President opposes APC NWC tenure extension, says it’s unconstitutional
The President stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the party´s NEC meeting, noting that the decision was already causing acrimony within the party.
He said that the development was especially so as some party members who were not comfortable with the decision had already taken the party to court.
According to the president, if the tenure of the party´s executive can be legally faulted, it means that any nomination and primary elections conducted can also be faulted.
He said that with the decision, some party members were already feeling that they had been deprived the right to aspire to executive positions.
“Some other party members are now of the opinion that internal democracy is not at play within the party,’’ he added.
The party’s NEC, at its meeting of Feb. 26, extended the tenure of the John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC and other executive committees of the party across all levels in the country by one year, starting from June.
While the party’s National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun, said the decision was in good faith, some members, who were not comfortable with it, have taken the party to court over the issue.
“I think it is important for me to speak quickly on the contentious issue of the tenure of our national and state executive officers.
´´I have taken time to view and seek advice on the resolution and what I find is that it contravenes the party´s Constitution and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,’’ Buhari said.
According to him, article 17, sub-section 1of the APC Constitution limits the tenure of elected officers to four years which is renewable once by another election.
The president that section 223 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, also prescribed periodic election for party executives at regular intervals which must not exceed four years.
He explained that article 31 of the party’s Constitution provided that any principal officer wishing to re-contest or contest for another post, must resign from his current post, at least one month before the election.
“In this circumstance, what is expected of us is to conduct fresh elections once the tenure of the current executives approaches its end.
“A care taker committee cannot remedy the situation and cannot validly act in place of elected officers.
“Furthermore, I think if we deviate from our Constitution, we might be endangering the fortunes of our party.
“I am therefore of the firm belief that it is better to follow strictly the dictates of our party and national Constitution rather than put the APC at a grave risk.
“Fortunately, we have already approved a time-table for congresses and elections. I think this should be allowed to go,’’ Buhari said.
He advised that all efforts should be geared toward making the congress a success, adding, however, that his thought did not preclude the party members from further discussing the matter.
The president, therefore, tasked members at the meeting to feel free to discuss the issue with facts to reflect on.
“All well and good, I don’t feel too strongly about it; the only thing I feel too strongly about is that we should not allow our party to be vulnerable to and susceptible to the opposition.
“They can delay or divide us further within the party when they quote appropriate portion of the party´s Constitution and of the country.
“I took time to listen to my legal advisers, constitutionally given to me in terms of Ministry of Justice. Our decision is contrary to both party and constitutional provisions,´ he advised.
Speaking with newsmen after the meeting, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Malam Bolaji Abudullahi, said that the status quo remained.
He added that the party would set up a technical committee to review the earlier decision of its NEC to extend the tenure of its executives.
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