Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2020

Why Buhari, Governors Postponed NEC Meeting Amid APC Crisis

(news investigators) President Muhammadu Buhari and governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) resolved to postpone the emergency National Executive Council (NEC) slated for today to save the party from implosion.

The postponement of the NEC meeting convened by forces who want the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole out was announced at the end of the president’s meeting with the governors at the State House, Abuja yesterday.

But other credible sources said beyond the implosion issue, some anti-Oshiomhole forces are still perfecting their homework to ensure that whenever the NEC meeting was called, they would have enough support to remove the embattled chairman.

The NEC meeting until the president’s intervention yesterday was seen as an avenue to perfect plots to oust Oshiomhole. The plot is allegedly being spearheaded by the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and seven of his colleagues.

On Monday, the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had warned that Oshiomhole should not be removed as national chairman of the party. It is believed in some quarters that removing Oshiomhole would indirectly mean drastically reducing the influence of Tinubu not only in the affairs of the party but other strategic national issues.

Those in support of Oshiomhole told the Daily Trust that before a new date would be fixed for the NEC meeting, the chairman of the reconciliation committee of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, would have addressed all the contending issues bedevilling the party.

But some sources against Oshiomhole, and by extension Tinubu, said considering that Akande is the right-hand man of Tinubu, whatever would be done by his committee would not resonate well because it would be tailored towards supporting the former Lagos State governor.

Akande had at the weekend urged all the feuding camps to withdraw court cases filed on the matter. There are five cases pending at different courts filed by both pro and anti-Oshiomhole.

What govs discussed with Buhari at the villa

Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, announced the postponement of the NEC after their meeting with President Buhari. Bagudu said President Buhari was pleased to endorse the suggestion to postpone the NEC meeting until they (the governors) gave him feedback on the fence-mending effort made to solve the crisis rocking the ruling party.

“Yes, we discussed party issues and showed appreciation to Mr. President on how he has given access to each of us individually and collectively. “Among the issues we discussed was the resolution the governors have taken to work together and resolve all the issues in our party and also we sought Mr. President’s support to postpone the NEC meeting that was scheduled for tomorrow (today), until such a time that governors will be able to report back,” he said.

The meeting was attended by 16 out of the 20 governors of the ruling party. These included Babagana Zulum, Borno; Babajide Sanwo Olu, Lagos; Dapo Abiodun, Ogun; Godwin Obaseki, Edo; Bagudu, Kebbi, Abubakar Badaru, Jigawa; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, Kwara; Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa; Mohammed Sani Bello, Niger; Simon Lalong, Plateau; Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo; Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano; Adegboyega Oyetola, Osun; Aminu Bello Masari, Katsina; Hope Uzodinma, Imo, and Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State. Governors Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna; Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti; Mai Mala Buni, Yobe; and Yahaya Bello of Kogi State were conspicuously absent at the meeting.

Governors that are said to be solidly behind Oshiomhole are; Zulum (Borno), Ganduje (Kano), Masari (Kano), Bello (Kogi), Abdulrazak (Kwara), Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Sule (Nasarawa), Abiodun (Ogun), Oyetola (Osun), Buni (Yobe), and Uzodimma (Imo).

Those said to be on the other side are; Obaseki (Edo), Fayemi (Ekiti), Muhammad (Jigawa), El-Rufai (Kaduna), Bagudu (Kebbi), Bello (Niger), Akeredolu (Ondo) and Lalong (Plateau). “The NEC meeting would have taken place tomorrow if those against Oshiomhole were satisfied that they had what it takes to remove him,” a source said.

“They simply tarried awhile…Of course, you have seen many of them, both pro and anti-Oshiomhole speaking with one voice when they met with the president but they still have their differences,” he said.

“Those against Oshiomhole wanted Buhari to look the other way; they don’t even want him to attend the NEC meeting so that he will not be blamed if at the end of the day they remove the chairman. However, everything was abruptly postponed indefinitely because of some factors that came to play but the fight is not yet over,” another source said.

Who are APC NEC members?

According to Article 12.3 of the APC Constitution, the NEC members include the president, vice president, Senate president, deputy Senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives, his deputy, governors, principal officers of the National Assembly, two serving senators from each geo-political zone, three members of the House of Representatives from each of the geo-political zone and party leaders among others.

The NEC exercises control and takes disciplinary actions on all organs, officers and members of the party. “The anti-Oshiomhole forces had done a lot in reaching out to some of the NEC members but it seems they are yet to get the required number they need to have their way,” another source said.

Oshiomhole meets Kyari in Villa

Earlier yesterday, Oshiomhole met with the Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari. The meeting was held before the suspension of today’s NEC meeting which would have been used to decide his fate.

Daily Trust reports that the move to remove Oshiomhole had divided the critical stakeholders in the party, including governors, members of the National Working Committee (NWC), National Assembly and state party chairmen, among others.

NWC meeting holds today

Having come out from the Appeal Court from position of strength, at least for now, Oshiomhole will attend the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting of the APC scheduled for today at the party’s national secretariat.

Oshiomhole had stayed away from the secretariat since the Abuja High Court ordered his suspension on March 4. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said all members of the NWC were expected to attend as important matters concerning the party would be considered and deliberated at the meeting.

There are 21 members of the NWC. They include; the national chairman, deputy national chairman (North), deputy national chairman (South), national secretary, deputy national secretary, six national vice chairmen, national legal adviser, national treasurer, national financial secretary, national organising secretary, national publicity secretary, national welfare secretary, national auditor, national women leader, national youth leader, and special (physically challenged) leader.

How Oshiomhole got Appeal Court reprieve

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has asked Oshiomhole to continue as national chairman of the party pending the determination of the appeal challenging his position.

A three-member panel of justices presided by Justice Abubakar Dati Yahaya, yesterday, held that the ex parte application moved by counsel to Oshiomhole and the APC, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has merit.

“We are of the view that an emergency picture has been painted so that intervention by this court at this time and in this process (is) granted. “There is the information that a national executive meeting of the 2nd applicant is to be held tomorrow and following the ruling of the FCT High Court under the situation, the first applicant would not be able to attend if this happens, then there is no chance that any status quo would be maintained.

“The status quo can only be maintained in the circumstance if there is a stay of execution of the FCT High Court judgment. “In this vein, therefore, we find merit in this application. “We hereby order stay of execution on the ruling of the FCT high court in suit number: FCT/HC/CV/837/2020 delivered in the 4th of March 2020 pending the determination of the motion on notice which is now slated for hearing on Thursday the 19th of March 2020.

We also hereby give an order of injunction restricting the respondents in the suit, their agents, their privies and all officers jointly or severally from proceeding to take any other steps to give effect to the said ruling pending the determination of the motion on notice,” the court ruled.

Another court approves Giadom as APC acting national chair

Before the Appeal Court ruling, an FCT High Court in Maitama yesterday granted an interim order allowing Chief Victor Giadom, APC’s acting national secretary to act as the party’s national chairman. Justice Samira Umar Bature made the order following a motion ex-parte filed by the party’s National Vice Chairman, North-East, Comrade Mustapha Salihu and argued on his behalf by O.C. Ugwu, Esq seeking for an interim order allowing Giadom to act as APC’s acting chairman and to preside at all meetings of the party’s national executive committee pending the decision of the party’s NEC fixed for March 17.

The motion also asked for an interim order restraining the APC and its officers “or anyone purporting to act as an officer of the 4th defendant (APC) from preventing or in any way disturbing Chief Victor Giadom from functioning as the acting chairman unless otherwise decided by the national executive committee of the 4th defendant pending the hearing of the motion on notice.” Those listed as defendants in the motion are Babatunde Ogala, Issa-Onilu, Waziri Bulama and APC.

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