The Thursday dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may no longer be challenged in court by aggrieved members after all.
The former NWC members have jettisoned their initial threat to go to court and have now resolved to work for the rebuilding of the party,the immediate past National Secretary of the party, Mallam Waziri Bulama, said yesterday.
He attributed the crisis to the ambitions of some leaders .
He also said the failure of all organs of the party to function effectively affected the party.
But he was optimistic that the APC would not break up despite the crisis at hand.
Also on Friday, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, declared that alleged threats by some members of the dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to challenge the dissolution in court were created by the media.
The chairman of the Caretaker/Convention committee of the party, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, is understood to have commenced efforts to reach out to stakeholders of the party to bury their hatchets and rally round his committee to rebuild the party.
Reviewing the events of the last few days including the NWC dissolution and reactions of some party members, Bulama said the sacked NWC has already accepted the Thursday decisions of the National Executive Committee, would not go to court and would defer to Buhari.
Bulama spoke to some media in Abuja.
He said: “Following consultations with our leaders all the stakeholders, we have accepted the decision of the President on the dissolution of NWC and the setting up of a Caretaker Committee headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni.
“We are respecting the President. We are not antagonistic. All the views we expressed were in the light of the constitution of the party.”
Asked of plans to go to court, he said: “Consulting our leaders and stakeholders does not mean going to court. We have no such plans.
“We are putting aside all constitutional and legal processes in the overall interest of the party. We have respect for authority, we appeal to all the stakeholders not to escalate the crisis in the party. We will cooperate with Buni’s committee which will organize a convention in the next six months.”
Tracing the origin of the crisis, Bulama said all the organs of the APC collapsed giving rise to problems of all sorts.
“This is what is propelling some segments of the party in struggling to take control of the party because some elements within the Nigerian political elite see the political party as only within the limited scope of a function of a party as a special purpose vehicle for elections; thinking that if they seize control of the party and without Buhari, they can steer the party in one direction or the other,” he said.
“And this, actually and truly, is one of the philosophical and political issues and tensions we are facing in the party. There is no doubt about that. But certainly, the party can withstand this.
“The court cases were triggered by some of these interests some of which are political, some personal. For instance, political ambition, someone thinks that if he takes over the party, he can use it for this purpose or that. He or she wants to secure election in the local government, state, or the national level and use it to his own advantage. This can trigger agitation within the party.
“And this can make people to mobilize, lead to demonstration. They may even go to court or release information to the media direct. All these are interests; some of which are political, economic and even personal are the things that derive agitation and conflict within the party. But the party’s constitution has already provided for conflict resolution.”
He said APC would not break up contrary to the expectations in some quarters.
His words: “There are various people and groups in the party with different needs and aspirations. There are some who want power; there are people who only want empowerment; there are those who want influence, employment; some want respect and acknowledgement. The interests in a party are very diverse and varied
“And when I say these pressures, interests and demands within the 16 million registered members cause no threat to the survival of the party, I am talking with authority.
“I have not seen threats of breakup of this party. But I have seen pressures, tensions to occupy one post or the other especially calls for why is there no NEC, why is there no this and that? I am saying that all the 14 organs had been in comatose.”
He said the party organs had not been functioning well culminating in the stress it was facing.
He said: “The party has 14 organs from the polling unit committee to the national convention. But, you see, in the last two years all these organs have not been activated.
“People talk about NEC.What about the Zonal Executive Committee (ZEC), or the State Executive committee (SEC), Local Government Executive committee (LEC) or the Ward Executive Committee which is WEC? All of them have not been meeting, they have not been discussing party issues, they have not been discussing community and national issues; they have not been sending reports to the leadership for evaluation, to influence policies or to assure members and so on.
“For instance, the constitution says that the NEC of the party should meet every three months; they have not been meeting. What is responsible for that? The reason is neither Buhari nor Oshiomhole nor anybody. The circumstances in which we found ourselves led to that.
Bulama spoke of efforts made by President Buhari and other APC leaders to persuade Governor Godwin Obaseki to resolve Edo crisis.
He said it was unfortunate that the interventions did not work.
“As a party, we did everything humanly possible to appeal to the feuding sides in Edo State. Obaseki was on one hand and other stakeholders on the other.
Those stakeholders included the 14 members of the House of Assembly that he decided to lock out because he inaugurated the state House of Assembly with only nine members. For the past one year, he has been running the state House of Assembly with the Speaker nominated by only nine members.
“There was nothing that was not done by all stakeholders of our party from our top leadership to other stakeholders like the governors, APC Governors’ Forum and the National Assembly to bring these stakeholders together: the governor and 14 House of Assembly members, the governor and five National Assembly members, the governor and House of Representatives members led by Hon. Julius Ihonvbare, the governor and the senator from Edo North, the governor and other stakeholders of the party.
“Severally, President Muhammadu Buhari talked to Obaseki and he appealed to all the stakeholders. The APC Governors Forum sent a delegation led by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje. The party set up a committee led by the Senate President, Obaseki said he did not want by claiming that the Senate was biased .They sent another team.
“Look, all these options and others were explored but unfortunately all these did not work and it led to a point, regrettably, where Obaseki left the party.”
Support Caretaker Committee- Issa-Onilu
Lending credence to Bulama’s statement that there would be no litigation over the dissolution of the NWC,one of its members and the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu yesterday drummed support for the Buni led Caretaker committee of the party.
Issa-Onilu said yesterday that having reflected on the events of the past few days and the outcome of Thursday’s NEC meeting “as a party man, I declare my support for the actions taken by Mr. President”.
He observed that the party was ominously hanging on a cliff and as expected, “something had to give way because the APC could not have continued along that obvious path of destruction”.
The Kwara born politician who said he was speaking for himself and not the dissolved NWC, called on every member of the party to rally round the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee led by Governor Mai Mala Buni, as they embark on the process of rebuilding our party to the height we all desire.
“Ours must be a party that is strong and truly progressive; one that can provide our government the support it requires to deliver more dividends of democracy.
We all have the obligation to subordinate our individual interests to the collective interests of our government and country.
“The task of preserving President Muhammadu Buhari’s unprecedented legacies is not negotiable,” he said.
Buni launches initiative to pacify aggrieved NWC members, others
The chairman of the APC Caretaker/Convention committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, is said to have commenced efforts to reach out to stakeholders of the party as part of the measures to reconcile all the warring factions.
The Nation learnt that some members of the dissolved leadership of the party, after considering the circumstances leading to the dissolution, resolved to take legal actions. But it was also gathered that the decision to go to court and challenge the resolutions of the NEC meeting is yet to be agreed upon by all the aggrieved NWC members.
Sources close to the governor said on Friday that he had already started discussing with major actors in the crisis to avoid making statements that can aggravate the current situation.
Said the source:”the caretaker chairman is aware of talks about some members likely to go to court. He is bothered like any other serious leader would be. But he is not relenting on his efforts to keep the party united.
“I can tell you for free that between Thursday and now, he has reached out to, and spoken to all the major actors in the crisis. Call any NWC member and ask if the caretaker chairman hasn’t made effort towards reconciliation.
“He is aware of the assignment ahead of him.
“Like he told a group of party leaders who visited him today, the first thing he wants to do is work towards ensuring that his committee is accepted by all the parties in the crisis. After that, he wants to build confidence among party members and chieftains. He is determined to ensure that nobody goes to court again and he is working hard toward that.”
The Nation also gathered that Buni may have decided to involve party leaders like President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osibajo, National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Chairman John Odigie Oyegun, Senator Sanni Yerima and others in his peace efforts.
“One major plan he has is to ensure that President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osibajo, National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Chairman John Odigie Oyegun, Senator Sani Yerima and others are never kept in the dark about happenings in the party again.
“To this end, he intends to keep then involved in his peace efforts for the party all through his tenure. He has planned already, a number of meetings with these party leaders as part of the effort to reposition the APC.”
Legal threats, mere media creation — Bagudu
Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, at a separate forum on Friday, gave his own views on the APC crisis.
He told State House correspondents in Abuja that alleged threat by some members of the dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC was a creation of the media.
Emerging from a meeting with President Buhari,Bagudu said the president did no wrong by dissolving the NWC of the party.
“Media says a lot of things, but Mr. President is very clear that he received due legal advice and remember, before the 2019 primaries, Mr. President demonstrated to everyone in this country that he will never sacrifice due process for expediency,” he said.
Continuing, he said: ”Even when it was convenient to extend the tenure of the then executive so that we won’t have a convention and primary at the same time, Mr President said no, no matter how tough it is, we are going to do the correct, legal thing. So Mr. President will never do anything which the constitutional provisions of party, much more of the country, do not allow him to do.”
On the dissolution of the party’s NWC and the setting up of a caretaker committee, he said it was one less distraction to governance for President Buhari.
He said: ”He is happy that at last we have one less distraction because Mr. President is conscious of the mandate given to him by Nigerians and even though he bothers a lot about his party, what dominates his daily action are the economy, security, transparency and the progress of Nigeria. So he’s very happy.”
Bagudu who was accompanied on the visit by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, the newly inaugurated Chairman of the APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee and governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni;Governor i Sani Bello of Niger State ; and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State said they were at the State House to thank Buhari for the way he resolved the crisis rocking the party.
The governor said “we thanked Mr. President for all he has been doing for the Progressive family, which culminated in the visionary and momentous resolution of party disputes that took place yesterday (Thursday). Testimonials, news, commentaries, media from across the country are all happy for what has done.
“Equally, to appreciate all the gains that have been made under his capable, brilliant and visionary leadership. Our country is more food secured, the economy, though challenged by the Coronavirus pandemic and recovering from the 2016 recession, is doing better than most countries in similar situation.
“Accountability has increased tremendously, we are hearing of security gains on daily basis in all parts of the country and those are what Mr President campaigned upon and Nigeria has one of the most robust responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, all because of his thoughtful imaginative and patriotic leadership.
“At the same time, it’s to introduce, yet again, the Chairman of our Caretaker and Extraordinary National Convention planning Committee, who is a very seasoned administrator and politician, the governor of Yobe State, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, and to thank him on behalf of the Progressive Governors’ Forum for deeming it so fit to include three governors in the committee: the Chairman, governor of Niger State and the governor of Osun State; Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola.”
Governor Bagudu, was in the company of four other governors, including the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi; the newly inaugurated Chairman of the APC Caretaker and Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee and governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni; the governor of Niger State, Alhaji Sani Bello; and the Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
Governor Bagudu said they were at the State House to thank President Buhari for the way he resolved the crisis rocking the party, describing it as visionary. The National Executive Council (NEC) of the party, headed by President Buhari, called for the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party