Persons seeking to be ministers, ambassadors and heads of critical agencies in the All Progressives Congress-controlled Federal Government must pass a litmus test set by the party before their names are forwarded to the Senate for confirmation. This is according to a proposed amendment of the APC constitution.
According to the proposed constitution, which is expected to be ratified at the APC national convention on February 26, 2021, one of the new duties of the National Executive Committee will be to “Conduct due diligence on nominees considered for statutory positions before transmission to the Senate for confirmation.” This is according to Clause 13.3(xiii) of the APC constitution.
It, however, remains unclear how such “due diligence” will be carried out since by law, the President is only mandated to send such nominations to the Senate for confirmation and not the APC.
Also certain appointments for agencies which ought to be insulated from politics such as the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Independent National Electoral Commission could run into problems with the party.
A chieftain of the APC told The PUNCH that the clause had become necessary in order to checkmate the excesses of technocrats who get juicy government appointments but go ahead to work against the interest of the party.
The chieftain, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “A lot of appointees who are technocrats, get appointments from the APC Federal Government but refuse to adhere to the manifesto of the party. They refuse to award contracts to APC leaders or help with recruitment because they are technocrats.
“Some of them are even members of the opposition. They get there and begin to frustrate the party. What this new clause will achieve is that only those who are willing to stick to the APC programmes should get appointments from the APC government.”
It’s still a proposal, members free to make contributions – Akpanudoedehe
When contacted on the telephone, the Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, said the proposal was just a document and everyone was free to make amendments.
Akpanudoedehe said he would not respond to any further questions when he was asked to explain the rationale behind certain clauses.
“Make your submissions. That’s what this (proposal) is all about. That is a proposal. You write your contributions, we will look into it. It is not for me to answer. It is not my document. It is the document of the party,” he said.
Proposed amendment empowers NEC to dissolve NWC
The proposed constitution also increases the powers of the APC NEC and reduces those of the National Working Committee led by the national chairman.
It also empowers the NEC to dissolve the NWC and the state working committees and appoint caretaker committees to run affected chapters for a period of not more than a year. This implies that caretaker committees like the one led by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, which has spent 20 months in office would no longer be able to stay so long in office once the new constitution is ratified.
In the current APC constitution, only the NWC has the power to appoint caretaker committees. However, the power now resides in NEC.
Clause 13.3(b)(c)read, “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, the National Executive Committee shall have the power to set up a caretaker committee in place of any organ at all levels, except the National Advisory Council and National Convention, where in its opinion there is a compelling situation warranting such action in the overriding interest of the party. Any such committee shall have a defined tenure not exceeding 12 months.”
NEC will also be empowered to ensure that the actions and policies of the government at the federal and state levels are consistent with the party’s manifesto and campaign promises
The proposed constitution also bars all members of the APC from accepting any appointment from a government of another party without the express permission of the party.
This implies that a member of the APC cannot take up an appointment in any state government that is being run by the Peoples Democratic Party. It, however, says the NWC of the party could give special permission to such a person.
The party will also name its national headquarters after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who is the first President to be elected on the APC platform.
Race for APC national chairmanship gathers steam
Meanwhile, 20 months after sacking its erstwhile chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and the entire National Working Committee, the APC will this week begin the sale of forms for all those seeking to hold executive positions in the party.
Some of the top positions include: National Chairman, Deputy National Chairman (North), Deputy National Chairman (South), National Secretary, Deputy National Secretary, six National Vice Chairmen, one from each geo-political zones of the country, National Legal Adviser, Deputy National Legal Adviser, National Treasurer and Deputy National Treasurer.
Others include: National Financial Secretary, Deputy National Financial Secretary, National Organising Secretary, Deputy National Organising Secretary, National Welfare Secretary, Deputy National Welfare Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, Deputy National Publicity Secretary, National Auditor, Deputy National Auditor, National Women Leader, Deputy National Woman Leader, National Youth Leader.
Barring any unforeseen changes, the APC is expected to begin the sale of forms on Monday (today).
Top sources told The PUNCH that the North-Central would most likely be favoured by the party to produce the party’s chairman while the South-East would most likely produce the national secretary, which is one of the most powerful positions in the party.
However, the party would not be expected to announce its zoning arrangement but would communicate it within its top hierarchy and ensure that it is followed.
“In theory, the APC does not zone its offices the way the PDP does. But in practical terms, the party does it in a systematic manner. It is unlikely that they will announce the zoning arrangement publicly,” said an aide to one of the governors who wished to remain anonymous.
Also, it was learnt that the APC leadership would be considering the consensus option. Once the President’s preferred choice is identified, other organs of the party would be expected to adopt that person as the consensus candidate while others would be cajoled to step down.
“The APC prefers the option of consensus. That is what the President also prefers. It is usually not rancorous. However, as of yesterday, no one had reached out to any of the aspirants yet. So, the governors’ meeting will be pivotal in determining who emerges as the chairman even though the President will have the final say,” the governor’s aide added.
The party has been enmeshed in crisis for the last two years which culminated in the ouster of its chairman, Oshiomhole.
The Oshiomhole leadership was replaced by a caretaker committee led by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni. The committee, which had six months to organise a new convention, continued to seek extensions and has now remained in office for 20 months.
Although the Buni-led committee was able to cause the defection of three governors from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC, the crisis in the states continued to deepen.
The crisis reached a climax late last year during the congresses that were conducted in order to elect ward, local government and state executives of the party. In at least 13 states, two or more factions emerged with one being loyal to a governor on the other hand and a minister or senator on the other hand.
Except in Kano State where Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has not been able to have his way, all other 21 governors were able to install their preferred candidates