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APC crisis deepens as sacked Oshiomhole-led NWC sues caretaker committee

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Crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress may have deepened as a former National Vice Chairman and ex-acting chairman of the party, Hilliard Eta, has gone to court, asking to be declared the acting national chairman of the party.

He is asking a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to nullify the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party.

The National Executive Committee of the APC had at its meeting at the Presidential Villa on June 25, 2020 dissolved the party’s National Working Committee led by the then national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

The NEC, at the meeting presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari set up the caretaker committee and appointed the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, to head the committee.

Eta on November 26, 2020 filed a fresh suit challenging the dissolution of the Oshiomhole-led NWC.

He sought an order to restrain the Buni-led committee from taking any further steps on behalf of the party including holding the party’s convention.

The suit was instituted on his behalf by his lawyer, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), with the APC made the first plaintiff and Eta the second.

Those listed as defendants in the suit are Buni as chairman of the caretaker committee; John Akpan Udoedehe as the National Secretary; as well as Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, and Stella Okotete, as members of the committee.

The plaintiffs joined the Independent National Electoral Commission as the sixth defendant.

The plaintiffs argued among others that by virtue of Section 183 of the Nigerian Constitution and Article 17 (iv) of the constitution of the APC, it was an illegality and a void act for a person to hold an executive office in the government simultaneously with an office in any organ of the APC at any level, in whatever capacity.

They also argued that by virtue of same Section 183 of the Nigerian Constitution, Article 17 (i) and (iv) and 20 (i) (a) of the APC constitution, the purported removal of the duly elected officers of the party on June 25, 2020, was void and did not affect the rights of the duly elected officers of the APC to continue with the discharge of the duties for which they were elected.

In an affidavit deposed to by Etagbo Eta in support of the originating summons, the NWC had reacted to the proposed illegal meeting in a document captioned “Press Statement by the APC NWC,” clearly expressing that the proposed meeting violated the APC  Constitution.

He explained that the 1st to 5th defendants (members of the Buni-led committee) and those who projected them were duly alerted of the illegality of their act, yet they persisted in such illegality and willful disregard of the organic document of the 1st plaintiff.

He expressed the concern that INEC “no longer deals” with the duly elected executive of the APC but on the contrary recognised the 1st to 5th defendants in all matters concerning the 1st plaintiff, which contravenes the constitution of APC.

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Why northern governors opposed Jonathan’s second term bid – Babangida Aliyu

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Former governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has said northern governors rose against former President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid in 2015 because of the perceived threat of his victory to the North.

Aliyu said in Minna on Friday that the northern governors felt at the time that their part of the country stood in a disadvantaged position and would be shortchanged should Jonathan win a re-election.

He claimed that Jonathan had earlier reached an agreement with the north to complete what was left of the tenure of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and then run for only one term.

He said the ex-president’s insistence on going for another term in 2015 was against the agreement he had with the northern governors.

“Following the sudden passage of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010, the leadership of the then governing Peoples Democratic Party along with the state governors under the flagship of the party had series of meetings on the presidency and the future of our great party,” he said.

The ex-governor also said, “All the governors in the North under the PDP supported the then Vice President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to complete the remaining years of Yar’Adua’s tenure and to contest the next presidential election as a sole candidate of our great party.

“However, midway, President Goodluck Jonathan insisted to run for the office in 2015 against the grain of our earlier agreement.

“Since this was against the grain of our earlier agreement in the party, and which we the governors in the north felt the North would have been shortchanged if Jonathan had succeeded, we rose stoutly to insist on the agreement we all had.

“On that premise, we opposed Jonathan. But all along, Goodluck Jonathan had enjoyed every support from the governors in the north and the entire region.”

The former governor said it was wrong for anyone to say that he opposed Goodluck Jonathan.

He added that as the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum then, it was his responsibility to tell the people about the stand of the governors.

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Makinde’s candidate, Arapaja, emerges PDP South-West chairman

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Former Oyo State Deputy Governor, Taofeek Arapaja, has been declared the South-West chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He was pronounced winner of the hotly contested poll by chairman of the region’s congress and Benue Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu.

Arapaja, backed by Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, polled 343 votes to defeat Dr Eddy Olafeso, who scored 330.

Olafeso is of the camp of former Ekiti Governor Ago Fayose.

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743 PDP delegates to vote in today’s South-West congress

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National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has approved 743 delegates to elect the party’s South-West zonal leaders at region’s conference holding in Oshogbo, Osun State today (Monday).

Already, the NWC has also released the list of members of the Election Committee and the Election Appeal Committee.

A statement containing the delegates’ list signed by the National Organising Secretary of the party, Col Austin Akobundu (retd), showed that Oyo State has a total of 171 delegates, while Ogun State has 114; Osun State, 130; Ekiti State, 115; and Lagos State, 101.

Akobundu named the Benue State governor, Dr Samuel Ortom, as chairman of the election committee, while Senator Sandy Onoh, Ogun Otemabore and Ireruoke Edward will serve as members. Senator Samuel Anyanwu will serve as secretary.

The party also appointed an election appeal committee headed by Chief Okey Ezenwa who will serve as chairman, Mr. Roland Najomoh, secretary, while Clement Okaredir will serve as a member.

Due to the supremacy battle between Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, and a former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayo Fayose, the venue for the election was changed from Ibadan to Osogbo to ensure fairness and avoid giving any advantage to either of the two leaders of the party in the region.

While Makinde is said to be sponsoring Mr Taofeek Arapaja, a former deputy governor of Oyo State, Fayose is said to be backing Mr Eddy Olafeso, a former governorship aspirant in Ondo State and the immediate past chairman of the party in the zone.

The feud between Makinde and Fayose was responsible for the delay in the conduct of the party’s congress in the South-West zone.

The NWC had intervened severally to ensure a consensus candidate for the chairmanship position to no avail.

Already, Arapaja and Olafeso have been cleared to contest the party’s top post in the region.

Also cleared are Mr Rahman Olokaniron and Mr Jenvo Bunni for the position of zonal secretary.

For the office of zonal treasurer, those cleared are Mr Ogunje Samson and Mr Ojo Michael, while the candidates for the zonal organising secretary are Mr Amuwa Adegbenro and Mr Faisu Adewele.

Those contesting for zonal publicity secretary are Mr Olusanya Adefarari and Mr. Fadaka Ayodele, while Mr Adewoyin Babatunde and Mr Philip Okubode were cleared to contest for the position of zonal financial secretary.

Babatunde Samuel and Muniru Kukouye were cleared to contest for the office of zonal legal adviser, while those cleared for the zonal auditor are Dominic Adegbola, Balogun Ayuba and Adeolu Adewunmi.

For the office of zonal woman leader, Ms Modinat Adedibu and Ms Abimbola Balogun were cleared.

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