With­draws Ap­peal From S/Court Tin­ubu Backs Buhari on NWC, Urges Loy­alty to Party Prin­ci­ples We’ll Drop All Court Cases – Ojezua

Sunday Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Muideen Olaniyi, John Chuks Azu, Ab­dul­la­teef Salau (Abuja), & Us­man A. Bello, (Benin)

The sus­pended Na­tional Chair­man of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC), Com­rade Adams Osh­iom­hole, has ac­cepted the de­ci­sion of the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) dis­solv­ing the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) of the party.

Osh­iom­hole, who ad­dressed a press con­fer­ence in Abuja yes­ter­day, said he had also di­rected his lawyers to with­draw his ap­peal pend­ing at the Supreme Court.

He said he had no re­grets for the role he played in the party and high­lighted his achieve­ments.

Osh­iom­hole said: “You know that re­forms are chal­leng­ing and it will en­tail tak­ing dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions. Mine has been a life of trou­ble and I ac­cepted this and I be­lieve I did my best. I’m happy that at the end of the day, 2019 elec­tions have come and gone, thanks to Nige­rian peo­ple, our pres­i­dent had more votes in 2019 than we had in 2015. We have more mem­bers in the Se­nate and

House of rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“I’m not go­ing into the ques­tion of le­gal­ity or il­le­gal­ity. The bot­tom line is that the pres­i­dent who in­vited me to lead the party and who mo­bilised all the sup­port for my emer­gence as chair­man also presided over the meet­ing where the NWC has now been dis­solved.

“As a demon­stra­tion of my loy­alty to Mr Pres­i­dent, loy­alty to our party and loy­alty Nige­ria na­tion, I have de­cided to ac­cept the de­ci­sion in good faith and to main­tain my loy­alty, my re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari. “Ac­cord­ingly, I have in­structed my lawyers to with­draw my case that is cur­rently pend­ing at the Supreme Court which has to do with the is­sue of my sus­pen­sion. To sus­tain the le­gal ac­tion would be tan­ta­mount to dis­obey­ing one of the de­ci­sions that the pres­i­dent has made.

“I have a duty to live by ex­am­ple. I have taken a bow and ac­cept the de­ci­sion of the NEC.”

Be­fore Osh­iohmole an­nounced his de­ci­sion, five mem­bers of the sacked NWC had de­clared sup­port for the Gov­er­nor Mai Mala Bu­niled Care­taker/Ex­tra-Or­di­nary Con­ven­tion Planning Com­mit­tee of the party.

They in­clude a for­mer Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu; for­mer Na­tional Dis­able Leader, Mushibau Lawan Didi; for­mer Na­tional Youth Leader, Al­haji Sadiq Abubakar; for­mer Deputy Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Mr Yekini Nabena; and for­mer Na­tional Or­ga­niz­ing Sec­re­tary, Emma Ibe­diro.

Al­haji Sadiq Abubakar in his re­marks, said the APC re­mained a pro­gres­sive and ver­i­ta­ble plat­form for the re­al­iza­tion of po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions of youths.

He said: “If our party must move for­ward, we must sup­port the fa­therly ad­mo­ni­tion by Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari to the ef­fect that all those who in­sti­tuted var­i­ous law­suits against the party and its lead­er­ship drop same forth­with. For, if we tear the party apart, we would have played into the hands of the op­po­si­tion whose sole agenda is to “cap­ture” power at the cen­tre and again re­turn the coun­try to the years of the lo­custs.

“It is nei­ther in our in­ter­est nor in the in­ter­est of elec­toral democ­racy to seek to de­stroy our party and the lega­cies of Mr. Pres­i­dent by in­sti­tut­ing law­suits in the af­ter­math of a trou­bleshoot­ing NEC meet­ing which out­come turned out a win-win for all sides.

Also speak­ing yes­ter­day, a for­mer Deputy Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary of the party, Nabena, urged ag­grieved party mem­bers, state fac­tions and mem­bers of the dis­solved NWC among other stake­hold­ers to drop cases against the party in the courts in line with the ad­mo­ni­tion of Pres­i­dent Buhari.

Ibe­diro thanked the pres­i­dent for his in­ter­ven­tion to save the party, say­ing his loy­alty to him was un­shaken and the be­lief in his abil­ity to steer the ship of state was un­al­loyed.

A state­ment jointly signed by for­mer act­ing Na­tional Chair­man, Prince Nt­u­fam Hilliard Eta, and for­mer act­ing Na­tional Sec­re­tary, Arc. Waziri Bu­lama, pledged the loy­alty of the dis­solved NWC to the pres­i­dent.

The state­ment read: “The feed­back from our con­sul­ta­tive en­gage­ments is that we whole­heart­edly ac­cept the de­ci­sion of the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the party. In spe­cific terms, our de­ci­sions are as fol­lows:

“That as party men and stake­hold­ers, we do not in­tend to sus­tain a group ag­i­ta­tion against our party, we ap­pre­ci­ate the in­ter­ven­tion of our revered leader, Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari which must have been dif­fi­cult for him but in­deed the ac­tion of a true states­man, we reaf­firm our un­al­loyed loy­alty to our great Party and ac­cept the author­ity of our fa­ther and pre­em­i­nent leader,

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, we have al­ready be­gun en­gag­ing the care-taker com­mit­tee led by His Ex­cel­lency, Mai Mala Buni and as­sure all that we will not con­test their author­ity but in­stead work self­lessly with the team in its peace and con­sen­sus build­ing ef­forts within our party, we con­firm our avail­abil­ity to sup­port the Party’s elec­tion­eer­ing ef­forts in the forth­com­ing Edo State gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion on Septem­ber 19, 2020.”

We are ready to with­draw court cases – Ojezua

The Edo State chair­man of the APC, Aslem Ojezua, ex­pressed readi­ness to with­draw all the cases in­sti­tuted in courts as di­rected by the pres­i­dent.

Ojezua, who dis­closed this yes­ter­day in Benin in a tele­phone in­ter­view, said they were work­ing on clar­i­fi­ca­tion on how to pro­ceed about the with­drawal of the cases.

“I agreed that all cases should be with­drawn. But I think it would be nice to review each case and see how many of this can be re­solved out­side the court be­fore peo­ple can with­draw such case,” he said.

He promised to re­solve all is­sues that made peo­ple to go to court, say­ing it would not be in the best in­ter­est of the party to con­tinue the cases in court.

We have not been con­tacted – Lawyers

One of the lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Osh­iom­hole at the Court of Ap­peal in Abuja in the mo­tion seek­ing to stop the ex­e­cu­tion of the court’s judg­ment of June 16 af­firm­ing his sus­pen­sion by an FCT High Court how­ever said he had not re­ceived any in­struc­tion to with­draw the case.

The lawyer, who spoke on the grounds of anonymity, said he only read the di­rec­tive from news plat­forms.

An­other lawyer, Wale Afo­labi Esq, in­formed Daily Trust on Sun­day that the par­ties were still in court over the chair­man­ship dis­pute, adding that he read about the is­sue of with­drawal in the news­pa­pers.

Afo­labi’s clients are mem­bers of Osh­iom­hole’s Ward 10 in Et­sako West Lo­cal Govern­ment of Edo State, who brought the suit which was up­held by an FCT High Court on March 4 sus­pend­ing Osh­iom­hole as chair­man of the APC.

“When we get to the Court of

Ap­peal on Mon­day, we will see what will hap­pen,” he said.

The judg­ment of three­mem­ber panel of jus­tices led by Jus­tice Eu­nice Onye­me­nam had on June 16 held that Osh­iom­hole’s sus­pen­sion on Novem­ber 2, 2019 at his Ward 10 in Et­sako West Lo­cal Govern­ment Area in Edo State was rat­i­fied by the ward, lo­cal govern­ment and state chap­ters of the party.

Sub­se­quently, Osh­iohm­hole filed two ap­peals in­clud­ing: Ap­peal no: CA/A/187/2020 and CA/A/188/2020 chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sions.

It’s a show of loy­alty to Pres­i­dent – Nkire

A chieftain of the APC and mem­ber of its na­tional cau­cus, Chief Sam Nkire, com­mended Osh­iom­hole and mem­bers of the NWC for ac­cept­ing the de­ci­sion in the in­ter­est of the party and coun­try.

Chief Nkire said: “This is heart­warm­ing and a show of the high­est de­gree of loy­alty to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari and our great party.”

Dis­so­lu­tion of NWC not puni­tive – Yusuf

A mem­ber of the party’s Care­taker and Ex­tra­or­di­nary Na­tional Con­ven­tion Planning Com­mit­tee, Sen­a­tor Yusuf A. Yusuf, says the dis­so­lu­tion of the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) was not to pun­ish any­one.

The sen­a­tor, who rep­re­sents Taraba Cen­tral in the Se­nate, told jour­nal­ists in Abuja that the NEC de­ci­sion was not only to solve the cri­sis rock­ing the party, but also to save the coun­try.

“This is not to say there is a vic­tor and a van­quished, no. It is just a way of mak­ing things to move for­ward so that we can all sit to­gether in one house, rec­on­cile with one an­other and then carry ev­ery­body along,” he said.

He added that the NEC’s de­ci­sion to dis­solve the NWC was right to fur­ther cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for other po­lit­i­cal par­ties to flour­ish. He said the com­mit­tee had started reach­ing out to those ag­grieved with a view to bring­ing ev­ery­one to the ne­go­ti­a­tion ta­ble.

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