The former National Vice Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Ntufam Hillard Eta has dismissed his expulsion from the party by the National Executive Committee (NEC) insisting that the meeting lacks the locus to expel him.
The emergency NEC meeting on Tuesday at a virtual meeting announced the expulsion of Eta following his refusal to comply with the decision of the 8th Emergency NEC meeting of June 25 that directed all party members to withdraw all legal actions against the party or any of its organs.
Eta had on November 26 approached an Abuja Federal High Court seeking an order of the court to nullify the dissolution of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC) by the NEC, to reinstate the Committee and be recognised as the acting National Chairman of the party.
But rising from its meeting which held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday, the NEC presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari announced the expulsion of Eta and took some other far-reaching decisions.
Reacting to the development in a telephone interview, Eta said the NEC meeting at the Villa had no power to expel him.
He said that the action of the highest decision-making body of the party was in nullity and argued that the Secretary of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Sen. James John Akpanudoedehe has no power to convene an NEC meeting.
He said, “I am already in Court. The lawyers amongst them should have told them that they can’t make that pronouncement since I am in Court.
“Their action is a nullity because it isn’t even the NEC of the party that met. Their so-called acting national secretary has no power to convene NEC.
On the dissolution of the party’s state executive, the Forum of State Chairmen of the party through its National Secretary, Dr. Ben Nwoye, who until the NEC meeting, the Enugu State Chairman said the decision of dissolving the party’s executive arm from the state to ward level, was a welcome development.
The forum noted that the decision was in the interest of the party.
According to Nwoye, “the decision to dissolve the exco of the party was in the interest of the party. The outcome of the NEC to further strengthen the party and further streamline the processes and solidify the party and by the time the Caretaker Committee finishes their work; we have a more formidable party. We will have a more forward-looking and more progressive political party.”
When told that some members of the forum felt cheated and are not freely disposed to the dissolution, having endorsed the tenure extension for the Caretaker Committee, Nwoye said, “I don’t know where you got that information from, all I know is that this is the official position of the forum.”
Reacting to the development, a founding Chieftain of the party and the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) Osita Okechukwu in a statement in Abuja, shortly after the NEC meeting commended the decisions of the committee arguing that the decisions are to re-position and reinvigorate the party.
“First and foremost, I sincerely concur with the six months extension, as this will enable Governor M. M. Buni’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to not only reconcile the party but to conduct valid biometric registration nationwide.
“This is what our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu embarked upon in 2013 when we were newly registered. It was botched by the People’s Democratic Party-led federal government. The biometric registration will enable us to know with a punch of a button our membership from all the Polling Units, Wards, LGAs, and States nationwide. With biometric registration, we will plan elections both primaries and main elections better.”
On the dissolution of executives across the board, Okechukwu noted that the action was “a welcome development in the repositioning and reinvigoration of our great party.”
He however appealed to the Gov. Buni led CECPC to conduct free and fair congresses and conventions in order to strengthen and give a sense of belonging to all.
“Am happy with the excellent decision and thank Mr. President; as we have commenced the birth of a new brand and remodeled political party,” Okechukwu concluded.
For a pressure group within the party, Concerned APC Members, the decisions by the NEC have exposed the party to another round of long journey.
The spokesperson for the group, Abdullahi Dauda in an interview in Abuja said, “the pronouncement by our party’s NEC did not come to us as a surprise, we knew about the plot long before today. We wish to say it is the beginning of another long journey for our party.”
The group then warned, “If those who have hijacked the party think they can frustrate us out of a party so many people came together to build, they should think again because we are not leaving. We as loyal members of this great party will continue to ask our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow a few selfish individuals to misguide him into taking actions that will destroy this party.”