APC’s Internal Democracy: A Breach of Constitution
Nigeria News takes a look at the extension of tenure of the federal and state officials of the All Progressives Congress, APC by its NEC and the constitutional matters
The recent tenure extension of the National and State Executives of the All Progressives Congress, APC is a slap on democracy. The National Executive Committee, led by the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun had extended the tenure of the executive members by one more year.
Its reasons are to stabilize the party by not organizing an elective convention that could aggravate the internal crisis in the party. The tenure of the present executives are to terminate this June, according to the party’s constitution but with a year extension, the executives would have spent five years instead of four years mandated by its constitution.
The party has of course run against the regulations of the Independent National Electoral Commission of a four-year-tenure for the executives of any political party.#
APC’s NEC was of the view that the electing a new set of executives before the 2019 election could jeopardise its chances of winning the poll. While there are members of the party who are equally aspiring to fill the executive positions, including that of the national chairman, their ambitions were cut short by the extension of tenure for the incumbents.
Late this year, the party will be holding a non-elective convention to be supervised by its National Working Committee.
Commenting, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello who is a close ally of Odigie-Oyegun said that there was no time to organize an elective convention and therefore it became imperative to extend the tenure of the present executives.
He said that since the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had been saddled with the reconciliation assignment, the party would not need to bother itself about electing new national officials to lead the party into the 2019 election.
Quoting Article 3 of the party’s constitution that empowers NEC to control issues bothering on the convention, Bello noted that the convention, if allows to be an elective convention, may break the party the more instead of strengthening it.
But to the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, the Zamfara State Governor, Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar, the extension of tenure was a mere expression and had not been adopted.
He noted that only the convention had been saddled with such responsibility to extend the tenure of the officials and before it could do so, it must amend the party’s constitution.
In as much as the constitution only stipulates four-year-tenure for the officials, making it five years would need an amendment.
As it is, there is a lacuna, which of course may throw up litigations in the party. This can wreak greater havoc on the party that would want to return to power in 2019.
APC should learn from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which ruled for 16 years but could not hold the sway as a result of the failure in internal democracy. PDP battled with litigations for almost two years due to lack of internal machinery to resolve its crisis.
And now that PDP has been resolved the trouble within it, the APC must learn so that it does not fall into the same problems if it must succeed beyond 2019.