•Buhari backs Giadom, set to attend NEC meeting
•The NEC meeting is illegal, says National Secretary
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi & Sunday Ode
The Presidency and the National Working Committee (NWC) of All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday set out on a collision course, as both are set to clash over the controversial National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting allegedly summoned by a factional Chairman of the party, Victor Giadom, apparently with the backing of the Presidency.
This is as the Presidency also yesterday confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari would on Thursday (today) attend the virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the ruling APC being summoned by Victor Giadom.
Indication that both the NWC and the presidency are set to clash today emerged when the Acting National Secretary of the APC, Waziri Bulama, issued a statement countering an earlier message by the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, that Buhari will attend the virtual APC NEC meeting today.
Bulama, in his statement said President Muhammadu Buhari did not sanction the purported virtual National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting slated for today by the factional Chairman of the party, Victor Giadom, in the Presidential Villa.
He said the purported NEC meeting is illegal, and called on faithful party members to shun the meeting whether virtually or otherwide.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, Bulama said “Our Leader, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is renowned for insisting on compliance with our constitution and rule of law. It can therefore not be true that Mr. President supports the convening of such an illegal NEC by a non-member of APC’s NWC. We urge all to disregard the said Notice as neither the NWC nor the NEC has called for such meeting.”
He further said that the convener of the NEC meeting, Victor Giadom, has resigned his membership of the party in 2019 to contest the Deputy Governorship election in Rivers, as required by the APC Constitution.
According to the statement, Waziri claimed that Giadom has also been suspended by the Rivers State Chapter of the party and the NWC received communication of same on June 21, 2020, adding “Our esteemed members are advised to disregard this invitation because the author and sole signatory of the said invitation is not member of the National Working Committee (“NWC”) of our party, talk more of being an Acting National Chairman as claimed.”
While citing the sections of the APC Constitution which the purported NEC meeting has contravened, the AG. National Secretary of the party quoted Article 25 (B) of our Constitution which provides:
“i. The National Executive Committee shall meet every quarter and or at any time decided by the National Chairman or at the request made in writing by at least two-third of the members of the National Executive Committee provided that less than forteen (14) days notice is given for the meeting to be summoned.
“ii. Without prejudice to Article 25(B)(i) of this Constitution the National Working Committee may summ meeting at any time, provided that on an at emergency least seven National (7) days Executive notice of the Committeemeeting shall be given to all those entitled to attend”.
He said “It is clear that even a legitimate Chairman is only invested with powers to fix/announce a date for NEC meetings to hold every quarter and nothing more. He cannot summon a meeting on that date because under our Constitution only the National Secretary can do so pursuant to Article 14.3 of our Constitution which provides:
“14.3. National Secretary. The National Secretary shall: ii. Cause to be issued as directed, notices of meetings of the National Convention, the National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee of the Party”.
Indeed two-thirds of the members of NEC may also summon a meeting, but it shall be required that the National Secretary gives 14 days notice to all persons entitled to attend.
“In this case, the purported invitation was illegally issued on June 23, 2020 and the meeting fixed for June 25, 2020 which gives notice for only 2 days. We concede that a shorter Notice period of 7 days is allowed under our Constitution as stated in 25(b)(ii) above, however, a majority of the members of NWC must have voted to summon such a NEC meeting and that was not the case in this instance.”
He also cited the Court judgement which upheld Giadom’s nonmembership of the NWC, saying “his nonmembership of the NWC has been affirmed by the Courts and an Order restraining him from parading himself as a member of the NWC was granted against him on June 22, 2020 in the case of DELE MOSES & ANOR V APC (SUIT NO: PHC/360/2020) where the Court said inter alia:
“That an Order of interim injunction be and is hereby made restraining the 1st, 2nd 4th and 5th Defendants, acting by themselves or through auy of their officers, agents, or privies from recognizing or regarding the 3rd Defendant/Respondent as the National Chairman or Acting National Chairman or Deputy National Secretary of the 1st Defendant/Respondent or member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the 1st Defendant/Responde1it pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice”.
Meanwhile, the Presidency on Wednesday confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari would on Thursday attend the virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) being summoned by Victor Giadom.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who broke presidency’s silence on the matter said Buhari’s decision to attend the NEC meeting was informed by convincing advise on the position of the law.
Shehu who was responding to enquiry by some State House Correspondents said:
“The President has received very convincing advice on the position of the law as far as the situation in the party is concerned and has determined that the law is on the side of Victor Giadom as Acting National Chairman.
“Because he will always act in accordance with the law, the President will be attending the virtual meeting Giadom called for tomorrow afternoon.
“We urge the media to stop promoting manufactured controversies and to not give any further room for mischievous interpretations of the law on this matter.
“In addition to the President, the Giadom meeting will, hopefully, be attended by our Governors and the leaders of the National Assembly.”
Recall that President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, met with President Buhari over the crisis threatening the very foundation of the ruling party last Sunday and told the correspondents after the meeting that there would be intervention from the president.
Also, in quick succession, APC governors under the auspices of Progressive Governors Forum met President Buhari on Monday to appraise him with their position on the matter.
Yobe State Governor and Chairman of the forum, Atiku Bagudu, said after the meeting that Buhari was in support of a meeting of party organs to resolve the crisis.