The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari’s party, appears to be taking a turn for the worse. The party’s Deputy National Chairman North, Senator Lawan Shuaibu, who is at dagger-drawn with his principal, Adams Oshiomhole, has said that the newly inaugurated five-man disciplinary committee by the Oshiomhole’s faction lacks the Constitutional power to probe him.
He brought this to the knowledge of the probe panel in a letter to the committee’s chairman, Otunba Niyi Adebayo.
The worsening crisis in the party is playing out as Senator Ali Ndume is busy unsettling the Senator Ahmad Lawan camp in the battle for the Presidency of the 9th Senate. Insiders say the Lawan camp is not comfortable with the late massive surge in support for Ndume.
Officialy, Lawan is the anointed one by the hierarchy of the APC for the top Senate office that automatically makes the occupant the number three citizen of Nigeria. But the defiant Ndume has been busy engaging senators-elect and leaders across the country to support him to wrestle Lawan to the ground.
It seems, the engagements have given his campaign a boost as many APC governors and senators-elect tend to see him as a better candidate for the job. They are of the view that Ndume will work for the interest of the whole country and not the interest of godfathers nor the tyranny of the APC.
Lawan’s choice is however, being dubbed as a stooge who will only promote selfish interests of certain cabals. Northern liberals believe Ndume can balance Buhari’s conservatism to calm nerves in the National Assembly and stablise the polity.
Lawan is also seen as being extremely conservative and considered a bigot even as the opposition fears APC despotism under a Buhari’s presidency and Lawan’s National Assembly leadership.
Furthermore, APC players in the Southern part of Nigeria are said to be rejecting Lawan’s candidature on the alleged ground that he never supported anything that is considered southern interests since 1999 when he began his legislative career in the House of Representatives.
Recently, Ndume in a statement expressed confidence that he will win regardless of Lawan’s endorsement by the ruling APC and former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu, believed to be pursuing a 2023 presidential ambition, adding that the final decision on who becomes the President of the 9th Senate will rest squarely with the Senators-elect.
Already, President Buhari in line with the constitutional provision had onThursday, dissolved the eighth session of the National Assembly (NASS) and announced the proclamation of the Ninth session.
The Ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated, and first sitting will be held on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 by 10:00 a.m. The Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and other principal officers of both chambers will be elected at the first sitting.
In the mean time, Shuaibu has advised the Oshiomhole probe committee to follow due process of law and the party’s Constitution to avoid driving it into the muds.
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) on Thursday, set up a five-man disciplinary committee to investigate allegations leveled by Shuaibu against Oshiomole. The committee according to Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC National Publicity Secretary is to particularly investigate Shuaibu’s allegation against Oshiomole on issues involving the collective decisions of the NWC.
The committee is also to investigate alleged instigation of Senators and members of House of Representatives by Shuaibu against the decision of the party on the choice of presiding officers for the ninth National Assembly.
However, Shuaibu while acknowledging receipt of a letter of invitation to appear before the committee, said it lacked the Constitutional backing to investigate him, pointing out that the APC Constitution in Article 21 stated that such power shall only be exercised by the party through its respective Executive Committee at all levels.
He, therefore, stressed that he will not appear before the “illegal” committee, saying that he was too informed to get involved in illegalities, adding, ‘’I was initially gladdened by an earlier statement by the National Publicity Secretary in his media reaction to my letter,that the issues raised in the letter are between two leaders.
‘’I wonder at what stage it became a NWC issue, and I don’t know from where the NWC derived the power of discipline. I am not a lawyer, but I have been in the political party system for about a decade now to know that every decision of the party shall be in line with what its Constitution stipulates.
‘’When I served as a National Secretary, my own National Chairman would insist that I worked with the National Legal Adviser for advice on every issue before any decision was arrived at. Otunba my honest advice to you is, since you are the closest NWC member to the Chairman, in order not to drive the party into the muds, always insist on following the due process of law.
‘’All he needs to do is to work closely with the Legal Adviser and not to mock his advice, because if we find any failure in that instance you cannot blame the lawyer’’, stressing that the allegation that he was inciting National Assembly members against the party’s nominees for the ninth National Assembly was; ‘’to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it’’.
While claiming that the allegations against him were weighty, Shuaibu said he will not be intimidated, and that he had never played double standard in his life or told lies for any favour. He maintained that he depended on God for all his needs and favour.
Continuing, he said, ‘’if you want to punish me for saying what I still believe is true, then you have to take this matter to where you are avoiding, the National Executive Committee (NWC). My advice is please let us save this party, as a stitch in time saves nine. I assure you there is nothing personal about this, except that my concern that the party is drifting.’’