APC CONGRESS PANEL TO PUNISH ERRANT PARTYMEN

JOHN ALECHENU  

There are strong indications that the All Progressives Congress will invoke constitutional provisions against individuals and groups that disobeyed the party’s guidelines during the ward, local government and state congresses by conducting parallel congresses.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered in Abuja, on Friday, that the party’s National Working Committee was considering using the ‘carrot and stick approach’ to deal with the outcome of the recent party congresses.

A top-ranking leader of the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said the party was conscious of time constraints just as it remained committed to upholding discipline among members.

According to the source, each case will be dealt with on its merit because each state has its peculiarity and nature of conflict.

The source said, “As you are aware, it is the NWC that has the final say on matters of these congresses. We set up the committees based on the powers conferred on us by the constitution. Where we are able to establish a case of anti-party activities and deliberate acts of sabotage, we will act appropriately.

“I refer you to article 21 of our constitution. It talks about powers to maintain party discipline. It also deals with what constitutes an offence based on our party’s rules, and this should serve as a guide to what is likely to happen.”

Article 21 of the APC Constitution (2014), ‘Discipline of Party Members, Power to Discipline; says subject to the provisions of this article and the right to fair hearing, the party shall have the power to discipline party members. The power shall be exercised on behalf of the party by the respective executive committee of the party at all levels.

Another member of the party’s leadership, who gave an insight into what the ‘carrot and stick’ approach entails, explained that some of the perpetrators might be given the option of either respecting the outcome of the legitimate congresses or facing disciplinary panel to decide their fate.

Responding to a question by SUNDAY PUNCH regarding the fate of those behind parallel congresses, the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the APC, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, pointed out that the constitution of the party would be relied upon to resolve the issue.

Asked if there would be sanctions on those who disobeyed the party’s guidelines to conduct congresses, Shuaibu said the party always applied its constitution.

He said, “It depends on where parallel congresses happened. If let’s say in this secretariat, the secretary of the committee we appointed and the chairman of the same committee went somewhere else and organised a parallel congress, it means there was a disagreement between them. Then we have a problem.

“Where the committee is intact and the Independent National Electoral Commission witnessed theirs, you have to look at it. I don’t want to pre-empt what we will deliberate on over the issue at our meeting.”

The party’s NWC commenced deliberations on the reports of the various committees and appeals committees on Friday.

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