Trouble is brewing in the National Working Committee the All Progressives Congress following disagreements over who should replace the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.
Lawal, until his appointment and subsequent suspension as SGF, was a member of the NWC as the APC National Vice-Chairman in the North-East.
The PUNCH gathered in Abuja on Wednesday that most of the party’s stakeholders from the zone were favourably disposed to having a congress to elect a replacement for the suspended SGF.
It was learnt that some party leaders were allegedly working behind the scene to impose a replacement on them.
Some aggrieved aspirants have however written a petition to stop the alleged move.
A copy of the petition, entitled ‘Complaint on the brazen abuse of due process and injustice in the nomination for the replacement of the National Vice-Chairman, North East’, was submitted to the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on Wednesday.
The petition, which was signed by Dr. Umar Duhu, Mr. Usman Iya-Abbas and Umar Sanda-Sani, alleged among other things that the party’s National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, was complicit in an alleged attempt to impose a candidate on the zone.
In the document addressed to the party’s National Chairman and the Deputy National Chairman (North) Senator Lawal Shuaibu, the petitioners said, “We write to express our sadness and total dissatisfaction with the way the National Secretary of our great party (Mai Mala Buni) handled the process for the replacement of the vacant position of the National Vice-Chairman (North-East), which was zoned to Adamawa State at the APC National Convention in 2014 and was declared vacant at the last NEC meeting.
“We, the undersigned, have been individually consulting party leaders and making efforts to secure support to emerge as successful candidates through due process as provided for in the APC Constitution (October 2014 as Amended).
“We, the aspirants, expressed our interest in writing to the National Chairman. In fact, one of us, Umar
Duhu, has secured the full nomination of all the four APC governors in the North-East, distinguished senators, honourable members of the House of Representatives, Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly and notable leaders of the party in the zone.”
They, however, noted that since there was no consensus, it was agreed that the party’s national secretariat should convene a zonal congress to elect the most acceptable candidate for the position.
The petitioners further alleged, “While we were busy with consultations and waiting for a date the national secretariat will convene the North-East congress, we received the shock of our lives through the social media that the NWC met on June 19, 2017, and approved the nomination of one Mustapha Salihu as the National Vice-Chairman North-East.”
They noted that the action if true, was completely at variance with Articles 20 (a) and 25 (c)(ii) of the party’s constitution as well as democratic tenets, social justice, rule of law and the change mantra which the APC was predicated upon.
The petitioners demanded, among other things, the cancellation and withdrawal of the said letter dated July 19, 2017, issued to Salihu and a declaration of same as null and void and of no effect. They also called on the party to direct the immediate convening of the North-East Congress, to democratically conclude the process for choosing a replacement into all vacant party positions in the North-East as stipulated in the APC constitution.
The petitioners gave the party a seven-day ultimatum within which to act or be prepared to face legal action.
Attempts to get the reaction from the party’s National Secretary, Buni, who was accused of trying to impose a candidate on the zone, were futile. Calls to his telephone on Wednesday indicated that it was switched off while a response to a text message to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report. Also, calls to the mobile of the Deputy National-Chairman (North) Senator Lawal Shuaibu, were not returned.
A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report on Wednesday. The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said he was yet to see a copy of the petition.
“I have not seen the petition or the letter being referenced. If by tomorrow (today) I see it, then, I can comment.”