Voice of Nigeria: Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided to conduct congresses and election to elect new party executives.
The Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong stated this while briefing journalists at the party headquarters in Abuja on the proceedings of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting where the decision to conduct elections was taken.
This is the third in a series of NEC meetings that the APC has held in recent times. The first which was on February 27 was where the NEC decided that the tenure of its party executives at national, state and local levels be extended by 1 year. The second meeting was a month later where President Muhammadu Buhari stated his position of being against the decision to extend tenure. After the second meeting, a technical committee was set up to look into the legal implications of the matter. The third meeting was where the committee submitted its report and a final decision was made by the NEC.
Governor Simon Lalong who was the Chairman of the technical committee said the NEC had to make a decision that would be suitable to every party involved and at the same time follow the law.
“If we are going to conduct that election within a very short period, then the concern shown by other members on the issue of disenfranchisement of the issue of allowing other people to contest was very genuine. We also consider the opinion of Mr. President whom I consider as senior advocate of the party at that time and we arrived at a point that yes it is constitutionally valid as an option to conduct congresses but if conducting the congresses, sudden available provisions of the constitution were not going to be fulfilled, it means that some people were going to be disenfranchised”, Lalong said.
The APC Constitution stipulates that any serving Executive who desires to re-run for another term in office must resign some days before the election. The time frame is short which makes it impossible for some executive officers to meet this condition.
Governor Lalong further explained that the party has created allowance for such serving executives to re-run.
“We spoke about the 21 days notice, we talked about the requirements of article 31 which also requires that if we have to comply with it then the constitution requires that certain waivers be made to those who are crying that they will be disenfranchised and we came to conclusion that if these provisions are taken care of then there was no need for anybody to say we cannot do congresses within the available space that we have and so our conclusion was that we must conduct congresses” Lalong said.
While speaking at the beginning of the meeting, the APC National Chairman, Mr. John Oyegun commended the President for his advice an attitude in handling the tenure extension matter.
“Let me seize this opportunity to thank Mr. President for his rare act of graciousness and humility. By allowing further consideration of the subject matter even after announcing his preference, Mr. President has proven to be a true democrat and a genuine party man indeed. Where he could have imposed his will, Mr. President has exhibited true leadership by allowing himself to be open to alternative opinion, regardless of his personal interest, so far as they are consistent with the rule of law. Mr. President, we thank you” Oyegun said.
The APC National Chairman also enjoined party members to be willing to make sacrifices to push the party forward.
“The experience of the last few days has made clear to us the enormous task in our hands as we go into the elections next year. If the progressive ideology that we stand for must be an enduring political order in Nigeria, we who occupy this space now, as founding fathers, must be willing to make real sacrifices to lay a solid foundation for generations to come. These sacrifices require of us to discipline our personal ambitions and selfish interests. If we do this, it would be easier for us to forge consensus and reach compromise, even on issues that appear to divide us. I must say that disagreements, debates and contentions are the hallmarks of progressive politics. Therefore, let no one tell you that our party was about to collapse only because we disagree. Our strength however will continue to rest on our ability to forge consensus even from apparently irreconcilable issues. If anything, what our experience in the last few days has confirmed is that we can disagree without being disagreeable; and that our party may be young, but we remain the bastion of progressive politics in Nigeria”.
A timetable has already been approved by the NEC for congresses to begin at the local and state levels which would eventually lead up to a national convention where elections will be held for the national executives.