must be incorporated into the draft constitution first.
The party had set up a 10-member Constitution Review Committee chaired by the APC National Legal Adviser, Muiz Banire, to look into the party constitution and recommend amendments where necessary.
The committee submitted its report to the party’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, with 85 proposals for amendment sometime last year.
“Having made the observation that those observations that were made should be incorporated into the draft constitution; therefore 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.”