*El-rufai, Badaru, Fayemi, Bagudu rooted for outright dissolution
By Temitope Adedeji
But for the intervention of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday, December 8, in Abuja, the governing party perhaps would have been enmeshed in a wave of court litigation.
At the NEC meeting presided over by the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the party and Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni, the initial decision reached was that the executive committees of the party from the ward to the national level be dissolved and the National Caretaker Committee given additional powers to appoint qualified members to replace them.
This initial decision was backed by President Muhammadu Buhari and a few of the governors physically present at the meeting.
Uncomfortable with the decision, Vice President Osinbajo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, warned against such, saying it would open the flanks of the party to litigation by the EXCO members who, on appointment in 2018, was given a 4-year mandate.
Some of the governors like Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Nasir-el-Rufai (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello (Kogi) Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) were initially unpersuaded as they rooted for outright dissolution of the EXCOS.
Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who reminded the meeting that he was also a SAN initially prevaricated but eventually supported Osinbajo’s position.
Following the vice president’s powerful argument, the President then ordered that the resolution be re-drafted to reflect that the EXCOS at ward, LG, State, and National which had been dissolved could transform into a caretaker committee at each of the levels.
Even then inside sources at the meeting told WESTERN POST that that part of the resolutions of the NEC meeting was re-drafted three times by the Jigawa Governor Badaru before the real decision was captured.
It was also gathered that a caveat was also introduced: the National caretaker Committee was given the power to dissolve the caretaker committees and appoint new members as the committee where a state chapter is in crisis.
President Buhari, Osinbajo, Buni, and the governors were physically present at the meeting held at the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa while other NEC members joined by virtual means. The other NEC members who participated virtually did not enjoy the benefit of contributing to the debate.
The decisions taken at the NEC meeting included, among others, the extension of the tenure of the National Caretaker Committee, by six months, the powers of NEC transferred to the committee to the effect that it could discipline erring members, and the expulsion of the former Vice Chairman, South-South of the party, Hilliard Ettah, who took the party to court over the dissolution of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee.