The National Executive Committee (NEC) is an important organ of every political party. Though there are no specific definitions of NEC, but according to Peoples Democratic Party 2012 constitution as amended the National Executive Committee is the highest law making organ and practically decides everything about the party. ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU writes.
Almost all political parties in Nigeria share some similarity, if not in the entire constitution, but in the composition and functions of the NEC as outlined. So from activities of this important organ of political parties, one can clearly understand situations within any political party.
PDP after the supreme jugdement
Since the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, the PDP’s National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has managed to organised three NEC meetings: the 74th, 75th and 76th NEC meeting. Its July 18, 2017 NEC meeting was well attended by almost all that were qualified to attend.
According to a statement made available to the press by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, “NEC deliberated on various national and party issues and resolved as follows: the reinstatement of all state excos that were elected at the April/May 2016 congresses and later reversed by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff after the February 17, 2017 Court of Appeal judgement in Port Harcourt, Rivers Sate. The holding of Non- elective Special National Convention on the 12th August, 2017 in Abuja regarding the Tenure of the Caretaker Committee which expires on the 16th of August, 2017 and other related matters”.
The 74th NECmeeting also received a memo for the amendment of certain sections of the party constitution.
75TH AND 76TH PDP NEC meetings
The PDP also organized its 75th NEC meeting and its special non-elective National Convention on Friday and Saturday the 11th and 12th of August, 2017. All these were quickly put together to avoid another loopholes that may bring about another crisis.
“NEC proposed a four months extension for the National Caretaker Committee (NCC), in order to allow time to prepare and conduct an elective National Convention to elect new officers for the PDP,” a statement signed by Adeyeye said at the end of the 75th meeting.
The 76th NEC held on October 24, 2017 dwelled on the date for the forthcoming elective National Convention and approved December 9 – 10, 2017. Another important aspect touched was some relevant sections of the party constitution in order to reflect current realities and the approved sections of the constitution are subjected to approval by the National Convention.
The PDP thereby met the mandatory at least 3 times in a year NEC meeting.
APC and the fear of NEC meeting
Since the All Progressive Congress APC became the ruling party, the party and its members are, in the words of many analysts, scared of holding intra-party meetings at national level, especial the National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings. Despite the importance of the NEC meeting, the party and its leadership find it difficult to organize one. This, according to many, is due to the composition of the party: different individuals with opposing ideological leanings and political interests.
In a recent interview, Chief Chekwas Okorie, presidential candidate of the United Progressives Party (UPP) in the 2015 presidential election, described the All Progressives Congress (APC), as a party without a distinct leading light.
“Because if there is an accredited meeting of the party, (Asiwaju Bola) Tinubu will not be there because he is not a member of the NEC and this is the APC that is almost three years old but does not have a Board of Trustees (BoT) because it couldn’t constitute one for fear of internal squabbles.It’s a shame the party cannot organize itself well.
“The BoT is about a group of elders that are put together to become the conscience of the party, which intervenes in time of crisis such as this. There is unity now among the PDP senators and don’t be surprised if one day they decide to target the president”, he said.
The former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had never hidden his feelings about the leadership of the party. Sometimes ago, he said, “Party founders realized that only by intramural fair dealing could the party remain faithful to the progressive ideals that we presented to the Nigerian electorate as our governing creed. If the party could not justly govern itself, it would find it difficult to establish and maintain just government throughout the nation. In essence, the party was the embodiment of a democratic promise made between its members as well as a democratic vow made to the public.
“Evidently, some errant members believe promises and vows are mere words to be easily spoken and more easily broken. Chairman, John Oyegun, has breached these good pledges in a most overt and brazen display. In doing so, Oyegun has dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead. It is an awful parent who suffocates his own child for the sake of a few naira. The party was supposed to buttress the APC members elected to government at all levels. (But) because of Oyegun’s conduct of our affairs, the party is rapidly becoming an albatross to those it was meant to help”.
Asiwaju’s comment, to many analysts, was an indicator that all is not well with the ruling political party, though some think he was just selfish.
Just like the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, also condemned the leadership of the party. “For a number of years now, we have had political parties, even governing ones, which hardly hold meetings of their important organs, including those meant for the democratic selection of their leadership, or even constitute institutions prescribed in their constitution.
“In the absence of those meetings and elections, their existing leadership, often under the direction of the executive at the state or federal level, fills the void. That’s not party building but party bullying. And it’s certainly not a way to democratize parties and aggregate their members’ opinions, interests and aspirations”, Atiku in apparent reference to Chief Oyegun’s failure to organise NEC meetings.
Atiku’s statement only restates and confirms the obvious: the party is an amalgam of refugees with many problems, which they are scared of discussing.
APC shady NEC meeting
Berated on all fronts for failure to hold required statutory meetings, the Oyegun-led national executive decided to organize what many have described as a shady NEC meeting. Ordinarily, many had thought issues like Oyegun’s impeachment, Buhari’s second term, restructuring and other party issues would have merited serious consideration, but it was a shady gathering of party big wigs that avoided these issues for the fear of backlash.
The APC NEC meeting only constituted a convention committee, which will assign acceptable date for the party’s national convention. And just to calm fray the nerves of aggrieved party members, President Buhari promised to reshuffle and expand his cabinet.
These moves, according to many analysts, are temporary measures, which some think will not stand the test of time. The APC will definitely drag itself to the full glare of the public, if it fails or shy away from discussing the intra party problems they are faced with.
Mirror of the APC and PDP
From the above, the through image of the two leading political parties in Nigeria can be well comprehended. The Chairman National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, seems to be getting the support of many party stalwarts and followers. He can be described as a good listener, who listens to the cries of party members. This is evident by the consideration of issues either raised by or centred on members or followers at their NEC meetings.
In contrast, the APC leaders appear to be drawn away from its members and supporters. Style of leadership seems to have created a huge gulf between Chief Oyegun and some national leaders and supporters. This has further widened the crack in the ruling party.
Also, the PDP seems to be on a right track. According to some political pundits, the PDP knows that there are problems within the party, but deliberately seeks consensus through consistent meetings. Unlike the APC, the PDP uses the NEC meetings to discuss party problems in order to strengthen and enshrine party supremacy in the minds of party members.
The APC national executive seems to be postponing the evil days, which many analysts have predicted will come, if the party continues to shy away from the truth. It is important for the APC to agree that there are problems, meets and discusses and proffers solutions to them.
Many have pointed out the APC are in a mess because the people that destroyed the PDP are now in the APC. This might be true, because if one compares the problems during the PDP’s trying times with the current intra-party problems in the APC, there are indeed some level of resemblance. So, is the APC doing the old the PDP ways?
No matter how long it takes for the APC stalwarts to agree that there are problems, no matter the propaganda and political dribbles, Nigerians from the party’s activities now understand that the ruling party is in a big mess.