APC crisis: Oshiomhole loyalist threaten legal action as Buhari backs NEC meeting


President Muhammadu Buhari has given the go ahead for the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) slated for Tuesday, presidency sources revealed yesterday.

One of the sources said the meeting was called with the explicit support of President Buhari and that he will attend.

“It (the NEC) has his authorisation. So, the question of whether he will attend is pathological,” the source said. This is just as the camp of the suspended National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is considering court action to halt the emergency NEC meeting.

The notice for the NEC meeting, which was issued by the acting National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, has created a crack in the National Working Committee (NWC), with the camp loyal to Oshiomhole against it, while the Giadom group is pushing for it.

Members of the NWC who are against the NEC meeting include Babatunde Ogala Esq (legal adviser), Mallam Lanre Onilu (publicity secretary) and Arc Waziri Bulama (newly appointed secretary yet to be inaugurated). The party has been without a national chairman since penultimate Wednesday when an Abuja High Court suspended Oshiomhole. Another court order secured from a Federal High Court sitting in Kano by Oshiomhole has not changed the situation.

A member of the party’s NEC who spoke to our correspondent on anonymity, said members of the camp of the suspended national chairman are all out to stop the emergency meeting.

“They are shopping for an interlocutory injunction to stop the NEC. They don’t want the meeting to be held because they fear that Oshiomhole would be removed at the meeting,” he said. Contacted, one of the aides to Oshiomhole told our correspondent, “we are working on something but don’t quote me.”

A chieftain of the party in Edo State loyal to Oshiomhole, Henry Idahiagbon, said the planned NEC meeting was illegal. “The convener of the meeting lacks the power to call for a meeting under our party’s constitution. The provision for calling a meeting is provided by the constitution and anything done without that is illegal,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the party’s secretariat in Abuja yesterday, distribution of identity tags for the NEC meeting has commenced. The tags and invitations were distributed by the chief security officer of the party.

Sources said only those with tags would be allowed into the venue of the meeting which is expected to be attended by Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, among other members of the NEC. It was gathered that tags for Oshiomhole and members of the NWC in his camp were not produced.

Efforts to speak to National Publicity Secretary Mallam Lanre Issa Onilu on the matter yielded no result as he did not pick his calls. For his part, the National Vice Chairman South South, Hilliard Eta said he would not attend the meeting.

He also distanced the leaders of the party in the South South from the consultative meeting called by Governor of Edo State Godwin Obaseki, saying the governor has no powers to call such meeting. Governor Obaseki had reportedly sent letters of invitation to leaders of the party in the zone, to attend a consultative meeting today (Thursday) to discuss Oshiomhole’s issues.

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