CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT : APC GOVERNORS TO LOSE INFLUENCE

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THE All s proposing 83 amendments to its constitution.

The amended constitution has been approved by the National Working Committee (NWC).

If the National Executive Council (NEC) should carry the revised constitution wholesale at its forthcoming October 31 meeting, the party will witness sweeping changes to the way it has been run since inception.

Notice of meeting signed by the party’s National Secretary, Honourable Mai Mala Buni, has been sent out to all NEC members.

Objections can still be raised against some of the new provisions and deletion at the Abuja NEC meeting, but once the revised version of the constitution gets to the national convention of the party, it becomes binding on every member.

As passed by the NWC led by Chief John Oyegun, the revised constitution’s major casualty is governors elected on the platform of the party, who are stripped of the long-time leverage and power they enjoy in determining candidates of the party for local government elections.

Ruling parties are in the tradition of sweeping council elections, with their candidates almost certain of becoming council chairmen and councillors.

Candidates selection for the said elections has caused huge friction among party leaders in recent times with Lagos State chapter being the most pronounced.

The National Legal Adviser of the party, Dr Muiz Banire (SAN), who headed the constitution review exercise, was also caught in the Lagos storm, with the state chapter in collaboration with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, expelling him, before the national body overruled the expulsion.

The tenure of the current NWC, of which Banire is a part, ends February next year.

Instead of the State Working Committee (SWC), the NWC is now to organise primary elections for the selection of candidates into Local Governments and Area Councils.

The amended provision in 13.4 (xvi) reads: “Organise Primary Election for the nomination of its Presidential Candidates, Governorship Candidates and Candidates for election into the National and State Assemblies and local governments/ area councils.”

The original provision did not include local government/area councils.

The new procedure was further enhanced in a new insertion into the functions of state working committee in 13.8 (viii) which reads, “Organise Primary Elections for the nomination of Local Government Area Chairmanship Candidates Vice Chairmanship Candidates and Councilors for election into the Local Government Council/ Area Council, in accordance with guidelines approved by and under the supervision of the National Working Committee (NWC).”

State chapters in the original provision only require guidelines from the National Executive Council (NEC).

The rationale for alterations column reads, “To cure the abuse experienced under the state chapter in the local government nomination process.”

The amendments generally strengthened the NWC of the party, practically bringing all oversight functions in the party under it, with the positions of the National Chairman and Legal Adviser also receiving deeper constitutional empowerment.

The revised constitution says of the office of the National Legal Adviser in

Article 32: “The Legal Adviser’s office shall be the final authority as to the interpretation of any aspect of this Constitution and its Ruling shall be final.”

The original version says, “The Board of Trustees Advisory Council shall be the final authority as to the interpretation of any aspect of this Constitution and its Ruling shall be final.”

The national Chairman is also proposed to be the new accounting officer of the party and chair of all the statutory meetings except that of the newly-introduced Advisory Council.

The Council is to replace the Board of Trustees (BoT).

The contention is that the party “is corporate entity hence Corporate entities do not require Board of Trustees. The resolution of G19 caucus and National Executive Committee have been adopted.”

Unlike when it was in the opposition, the ruling party is now seeking to regulate defection for ticket purpose. New members who have not spent up to a year in the party have now been banned from using the platform for their ambitions.

While a waiver to be determined by the national leadership was not ruled out, the party says it seeks to control “population coming into the party mainly for election purposes.”

In a new provision in Article 13.4 (xx), the party wants to be involved in seeking political appointments for members from at all levels of government.

The new provision reads, “The National Working Committee shall liaise with governments formed by the Party at the local government, state and federal levels with a view to ensuring that members of the party are considered for appointments into public offices at the various levels, and shall report same to NEC periodically.”

State chapters have also been stripped of conclusive disciplinary powers as well as the party’s NEC, with the NWC now being positioned as a major player in the process.

The NWC is also expected to nominate members of the Advisory Council who are expected to serve for four years, with the rotational chairmanship to be for two years each while the occupant must not be from the same geo-political zones as the president and national chairman.

Among numerous other amendments, zonal secretary, zonal youth leader, zonal organizing secretary and woman leader were removed as NEC members, representations from the House of Representatives on geopolitical basis is reduced to one from three.

NWC is proposed to have deputy woman leader, while on the national caucus, two members from each zone will come in as zonal vice chairmen.

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 APC membership.

While the party in its original constitution says those dismissed from public service can’t be its members, the roadblock has now been removed.

Non-delegate office holders may now attend state NWC meetings as observers, if approved by NWC, while party members in national, zonal and state executive committees are now automatic members of the local government congress.

National Vice chairmen of the party are equally coming into a new statutory empowerment as they are “to have supervisory role over the states within the zone and report to National chairman through relevant deputy national chairman.”

APC NWC is also to determine the number of delegates for primary elections into all offices from councillor to president, while only the councillorship primaries will be direct election at Ward level, without option of indirect primaries unlike other offices.

Only the National Convention is now to be vested with the final decision on the expulsion of erring members.

Ward legal adviser and assistant have also been expunged from the party’s constitution.

The post Constitution amendment: APC govs to lose power, influence appeared first on Tribune.

 

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