President asks APC to give Oyegun, others chance to recontest
He urged the party to consider granting executives waivers to recontest.
During the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, President Buhari had said the committee's February decision to extend the tenure of the party's National Working Committee and executive members by a year is unconstitutional.
At another meeting of the committee in Abuja on Monday, April 9, the president reinforced his stand that the party should conduct fresh elections according to its constitutional provisions.
While presenting his speech on the report submitted by the APC National Executive Technical Committee on Monday, the president expressed his wish for current executives to be free to recontest for elective positions.
However, upon noting that they will be in violation of the party's Article 31(1)(iii) as they haven't resigned from office 30 days before the election, he urged the party to consider granting them waivers so that they are not disenfranchised.
His statement read, "With the present state of the party and based on the report submitted by the Technical Committee, It is important to focus on how to move the party forward by avoiding actions detrimental to the interest of the party.
"Considering that politics is a game of numbers, we must not be a house divided against itself and must try to note, appreciate and accommodate our differences as far as the law permits.
"Upon my review of the Report, my position is to ensure that the party tows the path of unity, legality and cohesion and not that of division.
"Therefore, I am stressing that we should strengthen our internal democracy by organising the Party’s Congresses and Convention where election of National Executive Committee members would be held. This will automatically end the cases filed by members seeking orders of Court compelling the party to hold its Congresses.
"I also believe that the current executives should be free to vie for elective positions in the party if they so wish as permitted by our Party constitution.
"However, considering the provision of Article 31(1)(iii) of the APC Constitution which requires any serving officer desirous of seeking re-election to resign from office 30 days before election, I am not sure of the practicality of present serving officers' ability to meet this condition.
"Accordingly, the party may consider granting waivers to party executives at all levels so that they are not disenfranchised from participating in the elections should they wish to do so, provided this does not violate our rules.
"Necessary waiver(s) should also be extended to executives at the Ward level whose tenures may have elapsed, and indeed to anyone knocking at our doors from other political parties.
"This is in the spirit of the Right to Freedom of Association guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
"In this circumstance, the party should officially issue a statement on the above Waivers so that our house may be full. We all must not be ignorant of the times, and the journey that is ahead of us.
"Just like our party symbol; "the Broom," which typifies strength in unity, let us strive to remain united in our purpose. Victory is sure by the Grace of God, and together we must continue to sanitize Nigeria's political environment."
Buhari to run for re-election in 2019
During the meeting on Monday, President Buhari officially announced his intention to seek re-election in the 2019 presidential election.
According to a statement signed by the his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president's decision was based on demand from Nigerians.
He said, "President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019.
"President Buhari made the declaration at a closed-door meeting of the National Executive Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
"The President said he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to re-contest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give NEC the honour of notifying them first."
President Buhari made history when he defeated then-president, Goodluck Jonathan, in the 2015 presidential election by more than 2.5 million votes, the first time a sitting president lost an election in Nigeria.
He is expected to face a tougher test this time around as he has had to battle health complications that resulted in him seeking treatment for an undisclosed ailment in London for a combined 154 days in 2017.
The 75-year-old has also recently come under heavy criticism from past Nigerian leaders, most notably former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, and former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, who had both advised him to not seek reelection.
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