By George Agba, Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Sunday Isuwa, Tunde Oguntola, Abuja and AZA MSUE, Kaduna
With about 40 days to its presidential primary election, the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has conferred its powers on the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to act on its behalf for three months.
APC NEC which is the party’s highest decision making body has President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors and principal officers of the National Assembly as members.
Major decisions taken by the NWC must get the approval of NEC before they are implemented.
The decision to transmit NEC powers to the NWC, LEADERSHIP gathered, was taken to avoid clash of interest and undue interference in the bid to conduct free and fair primaries to pick party candidates for the 2023 polls.
Some members of the NEC would be contesting the party primaries, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi and his Ebonyi State counterpart, David Umahi who are frontline contenders for the party’s presidential ticket, while deputy Senate president, Ovie Omo-Agege is vying for Delta State governorship ticket along with some governors who are seeking a second term.
The NWC whose members are not participating in the primaries was given absolute powers to superintend over the exercise across the country within the period of 90 days to prevent those actively involved in the contest from deciding the outcome.
This entails that from April 20 to July 22, the Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC would take critical decisions on the activities leading to the party’s primaries without seeking approval from NEC).
National Secretary of the APC, Iyiola Omisore, who disclosed the decision at the 11th NEC meeting held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, said with the development, the NWC now has the powers to decide on issues that only NEC has the right to take in line with the party’s constitution
According to Omisore, Senate president, Ahmed Lawan, moved the motion to transfer the powers of NEC on the NWC, while Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai seconded the motion.
With the motion moved by Lawan, the powers of the NEC under Article 13(3)(ii)(iii) (iv)(v) and (vi) was transmitted to the NWC, giving it the right to discharge all functions of the national convention in Articles 13.3 (ii) of the APC constitution.
National publicity secretary of the party, Barr Felix Morka, told journalists after the NEC meeting that the motion which was moved and adopted with a slight amendment by, which now stands as a resolution of the NEC of our party.
He said, “That resolution, essentially, has devolved the powers of NEC under Article 13 paragraph 3, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively, of our Constitution. But those powers of NEC in those provisions will now be invested, or are now vested in the National Working Committee of the party. So, in other words, the NWC of the party is authorised for the period specified to exercise the authority that is constitutionally assigned to the NEC on behalf of the behalf of the party.
“The NEC also devolved its authority, as enshrined in Article 13, paragraph 3, sub-paragraph 2 of the APC constitution to discharge all functions of the national convention as constituted in between conventions. NEC also devolved its powers to NWC as enshrined in Article 13, paragraph 3, sub 4 of the APC constitution to consider reports from national, state and local government areas and area council chapters of the party and to take such decisions as are necessary to protect, advance and consolidate the gains and interests of our party.
“NEC further devolved its powers to the NWC as enshrined in Article 13, paragraph 3, 5 of the APC Constitution to exercise control and take disciplinary actions on all organs, officers and members of the party, and determine appeals brought before it by any member or organ of the party.
“Finally, that NEC has devolved its powers to the NWC as enshrined in Article 13, paragraph 3, sub 6 of our Constitution to create, elect and appoint any committee it may deem necessary, desirable or expedient and assigned to them such powers and functions as it may deem fit and proper. Now, that is the resolution that has come at the end of the meeting of our NEC today.”
Morka also disclosed that aspirants gunning for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will have to pay N100 million to purchase the party’s presidential nomination and expression of interest forms.
The party also pegged the nomination and expression of interest forms for the governorship primary at N50million.
The nomination and expression of interest forms for the Senate position will sell for N20 million, while that of the House of Representatives will sell for N10millon, even as aspirants for state Houses of Assembly will pay N2 million for theirs.
Morka however faulted claims by the party’s national women leader, Betta Edu, that women will get free forms, saying while women are entitled to free nomination forms, they must pay for expression of interest forms.
The party spokesman said, “Now, the last item, which is the schedule of fees payable for these offices. The first is the house of Assembly. The expression of interest form has been set for N500,000, while the nomination form has been set for N1.5million. That brings it to a total of N2 million for the state House of Assembly. The House of Representatives has a fee prescribed of N1million for the expression of interest form and N9million for the nomination forms, bringing it for the House of Representatives to a total of N10million.
“For the Senate, we have the expression of interest form set at N3million, while the nomination form has been set at N17million, bringing it to a total of 20million for the Senate.
“For governorship, we have the expression of interest form set at N10 million, with the nomination from set at N40million, bringing it to a total of N50million for the governorship. Our presidential form has been set for expression of interest at N30million and the nomination form for N70million, bringing it to a total of N100m.
For female aspirants and persons with disability, he said they will purchase the expression of interest forms for all the positions that they may be interested in, while the nomination forms will be free without any costs to them.
On the party’s schedule of activities, Morka noted that the national convention for presidential primary is billed to hold between Monday May 30 and Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
He said sale of forms at the APC national secretariat will commence on Saturday, April 23 to Friday, May 6 2022, even as Tuesday May 10 has been fixed as the last day for the submission of completed forms and accompanying documents.
He said screening of aspirants for the State House of Assembly and for the governorship aspirants will be conducted on Thursday, May 12, 2022, while screening for aspirants to the House of Representatives and the Senate will be carried out on Friday, May 10, 2022.
CSOs Kick As APC Pegs Presidential Nomination Form At N100m, Governorship N50m
But civil Society Organisations (CSOs) yesterday described the N100 million fixed as nomination fee for presidential aspirants under the platform of the APC as shameful.
According to the CSOs, the amount fixed by the APC is a deliberate attempt to encourage corruption and money-bag politics.
The CSOs are Transparency International (TI); Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
Speaking through their leader, Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, the CSOs said, “It is shameful that the ruling party that the president belongs to has endorsed the expression of interest and nomination forms for its presidential ticket to be sold for N100million.
Reacting to the criticisms trailing the cost of the forms in an exclusively interview with LEADERSHIP in Abuja yesterday, the chief press secretary to INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the cost of such forms is an internal matter for each political party.
“The determination of the cost is an internal matter for each political party. The cost of the presidential, governorship, senatorial, Federal House or state assembly forms by the political parties is outside the purview of the Independent National Electoral Commission,” he stated.
PMB Warns Against Imposition Of Candidates
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday warned APC leaders against imposing unpopular candidates on the party.
He cautioned members of the party to be more mindful of the pitfalls that led to the ouster of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.
He stated: “The PDP thought that only time could remove them, and the time actually came. They thought it was impossible to lose elections,’’ he stated at the 11th NEC meeting of the governing party.
“I enjoin you all to follow due process in all the party processes and more importantly to develop more mechanisms against corruption. I call on all party members to abide by all extant laws, rules, and regulations and to leaders of our party to avoid imposition of candidates that cannot win popular elections.
“This dictatorial behavior cost us many strategic seats in the past. In the recent past this led to some of our strong members unfortunately opting to go elsewhere because of unfairly oppressive behavior of party leaders at state level.
“I must caution strongly against any tendency towards developing cliques, in–fighting within the party. We want to win well not succumb to factions on account of personal acerbities and desire to retain control at all costs. That surely is not the road to win”.
He assured the NWC of the party of his full support saying “now that NEC has vested its powers in NWC for the time being, as requested, and in compliance with the party constitution in the overall interest of the party, I want to assure Mr Chairman and the entire NWC members of my full support.”
Adamu Blames Governors For Party Crisis
On his part, national chairman of the APC, Abdullahi, blamed the numerous crises that had rocked the party on serving and former governors, saying they work at cross purposes to divide the party.
Adamu who spoke at the APC NEC meeting said even though it is granted that governors are leaders of the party in their respective states, the party’s constitution does not have provision for dual leadership in the states.
He however noted that former governors are also leaders of the party in their own rights, and incumbent governors must give them due respect.
Noting that there is no dual leadership in state chapters of the party, Adamu said, “We cannot let this continue because it constitutes clear and obvious danger to our party. We must have the courage not to be mealy-mouthed about it. The serving governors are the leaders of the party in their various states. This is in keeping with our party constitution. It is important for the former governors to recognise that party structure and respect it.
“Our party constitution makes no room for two state leaders of the party. There is no reason to compete with the serving governors for the leadership of the party. They were supreme in the past; they cannot be supreme now. They have become statesmen in their own right. But they must allow the governors to do their job. They must feel free to offer advice but they must not insist on their superior wisdom.
“The former governors, some of whom are now senators, are still powerful political leaders in their own right. They remain absolutely relevant in the affairs of the party in their various states. The serving state governors cannot afford to treat them with disrespect or seek to undermine their relevance in the scheme of things without doing damage to the party.
“The way forward is for both groups to stop nursing and serving their egos. They may not be able to bury their egos but they must bury the hatchets that have become weapons in the defence of their egos. Both groups must make sacrifices for the sake of the party. The party must enforce this position. The serving governors and the former governors must each recognise their boundaries, and cultivate mutual respect for one another. If the two groups reconcile in earnest it will be easy for the party to redress the grievances of the members who have become part of the problem.