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Friday, 25 March 2016

My office not under threat, says Oyegun

Fresh facts have emerged on what the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) discussed at their national caucus meeting on Tuesday. The meeting, which held at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, had President Muhammadu Buhari, his vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, leadership of the National Assembly, serving and past governors, among others, in attendance.

New Telegraph gathered that the leaders discussed the issue of appointments of party members into positions, party’s finances and the review of the party’s constitution to accommodate the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party.

The state of the economy, the national budget and the crises in some state chapters of the party were among issues the party leaders discussed. A source stated that discussions focused on the appointment of members of the party into some positions by the Federal Government in a bid to reduce tension within the party. According to the source, it was agreed that more appointments would help the party settle down better as a political machine.

He said: “What happened was that we reviewed the performance of the party and also looked at the 2014 expenditure and also the budget of the party. “We also hammered on the issue of appointments.

If there are appointments, there would be less tension in the party.” State chapters of the party had submitted list of 50 members each for consideration for appointments into boards of federal agencies, commissions and parastatals.

The president is yet to constitute the boards and delay in appointing party members has heightened tension in APC. It was gathered that the caucus members agreed that the party’s constitution was a little bit defective on its BoT.

The members suggested the need to amend its constitution. A member of the caucus, who spoke with New Telegraph, stated that the caucus could not set up constitution review committee because it has no such mandate.

According to him, only the National Working Committee (NWC) or the National Executive Committee (NEC) can set up such. It was further learnt that the NEC, which holds today, would set up the constitution review committee.

The last time APC reviewed its constitution was 2014 to accommodate new entrants into the party and to allow them stand for elections. As previously reported by this newspaper, the party leaders were concerned by its finances.

The national chairman briefed the national caucus on the state of finance of the party, which is not encouraging. He, however, stated that the issue of replacement of the national chairman was not raised at the meeting. He rather said that the leaders agreed to go back to the spirit that made them to win elections last year. He said:

“I never heard anything like that. No! No!! No!!! What has the national chairman done for anybody to remove him? If the party loses election, was it the fault of the national chairman?” The security at the party’s national secretariat has been tightened ahead of today’s NEC meeting. Security men from the Presidential Villa were at the secretariat to assess the security situation and reorganise some. Meanwhile, Oyegun has denied reports that his position in the party was currently being threatened.

The APC chairman stated this in an interview with State House Correspondents after a meeting of the national caucus of the party with Buhari on Tuesday night at the presidential villa, Abuja. He said having led the NWC to such an important meeting, it was clear that he is still in charge of the party affairs. Oyegun said: “I am not aware that my office is under threat. I led the party to the State House. It amazes me, occasionally it annoys me.

“That is one of the things you have to endure when you are in a position like mine.” The party chairman explained that holding public office in Nigeria required a lot of patience. He told reporters that the national caucus of the party discussed all the challenges that have occurred since the elections. He said: “We did decide on the way forward. It was a very serious meeting that discussed serious issues that have to do with the progress of the party. Basically, we are expecting the budget to be out, and once that is done, implementation of our policies will start.

“That is what we will use to deliver on our promises to the people. So, we are waiting. “Skirmishes among party members are normal. We have set up a committee that is looking into all those issues and will resolve those issues.

“We don’t just recover money and spend it. We recover money and it will go into revenue, it will be deployed appropriately with the normal legislative approach.” On the performance of the party, he stressed that: “Don’t say one year into the present administration, count this year because this is the year we are presenting our budget and implementation will start.”

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