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APC expels Eta, extends caretaker committee tenure by six months

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  • Dissolves party’s structure nationwide

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has announced the expulsion of the former acting national chairman of the party, Hillard Eta, for pressing ahead with his court case against the party.

It also extended the tenure of its National Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee by additional six months.

The committee led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, was set up on June 25, 2020, following the dissolution of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC).

This is coming as President Muhammadu Buhari called on the party stakeholders to return to the era where it respected informal and formal agreements reached before the formation of the APC.

Eta, who was the National Vice Chairman, South-South in the Comrade Oshiomhole’s dissolved NWC of the party, had continued to claim that he remained acting national chairman of the party despite the dissolution of the NWC.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday, Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai joined by his Imo and Ondo counterparts, Hope Uzodinma and Rotimi Akeredolu, disclosed the party’s decisions.

He explained that the tenure extension was to enable the committee to complete its assignment.

He said the six months period was makeup to the time lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NEC has also approved the dissolution of the party organs at the polling units, wards, local government, states and zonal levels as well as the non-NWC component of the NEC.

The highest decision-making body of the ruling party approved their immediate reconstitution and composition of the dissolved Excos to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity but excluding the non-NWC members of NEC.

The party granted a blanket waiver for new members and potential members who may wish to contest for any elective position on its platform.

Reading the five-point resolution of the NEC, el-Rufai said, “National Executive Committee of the party approves the extension of the tenure of Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee led by Mai Mala Buni, which expires on December 25, 2020, for another six months period, to terminate on 30th of June, 2021. This is to enable the Caretaker and Convention Planning Committee to conclude its assignment as laid before NEC.

“NEC has also donated its powers as enshrined in Articles 13.3 Subsection 5 and 13.3 Subsection 6 of the APC Constitution to the Caretaker and Convention Planning Committee.

“The second resolution is that NEC has approved the granting of waivers to persons who have recently joined the party members and those desirous of joining the party in the nearest future. By this, such new members will enjoy all the benefits and privileges accruable by virtue of their membership of the party. So, they will be able to contest for positions in the party, they will be able to contest elections without any requirement of being members for a number of years or period of time.

“The third resolution, NEC approved the expulsion of Ntufam Hilliard Eta from the party for flaunting the directives of NEC to discontinue all litigation against the party and its members.

“The fourth resolution, NEC approved the immediate dissolution of the party organs at the polling units, wards, local government, states and zonal levels as well as the non-National Working Committee component of the National Executive Committee as well as their immediate reconstitution and composition of the dissolved Excos to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity but excluding the non-NWC members of NEC.

“Finally, the NEC condemns in very strong terms, the call by the PDP leadership and some of their cheerleaders for the resignation of Mr President. NEC observes that security challenges though regrettable can only be addressed when all interest, civil and military, governments and opposition, security forces and indeed all citizens collaborate irrespective of party affiliation. This is not the time to politicize security.”

In his opening remarks at the meeting, President Buhari recalled that the APC was used to respecting agreements reached whether formally or informally and urged its members to return to that era.

He said, “I want to appeal to all our party members and leaders at all levels, to try and make the required sacrifices so that we are able to collectively restore our progressive and democratic political party, which can nurture and give expression to our collective dream of building a strong, united and developed Nigeria.

“May I use this opportunity to remind all of us of the need to recreate our negotiation secret of 2012, 2013 under our legacy parties. What guided our success to achieve the merger that produced the APC was the respect we were able to have for each other. In those times, decisions reached both at formal and informal consultations were respected with trusted initiatives taken and believed that they were needed to produce the required political platform that could guarantee electoral victory. Every one of us as leaders ensured that those decisions were respected.

“I have, through consultations of the caretaker committee and other leaders of the party, agree that our challenges in the party require that we take steps to rebuild the party from wards to national levels. The initiative to carry out membership registration revalidation is, therefore, necessary, membership registration revalidation will lay the foundation for reorganizing our membership from ward to local government, state and national levels.”

Chairman of the APC National Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Buni, recalled that at his assumption of office, the APC was like a theatre of war at many levels.

He said, “Conflicts reconciliation within the party: on the assumption of office at the end of June 2020, our party was a theatre of infighting both at the national level and in many states.

“Reconciliation of all the warring factions and individuals was, therefore, an important consideration for us to be able to commence the process of reconstituting the party’s leadership.”

“To achieve that, we set up a reconciliation committee across the country. Issues such as Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Enugu, Zamfara, Edo, Ondo Anambra and Oyo were either referred to one of the committees to handle directly or handled directly by the national caretaker committee.

“Tempers within our party have substantially come down although the works of our various reconciliation committees are yet to be concluded. While progress is being recorded by our respective reconciliation committees, the task of reconciliation should be continuous.”

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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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