President Muhammadu Buhari has supported the national leader of APC, Bola Tinubu, saying the tenure extension of national and state executive officers was unconstitutional.
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that Mr Tinubu, who heads the party’s reconciliation committee, is on collision course with the national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun.
Speaking at the party’s National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, Mr Buhari said extending the excos tenure contravenes both our party’s constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Read Buhari’s full remark at the NEC meeting
I am delighted to once again welcome you to this National Executive Commitee meeting of our great party. As we usually do, I hope we will take the opportunity of this gathering to resolve outstanding issues, and consolidate on our plans towards making APC the strongest defender of the interest of our people.
In particular, I think it is important for me to speak quickly on the contentious issues of the tenure of our national and state executive officers. As we all know a motion was moved in the last National Executive Committee meeting of February 27 to the effect that when the tenure of the current executives expires in June this year, they should be allowed to continue for one year.
This motion was duly carried by the majority of members present at the last NEC meeting, even though some of our party members have since spoken up vehemently against it, others have even taken the matter to court.
On my own part, I have taken time to review and seek advice on the resolution and what I found is that, it contravenes both our party’s constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While the APC constitution is article 17(1) and 13.2 (b) limits the tenure of elected officers to four years, renewable once by another election, the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended) is section 223 also proscribed periodic election for party executives at regular intervals which must not exceed four years.
Furthermore, article 31 of our great party’s constitution provides that any principal officer wishing to re-contest, or contest for another post, must resign from his current post at least one month before the election.
In this circumstance, what is expected of us, is to conduct fresh elections once the tenure of the current executives approaches its end.
A caretaker committee cannot remedy this situation and cannot validly act in place of elected officers.
Furthermore, I think if we deviate from the constitution and provisions, we might be endangering the fortunes of our party.
If the tenure of our party executive can be legally faulted, then, it means that any nomination and primary election that they will conduct can also be faulted.
This is not to talk of defeatings that will arise and it is already arising within the party when some of our members feeling that they are being denied the rights to aspire to executive positions or the internal democracy is not at play within the party.
I am therefore of the firm beliefs that it is better to follow strictly the dictates of our party and national constitutions rather than put the APC and its activities at grave risks.
Fortunately, we have approved a timetable for the order of congresses and the elections. I think this should be allowed to go forward and all efforts should now be geared towards making them a great success.
I have to digress from speech here to tell you, the NEC, that it does not preclude us as from discussing this matter. The reason is this, we have so many instances including the one sitting by my right, people have quoted the constitution of our party include that of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amend and it has facilitated the decisions we have taken.
All well and good, I don’t feel too strongly, the only thing I feel too strongly about is that we should not allow our party to be vulnerable to and supcestible to the opposition. They can delay or divide us further within the party when they quote appropriate portion of the party constitution and of the country. Take note of this my statement, there are knowledgeable people sitting among you the governors and the party chairmen and among us here on the high table.
Please, feel free to discuss and let us quickly, with the help of the legal adviser, whom I think has the constitution of the party in his head and quickly clear issues that are raised.
But I take time to listen to my legal advisers, constitutionally given to me in terms of ministry of justice. Our decision is contrary to both party and the constitutional provisions. Please, bring to me, facts. I don’t want narratives and so on.
Please, bring facts and we reflect and discuss them here and now. And proceed to accept whatever we feel should be done. Let us be prepared to face the opposition either in the court or on the pages of newspapers to make sure that our programmes are not disrupted by court actions.