Oyegun: Confusion in APC, as aggrieved chieftains plot gale of litigation
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) is set for another stage of crisis, as pro-Oyegun forces are set to move against chieftains of the party plotting to challenge the one year tenure extension granted the national chairman of the party, Chief Odigie Oyegun, and his National Working Committee (NWC) by the National Executive Committee (NEC).
The aggrieved camp, which met last week in Abuja, shortly after the decision of NEC, has taken a position to challenge the extension of Oyegun’s tenure and the state executive chapters in court.
According to Sunday Tribune findings, the anti-Oyegun group is insisting that the proclamation of tenure extension without recourse to the highest organ of the party, the national convention, was improper.
By virtue of Article 30 of the APC 2014 Constitution, (as amended) only the national convention is vested with the powers to alter the party Constitution.
The section reads: ‘‘This constitution and the schedules hereto, canbe amended only by the National Convention of the party.”
“Notice of any proposed amendment by any member or organ of the party shall be given to the National Secretary at least 14 days before the date of the National Convention. The Notice shall be in writing, shall contain a clear statement of the proposed amendment and reasons thereof it.”
‘’Notice of proposed amendment(s) shall be served on the members of the National Convention at least fourteen(14) days before the date of the meeting at which the proposed amendment is to be considered.
“Publication of the notice of the proposed amendments in a national newspaper shall de deemed to be sufficient notice; “The Constitution or any part thereof shall stand amended if a proposed amendment is supported by at least two thirds of the delegates present and voting.’’
Checks revealed that plot to challenge the extension had started to take shape, as a member of the party from Imo State, Okere Uzochukwu, on Friday, filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the extension.
Joined in the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/219/2018, are the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Uzochukwu through his lawyer, Nnamdi Okere, his asking the court to compel Chief Oyegun and his team to vacate their respective offices with effect from June 1, 2018, when they would have completed their four years tenure. He also seeking for an order compelling INEC “to reject, cease to recognise and stop dealing with or having official communications with the Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee” and others effective from effective from June 1, 2018, “for having spent the constitutionally allowed tenure of office.”
Uzochukwu’s lawyer also contended that by virtue of Article 13.3 (iii) of the party constitution, ‘’Decision of the NEC shall be binding on all organs and all members of the party, except the national convention.’’
A party source told Sunday Tribune that similar suit to challenge the NEC decision will be filed by another chieftain of the party from Adamawa states this week.
But Chief Oyegun’s sympathizers among the governor’s, emboldened by the Presidency, are not worried and have resolved to reprimand any member of the party who initiated court action against the decision of NEC.
A Presidency source told Sunday Tribune in confidence that “whoever institutes legal proceedings against the party will be reprimanded.” He cited Article 21 A, ( x) of the party constitution to back up his claim.
The section reads: “filing an action in a court of law against the party or any of its officers on any matter relating to the discharge of the duties of the party without first exhausting all avenues for redress provided for in this Constitution.”
Speaking on the Court action initiated by Mr Uzochukwu, national publicity secretary of the party, Bolaji Abdulai told Sunday Tribune that the party was already aware of the development.
While he refrained from commenting on the case, since it was already in court, he declared that the party was determined to rein in recalcitrant members.
He said: “If you take the party to court, we can’t comment on it since it is in court.
“But any member who takes the party to court over its decision will be dealt with accordingly.That is anti -party activity,” he contended
National vice chairman of the party, South South, Hillard Eta, however, differed as he noted that such a member would be exercising his fundamental rights under the law.
Eta further claimed that the party was yet to grant the National Working Committee any extension
“NEC didn’t extend the life span, what it said was that it adopted a motion for the amendment of the constitution. The extension can’t be done without the amendment of the constitution, “ he noted.
Only convention can expel members, Oyegun tells Bello faction
Meanwhile, the NWC of the party has overruled the purported expulsion of the Kogi State chairman of the party, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, by a factional chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahovi.
Alhaji Ahovi, chairman of the faction, which penultimate weekend opened a parallel secretariat in Lokoja with the state governor, Yahaya Bello and the national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, in attendance, had on Friday announced the expulsion of Alhaji Ametuo.
In a statement issued last night and signed by its national publicity secretary, Bolaji Abdulai, the party faulted the action of the factional chairman.
The statement read in part: “The All Progressives Congress (APC) wishes to clarify that neither state nor zonal executives, constituted in whatever name or form can expel anyone from the party. Only convention can do so. We restate that the State Working Committee of APC in Kogi State led by the Chairman, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo remains the only recognised executive committee of the party in the State.