The National Executive Committee, NEC, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday approved the extension of the tenure of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, for another six months.
This is as the APC NEC also approved the expulsion of the party’s former National Vice Chairman, South-south, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, for his alleged failure to withdraw the court case instituted against the caretaker committee.
The APC Emergency NEC also approved the dissolution of the party’s organs.
These were contained in the five resolutions unanimously reached at the NEC meeting of the ruling party held at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
At the end of the meeting, Governors Nasir el-Rufai, Rotimi Akeredolu, Hope Uzodinma of Kaduna, Ondo, and Imo States respectively as well as the Secretary of APC the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe briefed State House correspondents.
The virtual Emergency NEC meeting was physically attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
It also approved waivers for new and intending members of the party, which would make it possible and easy for such new members to aspire to contest positions within the party.
The APC NEC condemned the call by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the impeachment of President Buhari. Briefing State House correspondents, Governor el-Rufai said, “Number one, the National Executive Committee of the party approved the extension of the tenure of the CECPC, led by Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, which expires on 26 December 2020, for another six months period, to terminate on 30 of June 2021.
“This is to enable the Caretaker Executive 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 Committee.
“The second resolution says that NEC has approved the granting of waivers to persons who have recently joined our party 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’ll be able to contest for positions in the party, they’ll be able to contest elections without any requirement for being members for a number of years or period of time.
“The third resolution is that the NEC approved the expulsion of Ntufam Hilliard Etta from the party for flouting the directive of NEC to discontinue all litigations against the party and its members.
“Number four, NEC approved the immediate dissolution of the party organs at the polling unit, ward, local government, state and zonal level, 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. This excludes the non-NWC members of NEC.
“Finally, the National Executive Committee of the party condemns, in very strong terms, the call by the PDP leadership and some of their cheerleaders, for the resignation of Mr President.
“NEC observed that security challenges, though regrettable, can only be addressed when all interests; civil and military, government and oppositions, security forces and indeed, every citizen collaborate, irrespective of party affiliations. This is not the time to politicise security”, the party said.
Throwing more light on the dissolution of party organs, the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu said: “The NEC at its meeting approved the dissolution of party organs at the polling units, wards, local government, states, and zonal levels as well as the non-NWC members.
“As clearly stated, also the composition of the dissolved EXCOs to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity until we complete party registration and conduct congresses.”
Also elaborating further, El-Rufai added “which is why the Caretaker and Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee needs more time to organise this, which is expected that before the end of the expiration of the life of the extension, they would have conducted the national convention so that we have leadership from the top down.
This is in compliance with the state’s wish of Mr President that we should rebuild the party from the bottom up. So, this is the process.
“Registration is going to start very soon and revalidation of registration and membership. Since we undertook our last membership registration in 2015, about 25 million have reached the age of 18-year-old and may want to join the party.
“So we want to capture those and then after we complete the registration then we will have Congresses at these various levels, leading up to the national convention before the 30 of June 2021 by the grace of God.”
Earlier in his remarks at the NEC meeting, President Buhari expressed delight at the positive results of the efforts of the the13-member Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
He noted that many who initially left the party had returned to the fold, while new members from the opposition had continued to stream into the APC.
Buhari said what was needed was for party chiefs to display discipline and sustain the tempo. He said, “I have received periodic briefings from the caretaker extraordinary convention planning committee, as well as other leaders of the party. I am convinced that in the last five months, since the appointment of the caretaker committee the initiatives are taken have brought a remarkably new atmosphere of hope to the party.
“Healthy debates are now taking place and the potential for organs of the party to affirm majority positions as the decision of the party is now possible. What is required now is for all of us as leaders of the party to maintain discipline and ensure that this new momentum is protected, sustained and the decisions of party organs are respected by every member.
“Despite the challenge to restore peace in the party and the series of elections at hand, the fact that we have gained more members and that we are not losing members to the opposition under the present interim leadership indicates an improvement of the party. In fact, we have begun to win back our members who left us and other notable political leaders are being attracted to our party.”
He acknowledged the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, to the party, saying the development confirmed that “we are indeed making progress as a party of choice for Nigerians, as we move towards the resolution of our leadership challenges.”