Dust over shift of APC NEC meeting

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The much-awaited All Progressives Congress (APC) National Caucus and National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting scheduled for this week in Abuja has suffered yet another postponement after one year of deliberate protracted delay.

APC leadership in a very short message signed by the National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore, announcing the one-week postponement, hinged it on the involvement of President Bola Tinubu on the activities of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS).

“Members of the National Caucus and NEC of APC are hereby informed that our meetings of 10th and 11th of July, 2023, have been postponed to the 18th and 19th of July, 2023, respectively.

“The postponement is necessitated by the regional and sub-regional schedules and engagements of President Tinubu, as the new Chairman of ECOWAS. Inconveniences regretted,” the statement read.

Regardless of the reasons adduced for the postponement of the meeting, it may have, from all intent and purpose, heightened the apprehension in many quarters of what becomes the final outcome of the meeting especially on the future of certain members of the National Working Committee (NWC) hitherto facing a precarious situation.

The nervous situation is understandable. APC NEC meeting, in accordance with the party’s constitution, which statutorily ought to be held every quarterly, was illegally delayed for more than one year since the current leadership came into existence, in clear violation of the party’s statute.

Article 25(B)(I and ii) of the constitution, stipulates that; (i) NEC shall meet every quarter and or at any time decided by the National Chairman or at the request made in writing by at least two-third of the members of the NEC provided that not less than fourteen (14) days notice is given for the meeting to be summoned.

(ii) Without prejudice to Article 25(B)(i) of this Constitution, the NWC may summon an emergency NEC meeting at any time, provided that at least seven (7) days notice of the meeting shall be given to all those entitled to attend.

Granted that APC NEC ceded its powers to the NWC for 90 days during the first and only meeting in the life of this leadership, held last year, no further conscious effort was made by the Abdullahi Adamu-led leadership to organise subsequent meetings ever since the expiration of the 90 days.

Expectedly, the situation has fuelled antagonism and an unending leadership crises among members of the NWC with some of them secretly complaining while others openly declared war over the deliberate delay.

Even though the relevant section of the constitution clearly indicated that NEC meeting shall be held quarterly, the caveat which empowered the National Chairman to convene the meeting at his discretion and disposal, did not only embolden Adamu but has also become subject of controversy and disputation among NWC members since the ruling party won the presidential election.

The internal wrangling that culminated in finally scheduling the postponed NEC meeting was very fierce and even threatened the very foundation of the ruling party. It was not only intriguing but was a battle-royale that disrupted and complicated many activities within the party.

The delay in holding the NEC meeting for one year apparently became the root cause of almost all the rifts in the party. The protracted leadership crisis within the NWC and the lack of financial accountability were all attributable to the deliberate delay in organising NEC meeting as a counter-force to checkmate the excesses of the National Chairman.

Remarkably, the mutual suspicion and attacks had assumed a climax shortly after the declaration of Tinubu as President-elect, when APC National Vice Chairman (North West), Salihu Moh Lukman demanded Adamu’s resignation as a way of balancing the Muslim-Muslim religious inequity adopted by the APC-led administration in the country.

Salihu, in specifically requesting Adamu’s sacrifice, noted: “it will be important that every necessary step is taken to inject a change of leadership for the party so that a new National Chairman who is a Christian takes over. The National Chairman could be retained in North-Central.

That suggestion from Lukman clearly set the tone for the precarious situation Adamu subsequently found himself in the party. And ever since then, he has engaged Adamu in an unrelenting battle to pressurise him into convening NEC meeting to scrutinise certain questionable decisions taken by the leadership and to deliberate on many anomalies threatening the ruling party.

Lukman had subsequently, in the long-drawn battle, chronicled what could be termed as Adamu’s multiple sins, which ranged from draconian administrative styles to reckless financial management of the party.

“The sad reality is that the APC as constituted today is only a shadow of itself with a National Chairman that is highly unaccountable and running affairs of the party more as a garrison commander. He relates with his colleagues in the NWC just like his appointees,” he quipped.

And frowning at Adamu’s financial dealings, Lukman claimed that, “APC, sadly, is in contempt of its own rules led by a determined and decidedly conservative, reactionary, and undemocratic leadership.”

“Beyond all these is also a clear case of reckless financial management of the party. With more than N30 billion realised during the sales of forms for the 2023 elections, the National Chairman and General Secretary have embarked on a spending extravaganza based on their discretionary decisions without any form of the budget as required by the APC constitution,” he accused, hanging the future of the National Chairman precariously in the balance.

Despite the sporadic attacks from Lukman and other silent members of the NWC, the former governor of Nasarawa State tactically refused to engage in any open crossfire with them but rather indirectly opted to use the party’s machinery to deal with the hostilities against him.

In his battle for survival, he had first directed the party’s National Legal Adviser to threaten Lukman with expulsion. But, ignoring the threat, including indicating readiness to meet them in court, Lukman, former Director General APC Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) had continued his onslaught, daring his detractors to do their worst.

And in an attempt to avert his impending impeachment, Adamu had hurriedly audited the party’s account suspiciously without any input and knowledge of members of the NWC.

Unfortunately, he however met a brick wall when he attempted to present it before the NWC members and during the meeting with the members of the APC PGF held last week.

Left with a very limited option ahead of the meeting, Adamu perfectly understood that his future in the party, in the face of hostilities against him, will form part of the integral item of the agenda of the meeting.

Incidentally, apart from the allegations of financial recklessness and running the party like garrison commander, he also understood that the glaring cold war between President Bola Tinubu, the presidency, and himself also complicated the situation he currently faces to retain his position.

As a man sitting on a keg of gunpowder, Adamu is also curiously aware that the attack from his NWC members is certainly not his only headache. His conscious step on the toes of President Tinubu repeatedly may also form part of his greatest undoing during NEC meeting.

In retrospect, Adamu has on several instances constituted himself as a stumbling block to Tinubu’s aspiration of emerging President. From his threat to sanction him over his outburst against then president Muhammadu Buhari in Abeokuta to his action on the eve of the APC presidential primary and his hostility against the anointed leadership of the 10th National Assembly and resentment against the recent announcement of the remaining principal officers, Adamu has constantly displayed attitudes of antagonism against President Tinubu.

So, the question is, should Adamu escape the landmines perfectly laid for him by his NWC members, especially his alleged financial recklessness and high-handedness, will he overcome the resolution of President Tinubu’s political allies poised to shove him aside as payback time?

But, with his decades of political battle experiences, Adamu, certainly, a cat with nine lives and a political game master will strategically put every machinery in motion to detonate every obstacle planted against him to remain afloat.

He has already started plotting all the mathematical graphs and loopholes to navigate out of daunting impediments by aligning with potent political forces in the party like the PGF members and ultimately state chairmen.

Dangling a carrot at the governors during the meeting with the NWC last week, Adamu had assured them of playing prominent roles in the composition of the party’s Caucus.

“We will formally inform you that we are going to have a Caucus, and for quite some time, there has been no Caucus in place. The Caucus has been reconstituted according to the Constitution of APC. As governors, you know your states more than we know it. Even if we come from the same state, the leadership is in your hands as governors.

“We will hear your advice and then see how we can ensure that we comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the party. We hope that we will be receiving some reports from the PGF, NGF Chairman, or his representative, to get to know about your feelings and what is going on.

“What is your thinking on what to do to improve the chances of the party and therefore reduce the problems and bickering that we have been hearing from time to time? Along with the Caucus, you will get a prepared list to make sure that every state is represented,” Adamu rolled out palliatives to woo the governors.

He did not stop there but quickly used the opportunity of the postponed meeting to dangle the carrot of accommodating the party’s stakeholders in the federal political, diplomatic, and MDGs appointments at the state chairmen when they met this week.

“After that is done, the Ministers assume office and make a comprehensive report starting from all the ministries. And MDAs under them. Before, we are going to know what vacancies exist for Chief executives, directors, and part-time directors. These are some of the exercises that will take place in the next two months. It cannot happen by next week but certainly, that is what we should be expecting.

“It is our hope and prayers that Mr. President will come along with us in that regard and strengthen the relationship of the party in the states and at the National level will enjoy some level of patronage in the new government. Those are the key issues that we do hope to share with you in the course of this meeting,” he said.

Apparently, in his desperation not to leave anything to chance, Adamu has also visited the State House to meet with President Tinubu, in what many political watchers interpreted as face-saving measures to soften the ground for a safe landing during NEC meeting.

However, in the perception of Osita Okechukwu, a foundation member of the party, Adamu should prepare his handover note as he does not deserve a second chance after failing in almost all the responsibilities assigned to him.

While reacting to the possibilities of the National Chairman surviving the conspiracies against him, Okechukwu bluntly told Daily Sun in a chat that; “without being immodest Abdulahi Adamu’s NEC and State Executive nationwide need immediate rejig. A total overhaul is the answer to create a mobile and dynamic political party that will contain unforeseen dynamic challenges.

“We had hoped that Abdulahi Adamu was in a better position to reconcile the internecine state factions; which nearly, if not for the mangled presidential primary election of our sister political party the PDP, would have stopped us from victory.

“He became chairman and threw away the baby and bath water, hence dropping the fine ingredients he gathered for reconciliation as the chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee. For me, it was a grave mistake he made among other unforced errors.

“As a social scientist, I am more concerned about durable solutions than ad-hoc solutions. If we don’t diligently conduct in-house cleaning and couple back the various factions weakening our great party, we may pay dearly for our negligence in 2027,” he warned.

The Director General Voice of Nigeria (VON) noted: “Methinks the best way out is for President Tinubu to consider, as a matter of urgent national importance, first setting up an ad-hoc committee with the objective to overhaul our great party, the APC. This will be a prelude to the NEC meeting and possibly a mini-National Convention, so as to reposition the party for greater challenges ahead.

“Luckily, Mr. President has positively set forth at dawn; we need to reposition the party with leadership in alignment with his broader vision to transform our dear country.

“Once more, my appeal is that President Tinubu and his team should give serious consideration to the high degree of reconciliation and re-composition of NEC and State Executive Committees,” he suggested.

Curiously, his suggestion may contradict the thinking of a member of NWC and one of Adamu’s harshest critics; who argued that the coast is clear for the former Nasarawa state first citizen, dismissing insinuations of any impending doom against him.

While insisting that no action untoward will befall Adamu during the NEC meeting, he told Daily Sun in confidence; “yes, I know that the future of our National Chairman may be hanging in the balance, but I can also confirm to you that nothing will happen to him during NEC meeting. I want to however note that what becomes of his future after the meeting is not what anybody can guarantee.

“But why is Adamu’s future taking the shine off other important items on the agenda of the meeting? The meeting will review the 2023 general election, especially the presidential poll, to know areas of improvement.

“Appraising the feat we successfully recorded in ensuring that the leadership of the 10th National Assembly we deserved finally emerged will also form another prominent item on the agenda for the meeting. And don’t also forget that we have three off-season elections to conduct in November this year.

“We apparently have loaded items in the agenda yet the apprehension over the future of our National Chairman has clearly dominated discourse ahead of the NEC meeting. I don’t think people are fair to our party,” the NWC member wondered in a chat with Daily Sun.

The post Dust over shift of APC NEC meeting appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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