…Says Aggrieved Party Members At Liberty to Approach Court
President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Working Committee NWC of the All Progressive Congress may be heading for a collision course as the President has directed aggrieved members of the party to approach the law courts if they so desired.
The directive was specifically channeled to aggrieved party members protesting the shoddy manner the ruling party held its primaries at the state and council levels.
However, Buhari’s directive contradicts that of the party’s executive which had barred members from approaching the court to seek redress.
Instead, they should use the reconciliatory committee already constituted by the party.
The President said, “If anyone is displeased with the way and manner anything has been done and feels deprived of his/her rights, then such a person is at liberty to approach the courts for redress.
“We can’t deliberately deny people of their rights. We agreed that party primaries should be conducted either through direct, indirect or consensus methods, and if anyone feels unjustly treated in the process, such a person can go to court. The court should always be the last resort for the dissatisfied. For the party to outlaw, the court process is not acceptable to me.”
The APC, in a decision ascribed to the National Working Committee (NWC) had last week threatened to punish members across the country who had dragged the party to court over various issues.
According to an initial statement released by the party, “We intend to activate constitutional provisions to penalize such members as their action is capable of undermining the Party and hurt the Party’s interest.
“We hereby strongly advise such members to withdraw all court cases, while approaching the appropriate party organs with a view to resolving any outstanding disputes. In addition to this, aggrieved members are urged to take full advantage of the reconciliation committees the Party has put in place.
“APC members should understand that as a progressive party that operates on the principle of change, it is not a matter of choice to keep to the rules.”
But in another twist to the directive, President Buhari advised members to also work with the reconciliation committees constituted for the six geo-political zones by the APC, and not a purported Presidential Committee on Reconciliation, stressing that the Party is the only body authorized to constitute such committees.
Recall that series of protest greeted the outcome of primary elections conducted in most states of the federation, with most of the contestants calling for the resignation of the chairman, Adams Oshiohmole.
At some point, President Buhari made attempts to intercede by meeting with some of the aggrieved members across the country.
After the primaries, the worst hit appeared to be the Governors of Imo and Ogun, Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun both of whom had visited the Presidential Villa to table their complaints.