Cracks in APC over confab … as Tinubu, Mamora, others disagree


There are clear indications that there are cracks on the wall of the main opposition party in the country, the All Progressives Party, APC, on the planned national conference which was announced during the independence anniversary by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The National Executive Committee of the party had last Tuesday described the confab as nothing but a distraction, saying it would not participate in its deliberations. The party’s position was sequel to an earlier pronouncement by its national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, who spoke in similar vein.

Tinubu also said it was a distraction and a ‘Greek gift’. On his arrival from an overseas medical trip about three weeks ago, he had said that the 13-man Advisory Committee for the National Conference, set up by the Federal Government was a Greek gift.

He wondered why the move came suddenly ahead of the 2015 elections, saying, “How do you develop the agenda? It’s a diversionary tactic. “How long have we been talking about this? Why suddenly? Now there is something in political and social history. They say we have Greek gift. Two crumbs of poison that will survive the trappings of the onus. Let us first of all ask ourselves some questions, I am yet to consult with my party, but I see a contradiction here.

I see a diversion here, I see deception here, I see lack of honesty and integrity here, I see a state of a sinking ship that needs no raft any longer; allow it to sink, build a new life, move the nation forward. And the APC NEC hinged its decision to boycott the confab on the fact that the “dialogue was nothing but a mere constitutional amendment process’’ which is already being carried out by the National Assembly.

Some of the governors elected on the platform of the party were also at the meeting, which was also attended by Tinubu himself.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the planned conference as diversionary.

Besides, he said the Federal Government lacked credibility to organise such a conference.Mohammed said, “What we see today is that this government has lost focus; it has lost credibility, it has lost control of the economy.
Insecurity and corruption have attained uncontrollable proportion and at this point in time, this government lacks the credibility to organise a meaningful national conference.

“In any event, we see this thing as nothing but a diversion and what are we talking about a national conference for when even the President (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan) himself has said the outcome of the conference would be subjected to the approval of the National Assembly?

“So, what we really have to do is a constitutional amendment, not a national conference and we shall not be a party to that.” However, at a public function last week at Ikorodu, Lagos, some eminent members of the APC disagreed with their party, as they supported the confab.

The occasion turned out to be another debate as to whether APC should participate or not as members openly took opposing views on the matter. Also, on Thursday in Lagos APC chieftain, Senator Anthony Adefuye, former Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora and former Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, gave their support for the confab.

At the same function, the party’s Interim Chairman in Lagos, Otunba Henry Ajomale and Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Abike Dabiri- Erewa, went along with Tinubu, and the NEC of the party which described the confab as diversionary. Sen. Mamora said that his party irrespective of what is termed the disguised intentions of the President, should participate in the conference.

His words: “For me, I have an approach, which is that you don’t boycott anything, particularly something that you don’t have absolute control over. Because you may discover that at the end of the day, you must have shot yourself in the foot. So, irrespective of reservations or what might sound as disguised intention of Mr. President, and reservations concerning the outcome, I think we should participate as a party. Dialogue in any form is an opportunity to share positions. To that extent, I think APC should participate.”

“Now, having said that, reservations are there, one of which is the fact that we saw it before. We saw it under the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. What came out of it? Again, in the absence of an enabling instrument, of an enabling law, an enabling act, you don’t build something on nothing. We are not under the military where things are put in place with the instrument of decrees.

As this is a civilian administration, Mr. President has no right to make a proclamation in that regard, without a backing of law because sovereignty belongs to the people.” He added, “Again, one of my concerns is what happens in the absence of an enabling act to set up the national conference.

It means that whatever comes out of it as proposal or has recommendations will have to go to the national assembly for incorporation into the constitution by way of amendment. This is where the problem lies. By the way, we are going, it doesn’t seem to me that we would be able to sidetrack or byepass the national assembly.
“As people are saying they don’t want the national assembly to ratify, well the ideal situation is to have the recommendations ratified through a referendum, but we can’t do that without an enabling act, because our present constitution does not provide for a referendum.

Referendum is what is ideal, so that you can be sure that whatever comes out of the confab will not be tampered with or mutilated. Because if it’s going to the national assembly, it will be subjected to various public hearings again and also the decisions of the national assembly must be sent to the state assemblies for two-third concurrence.
“These are the issues. Whatever, the national assembly’s position is on this matter; it must not be beyond the provisions of Section 9 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which provides that the proposal will be passed at the national assembly and then there must be a two-third concurrence of the state assemblies. So these are the anxieties and concerns.”
Asiwaju Basorun also backed the confab when he said “I believe in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and I will support every cause that will keep Nigeria one. For the national confab to come, people have been talking of no-go-areas. I think there are no no-go-areas.

If we don’t avoid this word nogo- area, we may find ourselves where we don’t expect. Certainly, for me, the no-go-area we should all canvass for is that Nigeria must remain a country, that is united and indivisible.” Sen. Anthony Adefuye while backing the confab canvassed the need to participate when he said: “We have been agitating for this conference for a long time.

I think we should seize the opportunity to go to the conference and put the positions of the Yoruba known to everybody. For the conference to represent the people of Nigeria, I want all the governors, past presidents, all the executives of the national assembly and all the ethnic groups must be well represented. Also, the resolutions from the confab must be sent to the national assembly for ratification.”

Ajomale, however, differed with Adefuye, Mamora and Olorunfunmi as he said, “I sincerely stand on the position of our party, that the confab is needless, as it won’t be different from the previous ones we have held. We believe that this confab is a distraction, considering the timing. We believe that the timing is too short for all ethnic nationalities to converge to discuss the way forward for this country.”

Dabiri-Erewa toed the line of the party as she said: “I’m on the side of my party, the question we have raised is what’s the underlying motive behind the national conference. At this point in time, what we need is good governance in Nigeria. We need good leadership in Nigeria.

We need good infrastructure. Nigerians want to live together as one, there’s no doubt about that. “So, anything that will truncate 2015 elections should not be allowed by us. I support the position of my party that we should be careful and look at the underlying motives and intentions.

Most importantly is that let free and fair elections count in Nigeria. The moment Nigerians know that one vote counts, things will change. I can’t really prophesy if anything good or bad can come out of this national conference. But now, I stand with the position of my party.” With these discordant tunes from the ranks of the APC, political watchers doubt if the issue of a national dialogue would not truncate the presumed noble intentions of the main opposition party in the land.



National Mirror
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