• I’ve Buhari’s approval to convene NEC meeting – Suspended secretary
• You’re on suspension, can’t convene NEC, NWC warns embattled chieftain
• I have decided to sit and watch developments as they unfold, says Amaechi
John Alechenu, Chukwudi Akasike and Adelani Adepegba
The All Progressives Congress crisis took another turn on Tuesday as armed policemen were deployed in its national secretariat to forestall an outbreak of violence
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, as part of efforts to prevent violence, met with the members of the APC national working committee.
But the crisis in the ruling party worsened as the suspended deputy national secretary, Victor Giadom, fixed the party’s National Executive Committee meeting for Thursday.
Opposing Giadom, the NWC said having been suspended from the party, he was not qualified to convene the meeting.
The leadership crisis in the APC worsened on Tuesday last week when the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja upheld the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, by a lower in court in Abuja in March.
On the same day, no fewer than 17 members of the NWC held an emergency meeting and chose the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as acting chairman.
However, Giadom, on the following day, cited a March judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory and declared himself as the acting chairman.
Giadom had since returned to the court, which extended its order by two weeks.
But the deputy national secretary was on Monday stopped by a Rivers State High Court from parading himself as the acting national chairman.
The Ajimobi-led APC has also replaced him with Worgu Boms. Boms was nominated by the South-South chapter of the party for the position of the deputy national secretary.
It was gathered that the IG’s meeting, which was held at the force headquarters, was actually at the instance of the Ajimobi-led NWC.
A party leader, who attended the meeting said, “The meeting was actually at the instance of the party. We went to see him in line with the growing need for security. We don’t want a situation where miscreants masquerading as aggrieved party members will take advantage of our little disagreements to destroy public property.”
The meeting which started at 1pm was rounded off at 2pm.
But at 9am on Tuesday, armed policemen, who said they were acting on an order from above, arrived at the APC national secretariat and ordered staff and journalists who were already in the building out. The policemen were at the secretariat till 2pm when they left.
We didn’t seal APC secretariat – Police
Contrary to earlier reports, the police said they did not seal the APC national secretariat.
The force spokesman, Frank Mba, in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, made it clear that policemen were deployed in the secretariat to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order.
He stated that the party members and the secretariat staff were at liberty to conduct their legitimate business as usual.
Mba said, “Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force have been deployed in the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress, located at Blantyre Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja.
“The deployment is a proactive move by the force to maintain peace and ensure there is no breakdown of law and order at the secretariat.”
Giadom convenes NEC meeting for Thursday
But few hours after the IG met the NWC, Giadom issued a statement convening the APC’s NEC meeting. He said the meeting would hold on Thursday, June 25.
I have Buhari’s approval to convene NEC meeting – Giadom
He stated, “I, Chief Victor Giadom, having been duly authorised by a court order to act as national chairman of our great party and to preside over all meetings of the NWC and NEC hereby and with the consent of the President Muhammadu Buhari, (who is the leader of our party) reconvene the NEC meeting that was earlier billed to hold on the 17th of March, 2020, but was postponed. The reconvened meeting shall hold on Thursday, June 25th, 2020.
“In keeping strictly to the COVID-19 guidelines, the postponed NEC shall hold by virtual means. The codes would be sent by text to the phone numbers of all NEC members.”
Giadom not qualified to convene NEC meeting – Ajimobi-led NWC
But the APC National Vice Chairman (south south), Hilliard Eta, at a press conference in Abuja, said Giadom was not qualified to convene NEC meeting.
He said Giadom was no longer a member of the NWC.
No faction in APC – National Vice-Chairman, South-South
According to Eta, the APC NWC was not factionalised as was being reported by a section of the media.
He said, “It is not right to refer to 17 members, with 15 of them physically present and two who met with us virtually as a faction. This is the National Working Committee of the APC in Nigeria.
“I sit here on behalf of distinguished Senator Abiola Ajimobi as the acting chairman of this party. If Victor Giadom is arranging a NEC meeting, I believe that it is your responsibility as a member of the fourth estate of the realm to investigate his locus to find out whether he has the legal, the constitutional backing to be able to call a NEC meeting.
Giadom’s APC membership has been suspended — Party
“As we speak, the membership of Chief Victor Giadom has been suspended by a competent court of jurisdiction in Port Harcourt this afternoon. Not only is he not a member of the NWC from today, his membership of the APC has been suspended. So, when you call him a factional acting chairman, we wonder why.”
Uzodinma-led Edo State Governorship Primary Committee submits report to Ajimobi-led NWC
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the APC Edo State Governorship Primary Committee, Governor Hope Uzodinma, on Tuesday submitted its report to the Ajimobi-led NWC at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.
The report was presented on Uzodinma’s behalf by the Secretary to the committee, Senator Ajibola Bashiru. The panel said the exercise was “hitch free and conducted in line with the COVID-19 prevention protocol.”
He also said at the end of the exercise “Pastor Ize-Iyamu emerged the winner.”
Receiving the report, the APC national vice-chairman said the report would be presented to the party’s election appeal committee.
APC crisis: I’ve decided to sit and watch – Amaechi
In a related development, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said he adopted what he called sidon look (sit and watch) approach to the APC crisis.
The minister, who spoke during a television interview on Tuesday, insisted that though he was not helpless, he had opted to keep sealed lips on the issue of the crisis rocking the party.
He said, “Nigerians know me for being blunt and honest. Some see it as arrogance; some see it as being brash. What do I need to say that I have not said before? It’s internal dynamics of politics. It’s internal struggle.
“So, I have said it several times, when we fought in 2015, I said this country cannot continue the way it is going. I’m not helpless, but I’m doing what they call ‘sidon look’.
“What is happening in the APC? I don’t know; what is happening in Rivers State? I don’t know. What I’ve done is to keep away from politics. Even if I’m bothered, it’ll be internally; there’s nobody there (in the party) who is a child. We’re all adults. I don’t want to get involved in the politics.”
Amaechi also cautioned his supporters and Rivers people to steer clear of violence.