The Prince Hilliard-led National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said President Muhammadu Buhari is not aware of the invitation for the National Executive Council (NEC) slated for Thursday, asking members of the party to disregard the meeting.
In a statement signed Thursday in Abuja by the acting national secretary of the APC, Arch Waziri Bulama, the group said the convener of the meeting has been suspended by the Rivers state chapter of party and the NWC received communication of same on June 21, 2020.
Bulama said Giadom cannot summon a meeting on that date because under the party’s constitution only the National Secretary can do so pursuant to Article 14.3 of the APC constitution.
“We are constrained to once again react to a purported invitation to a National Executive Committee meeting of our great party; the All Progressives Congress (“APC”) issued by one Victor Giadom who until the last general elections in 2019, held the position of Deputy National Secretary of the Party.
“Our esteemed members are advised to disregard this invitation because the author and sole signatory of the said invitation is not member of the National Working Committee (“NWC”) of our party, talk more of being an Acting National Chairman as claimed.
He had voluntarily resigned in compliance with Article 31(1)(i) of our Constitution to contest the position of Deputy Governor in Rivers State during the last general elections and has not been re-nominated by his Zone to return to that office. Further, his non-membership of the NWC has been affirmed by the Courts and an Order restraining him from parading himself as a member of the NWC was granted against him on June 22, 2020 in the case of DELE MOSES & ANOR V APC (SUIT NO: PHC/360/2020) where the Court said inter alia:
‘That an Order of interim injunction be and is hereby made restraining the 1st, 2nd 4th and 5th Defendants, acting by themselves or through any of their officers, agents, or privies from recognizing or regarding the 3rd Defendant/Respondent as the National Chairman or Acting National Chairman or Deputy National Secretary of the 1st Defendant/Respondent or member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the 1st Defendant/Respondent pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.’
“More instructive is the fact that the said invitation copiously references the NEC meeting he illegally sought to convene on March 17, 2020 with a view to resurrecting same to hold on June 25, 2020. Regrettably, this proposed NEC meeting is also infected by the same bug that rendered the former void which is Article 25 (B) of our Constitution which provides:
‘i. The National Executive Committee shall meet every quarter and or at any time decided by the National Chairman or at the request made in writing by at least two-third ofthe members ofthe National Executive Committee provided that not less than 14 days notice is given for the meeting to be summoned.
“ii. Without prejudice to Article 25(B)(i) of this Constitution the National Working Committee may summon an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee at any time, provided that a notice of at least seven (7) days shall be given to all those entitled to attend”.
“It is clear that even a legitimate Chairman is only invested with powers to fix/announce a date for NEC meetings to hold every quarter and nothing more. He cannot summon a meeting on that date because under our Constitution only the National Secretary can do so pursuant to Article 14.3 of our Constitution which provides:
‘14.3. National Secretary The National Secretary shall:
ii. Cause to be issued as directed, notices ofmeetings ofthe National Convention, the National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee of the Party.’
Indeed two-thirds of the members of NEC may also summon a meeting, but it shall be required that the National Secretary gives 14 days notice to all persons entitled to attend.
In this case, the purported invitation was illegally issued on June 23, 2020 and the meeting fixed for June 25, 2020 which gives notice for only 2 days. We concede that a shorter Notice period of 7 days is allowed under our Constitution as stated in 25(b)(ii) above, however, a majority of the members of NWC must have voted to summon such a NEC meeting and that was not the case in this instance.
“Our leader, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is renowned for insisting on compliance with our constitution and rule of law. It can therefore not be true that Mr. President supports the convening of such an illegal NEC by a non-member of APC’s NWC. We urge all to disregard the said Notice as neither the NWC nor the NEC has called for such meeting.”