Some members of the All Progressive Congress, APC, under the auspice of ‘The 2018 APC Convention Contestants’ Forum’ has called for the quick and credible replacement of vacant National offices in the party’s leadership.
The party members in a letter to the National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomle and its National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said that members of the Party who should fill such vacant positions must fulfill laid down procedures as enshrined in the party constitution to occupy such offices.
The letter signed by the Forum’s Secretary Hon. Frank Ossai said such persons must have indicated interest in serving the party, “obtained the nomination form, undergone the screening processes of the convention, paid the specified fees and canvassed for votes, and particularly must have been adjudged to be qualified and fit to occupy elective positions during the 2018 elective Convention. “
The letter, which was forwarded to media houses on Monday, reads in full:
We are members of the 2018 APC Convention Contestants’ Forum and we respectfully write your office as members driven by our commitment to the continuous progress of our great party. Attached herewith is a list of our members.
We are deeply grateful for, and sincerely appreciative of, the direction, achievements and stability that have been reaped in such a short time by our party under the able leadership of your humble self in your capacity as our party’s National Chairman. Your actions across board reflect that of a true, patriotic leader whose dedication to the party’s progress has engendered its resilience in the face of stiff opposition from within and without the party.
It has become crucial to bring to your dignified notice the recent happenings within the Party which are necessarily laid out herein.
We note with great satisfaction the flexible and all-inclusive structure of the Party’s National Leadership in resolving issues that would ordinarily have led to crisis whenever there are vacant positions in the leadership of the party. We are convinced as individuals who have gone through the party’s electoral processes that leadership positions should always be occupied by persons that are prepared and willing to serve the party selflessly.
Therefore, it gladdens our hearts at the discretionary exercise of wisdom by the party’s hierarchy on critical issues like this. A great instance is that of the former National Secretary of the Party, His Excellency Mai Mala Buni, who left his former position as National Secretary of the Party to contest for the governorship seat of Yobe State and thus, his seat at the National Secretariat became vacant. The party’s decision to retain his deputy as acting National Secretary is commendable and widely acceptable. However, the position should be given to persons that contested for the office of the National Secretary at the 2018 APC National Convention.
We have, in this vein, also observed that some National Executive members’ offices are likely to become vacant given the disciplinary disposition of the party towards unruly and disloyal members as may be seen in the case of the National Vice Chairman (North West) and the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party who are visibly in open confrontation with different organs of the party. Specifically, the case of Barr. InuwaAbdulkadir, the sacked National Vice Chairman (North West) who was expelled by the Party for anti-party activities and his continuous unrepentant disposition to caution, it is our expectation and appeal that such a vacant position be meritoriously allocated to whoever is next in line or in pole position to take over.
While we are in solidarity with the tenets of our great Party as enshrined in its constitution and other relevant laws, we passionately suggest that members of the Party who should fill such vacant positions those who fulfil laid down procedures to occupy such offices in the party; to wit, such persons must have indicated interest in serving the party, obtained the nomination form, undergone the screening processes of the convention, paid the specified fees and canvassed for votes, and particularly must have been adjudged to be qualified and fit to occupy elective positions during the 2018 elective Convention.
In view of the above, Sir, it is important to point out here that it would be unjust and unconscionable for members of the Party, particularly zones, state or wards as the case may be, who have exhausted their opportunity to hold an office, to now have their hope dashed by an attempt to import a member of the party who did not at any point contest for any office at the national level to fill as sensitive an office as that of the National Secretary, as well as the National Vice Chairman (North West) of the party.
Needless to say, our Party has set earlier precedents in addition to a plethora of cases affecting wherein an office becomes vacant, and there’s a party decision to fill such an office with individuals who are either Deputies or persons who have earlier indicated interest and contested for such position.
A quick search reveals that our Party has, down the years, upheld this principle which has been supported by the Apex Court in the land in the 2015 Kogi State Gubernatorial election wherein the Party’s flag bearer for the governorship position in the state, Prince AbubakarAudu, died before he could be declared winner and returned elected in said election. The Party in its infinite wisdom brought forward the candidate with the second highest votes in the Party’s Primary election, MrYahaya Bello who continued with the mandate of the deceased Prince Audu and the Court upheld same.
Also, the Party recently replaced a vacant position which became expedient after the last elective convention wherein the Party replaced MrBolajiAbdullahi who left the party and his seat as the National Publicity Secretary of the Party for the opposition party with MrLanreIssa-Onilu who came second in the said convention.
The Electoral Act, 2010 as amended in 2015, points to the fact in stating the importance to participate in all the stages of an election. See section 141 of the Electoral Act. It therefore goes to say that a person cannot validly fill a position if he has not fully participated in the election giving effect to that office such as obtaining the form, paying the necessary fees, undergoing the requisite screening of the party and, most importantly, undergoing the convention of the Party.
We have observed with keen interest the several attempts by members of the Party from the states which earlier held the positions that are now vacant to lobby the leadership of the Party that they present another candidate from their state to fill the vacancy.
While we do not deny any state the duty to present multiple candidates for the positions that were zoned to their geo-political zone, we believe that the principle of justice and fairness demands that any candidate that does not participate in any of the election processes should not be made to reap where he/she did not sow.
It is logical that the election guidelines stipulate that positions be zoned to the various geo-political zones in the Country which the party’s constitution duly recognizes.
In conclusion therefore, we strongly plead that it will be against the principles of equity and the spirit of true patriotism on which the party stands, to sideline and marginalize a candidate and member of the party who lawfully participated in an electoral process, painstakingly passed through all its rigors, and eventually came second after the declared winner, at the time when the seat he vied for becomes vacant.
We are hopeful you’d come to agreeable terms with the equitable reasoning and pleas for fairness to be done in this matter as your impartiality and objective candor to party issues proceeds you, sir.