Story written by: Oyetunji Abioye, John Alechenu and Sunday Aborisade
The court ruling suspending the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, is slated as one of the issues to be discussed and ratified at emergency National Executive Council meeting of the party in Abuja on Tuesday, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.
A top member of the APC NEC, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity in Abuja on Saturday, said the first item to be considered at the meeting would be the ratification of Oshiomhole’s suspension.
The source said, “The party will like to start on a clean slate and to do so, we need to act in accordance with the law. Oshiomhole has been suspended by court and we will ratify the decision and proceed from there.
“Another issue will be to quash the illegal actions taken by the suspended chairman while he was in office. Some of them are the illegal appointment and purported suspension/removal of members of the National Working Committee.
“Then, we will face the main business of the day, which is the appointment of an acting national chairman for the party until a proper convention is held to choose a substantive national chairman.
“We may also be looking at getting our members to withdraw the cases that should be withdrawn from courts for us to move forward while those requiring determination are allowed to be determined.”
While responding to a question on the call by some members from the South-South that the acting National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, should be appointed as acting national chairman, the source said, “Acceding to this request will be going against our constitution.
“Our constitution is clear on this matter. It states that where the chairman is either removed, dies, resigns or the position becomes vacant, the deputy national chairman from his zone takes over.
“In our peculiar situation, the former Deputy National Chairman (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, is now a minister and has not been replaced. What it then means is that the only deputy available is the one from the North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu.”
When reminded that the Oshiomhole NWC had announced ex-Oyo State Governor Ajimobi as Adebayo’s replacement, the source said, *“That is the kind of anomaly the NEC meeting is set to address*. *The NWC has no such powers.* *National positions in the party are not by appointment*. *When there are vacancies, they are filled through elections during conventions.”*
It was also learnt that opponents and supporters of the former Edo State governor in the NEC had been mobilising to attend what a source described “an all-important meeting.”
The anti-Oshiomhole mobilisation was said to be spearheaded by governors and ministers against the continued stay of the suspended chairman in office.
Those who want the chairman in office were said to be relying on some of the governors as well as members of the party from the South-West and North-West.
The source said, “Both camps are really mobilising. It may be one of the best meeting that members would attend in recent days. Unfortunately, there are some die-hard supporters and enemies of the suspended chairman who are not members of the NEC.”
*Giadom can’t be acting national chairman, deputy spokesperson insists*
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Yekini Nabena, has said Chief Victor Giadom lacks the legitimacy to act as the party’s acting National Chairman.
He claimed Giadom resigned from the APC National Working Committee to contest as running mate to the party’s 2019 governorship candidate in Rivers State, Tonye Cole.
Nabena said these in Abuja on Saturday.
He said, “I call on members of our party and the public to disregard the so-called zonal caucus meeting held on Thursday at the Edo State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.
“The meeting was neither convened nor attended by the APC National Vice-Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Eta, and the leader of the party in the South-South, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.
“Hence, all decisions reached at the purported meeting are a nullity and definitely do not reflect the views and stand of the South-South caucus.
“On the purported meeting’s request that the APC National Executive Committee confirms Victor Giadom as acting National Chairman, we cannot be taken for a ride because of the political and 2023 presidential aspirations of his (Giadom’s) sponsor and godfather who is attempting to control the party’s structure.
“It should be known that Victor Giadom tendered his resignation letter to the NWC to contest the 2019 election as deputy governorship candidate in Rivers State.
“It is strange and an aberration that he still attends meetings of the NWC, occupies the office of Deputy National Secretary and convenes a NEC meeting.
“In our politicking, we must not lose sight of due process and the dictates of the party’s constitution.”
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and other prominent South-South leaders of the APC held a consultative meeting in Abuja on Friday where they endorsed Giadom to act as National Chairman in place of Oshimohole who was suspended.
Giadom had yet to respond to the allegations as of the time of filing this report.
He neither answered his calls nor returned any. He had also yet to respond to a text message sent to him.
*National vice chair disagrees with Nabena over Gaidom’s resignation*
However, a member of the APC NWC and Vice Chairman (South-West), Pastor Bankole Oluwajana, said Giadom never resigned from the party as claimed by Nabena.
Oluwajana, who was reacting to enquiries by Sunday PUNCH, said Nabena might not be aware of the details since he was not a member of the NWC.
He said, “Mr Yekini Nabena actually means no harm. He is not a member of the NWC. He is not privy to some information. Before Gaidom stood for election in 2019, he was given a waiver by the NWC. The (APC) Director of Administration, Alhaji Abdullahi Gashua, duly communicated the waiver to Chief Victor Gaidom. So, he never resigned from the NWC as Nabena claimed.”
He added, “The NEC meeting will resolve a lot of issues. It is not whether Oshiomhole should go or not
“A minority cannot retain Oshiomhole against the wish of the majority. A minority cannot drive him if the majority wants him to remain in office. The organ, where all these issues can be resolved, is the NEC. All the arguments, court actions, court orders and counter-court orders are very unnecessary.
“The essence of democracy is that issues are resolved a democratic process. That is why we have the NEC and some other organs our constitution set up. Anybody, who goes against the meeting of NEC, is simply strangulating democracy.
“Who is afraid of NEC meeting? Why the sudden fear of the NEC meeting? The only way the party can survive is that the appropriate meeting should hold and decisions made. Democracy is a game of number. Whatever the decision of the majority is, every member should comply in the interest of the party. The issue is not whether Oshiomhole should stay or go. Chief Victor Gaidom is the acting National Secretary. The previous meetings – NEC and NWC – have called by the national secretary.”
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