The ruling All Progressive Congress stood the risk of disintegration should the alleged arbitrariness of its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was left unchecked, the Deputy National Chairman (North), of the party, Lawal Shuaibu, warned on Wednesday.
He said with the way the party chairman was running the party, it was obvious that lessons had yet to be learnt from the reversal of its electoral fortunes in Zamfara State.
The Supreme Court voided APC’s victory in all elections held in Zamfara State after the court held that the processes enshrined in the APC’s constitution, were ignored in the conduct of primaries which produced its candidates for the 2019 Governorship, National and State Assembly elections.
Shuaibu issued a fresh warning in a press statement captioned, “APC and its future, let us exercise caution.”
The party chieftain said many did not take his concerns seriously when he asked Oshiomhole to step down and allow the party refocus and rebuild.
He said the APC which was founded on the principles of constitutionalism and the rule of law “is now subject to arbitrary administration, without dictates of the law. The ruling party which ought to be a model for others in the upholding of the rule of law, is now the nest of lawlessness.”
Shuaibu had in a letter on May 28th, 2019 warned Oshiomhole about the dangerous direction the party was heading and advised him to honourably resign to allow the party reposition itself for the task ahead. Shuaibu’s advice earned him a disputed suspension from the party’s National Working Committee.
In his latest letter, the deputy national chairman said, “Interestingly, all the issues I raised in my said letter have come to pass. Till date, the party, founded on the principles of constitutionalism and rule of law, is now subject of arbitrary administration, without regard for the dictates of the law.
“The ruling party which ought to be a model for others in the upholding of the rule of law, is now the nest of lawlessness. The entire legal framework governing the party administration in Nigeria today, the Nigerian constitution, the party constitution, the Electoral Act and INEC regulations and guidelines are more honoured by the party in breaches than obedience.
“To buttress my above assertion, the following few examples will drive the point home. By (Article 9.1(ii) and 9.4 (i) of the APC Constitution as amended, pages 6 and 8) every member will be registered at his ward when his or her name is entered in the register by the Ward Executives.
“My understanding of this provision is that power in the party is exercised bottom up! What this means is that every member of the party is answerable to his constituency. Being a party member therefore is a constitutional issue embedded in the membership register.
“Also, the constitution of the party stipulates a mandatory meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) every three months (Article 25 B (i) of the APC constitution as amended.). This regular meeting is not only targeted at keeping the members abreast of developments, but ensuring collective responsibility of decision taken by the combined effect of the above provision and Article 18 of the APC Constitution as amended).
“NEC is the main decision-making organ after the convention, and shall meet every three months. The power to set up standing or ad-hoc committees of the party is vested in the same NEC.”
He queried Oshiomhole’s decision to personally constitute both the screening committees for the governorship and senatorial elections, as well as the final appeals committee, all in violation of the extant constitutional provisions of the party vesting the power in NEC.
According to him, to make an already bad situation worse, he violated the rule of natural justice, by appointing himself as chairman of both committees.
“It is this refusal to convene NEC to perform its role that has led the party to the comatose state it is now. My fear is, it is being repeated now for Ondo and Edo,” he added.
On the inauguration of Waziri Bulama as the party’s National Secretary, Shuiabu said, “The APC Constitution in Article 20 (a) made it unambiguously clear, that all party posts prescribed or implied by this constitution shall be filled by democratically conducted elections at the respective convention (in the case of NWC or NEC) or congress (in the case of executive committees at state, local government or ward levels) et tal.
“There is nowhere in that same constitution where it was envisaged that an officer of the party could be appointed by the chairman nor the NWC.
“Not even NEC has the power to appoint any national officer of the party in any capacity. Let me ask this simple question, what is difficult in organising a midterm convention to elect the officers in line with the constitution so that even the officers will have confidence that they are elected like all other officers.”