AMID reports of some state chapters insisting on conducting congresses to elect new state, local government and ward executives, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Friday night, warned of dire consequences should there be any attempt to disturb the elongation of the tenure of the present leadership of the party.
There were speculations, on Friday, that Lagos and Osun states, among others, were reportedly bent on conducting congresses, despite the decision of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party, cancelling all scheduled elections to party offices.
At the last NEC meeting, majority of the senior stakeholders of the party agreed to extend the tenure of all party officials, from the national to the ward levels, by 12 months, to avoid going to the general elections through rancorous congresses and national convention.
However, news filtered in, Friday evening, that another suit had been filed in Abuja, to challenge the legality of the extension, but the national spokesman of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said he was not aware of the service of the fresh suit on the party.
A group within the party, led by one of its national leaders, Senator Bola Tinubu, however rejected the extension and insisting on congresses and convention, even as the Lagos caucus of the party and the state chapter also rejected the extension and called for its cancellation.
The state chapters reportedly planning to conduct congresses are said to be relying on the “clarity of provisions of the party’s constitution to be on the right side of the law guiding party election, before the court would make a pronouncement on the extension legality,” a senior party member told Saturday Tribune.
The source was of the opinion that since it was almost certain that the extension would be reversed, those planning congresses didn’t want to be caught on the wrong side of the law.
The APC had earlier been sued by a chieftain immediately after the controversial extension was announced, even as Abdullahi said those planning to do something contrary to the position of the party’s NEC, should know that there would be reactions to their actions.
When asked if the move by the said state chapters would not trigger a widespread mutiny in the party, Abdullahi said “They can plan and do whatever they want to do. Whoever wants to hold congress can go ahead, but the fact remains that the position of the party’s NEC is that all party officers have been granted a 12-month extension and until that is changed, that remains the position of the party.
“NEC can reverse it at the next meeting but until that is done, that is the position today. If some people feel they can do otherwise, let’s make it clear to them that for their actions, there will be reactions. Defying the party comes with reactions”.
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He also said that the APC was yet to fix a date for the planned fresh NEC meeting this month, adding that the leadership just had discussions over it yesterday, adding, “Nothing is conclusive about it (fresh NEC meeting) yet.”
When contacted to confirm if the Osun State chapter of the party would go ahead with congresses to elect new executives at the state and local government levels, the state Director of Publicity of the party, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, said he “cannot speak on the issue for now” because a decision on it is due for next week.
“I cannot speak on the issue of tenure elongation or another state congress for now. This is because the issue is being tabled for consideration. The leaders of the party in the state are meeting on Monday or Tuesday. Until they meet and decide, I cannot speak on it for now,” he said.
When prodded further to know the venue and the likely leaders and elders of the party that would be in attendance at the meeting, the Osun APC spokesman said it would not be appropriate to be mentioning the names of the attendees, but added that the meeting would hold in Osogbo, the state capital.
He, however, gave an indication that the state chairman of the party, Prince Gboyega Famodun, would be in attendance at the meeting, along with the other leaders of the APC.
“Sorry, until they meet, one cannot begin to mention names of the attendees. It (the meeting) is likely to take place in Osogbo but the venue I don’t know. It cannot be held without the party chairman. Thanks and good night,” he wrote in a text message he sent in response to an earlier one sent to him by Saturday Tribune.
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