Leaders of the All Progressives Congress, who are sympathetic to the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the party, have begun a lobby aimed at garnering support for sweeping amendments to the party’s 2014 constitution.
A source in the party, privy to the move, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the lobby was intended to “reduce tension within the party.”
The high-ranking member of the party spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
According to the source, those being listed for consultations include the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; his counterparts in Imo, Rochas Okorocha; Benue, Samuel Ortom; Lagos, Akimwumi Ambode, as well as other party stalwarts across the six geopolitical zones.
He said the proposed amendments to the party’s constitution and the recommendations by the APC panel on true federalism would be the focus of the party’s national executive committee meeting scheduled to hold later this month.
The party leader also said the meeting would address the recommendations made by the Muiz Banire-led committee on the review of the party’s constitution and the recent decision of the NEC to extend the tenures of all elected and appointed party leaders by 12 months.
He added, “If you recall, the NWC set up the constitution amendment committee headed by our National Legal Adviser, Muiz Banire, SAN.
“The committee has since submitted its report for consideration and there are about 86 recommendations. The NEC recently invoked the powers conferred on it by Article 13 of our constitution to grant a 12-month extension for our leaders.
“Some of these things need to be ratified by the national convention and we need to carry everybody along.”
On the controversy generated by the tenure elongation, the source said, “I don’t see any controversy, sincerely. It has a buy-in from almost all of our governors, except maybe one or two; our executives at the state, local government and ward levels are also beneficiaries.”
The source, who was at the NEC meeting held on February 27, said, “The decision in support of tenure elongation was democratically done.
“Prominent among recommendations made by the Banire panel is a proposal to strengthen the national chairman position as chief accounting officer of the party as well as to empower him to chair all statutory meetings except that of the newly-introduced advisory council.
The council is set to replace the Board of Trustees.
The contention is that the party is a corporate entity, which should not require a BoT.
Also, new entrants into the party are now required to spend at least one year as card-carrying members of the APC before they become eligible to seek elective offices at state or federal level.
The proposed amendments also stripped state chapters of powers to take conclusive disciplinary action without recourse to the NWC.
Payment of dues is now compulsory for members and failure to pay now attracts 50 per cent of the accrued sum as penalty. Defaulting members are also to lose rights and privileges of the APC membership.
When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, confirmed that “the reports of the (Muiz) Banire-led committee and that of the (Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led) committee on true federalism will be the focus of this month’s NEC meeting.”