Factions of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers, Imo and Kwara States are at risk of being expelled from the party, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.
This is likely to happen if the provisions of Article 21 V of the APC Constitution 2014 (as amended) is activated.
The article reads, “Any member who files an action in court of law against the party or any of its officers on any matter or matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the party without first exhausting the avenues for redress provided for in this constitution shall automatically stand expelled from the party on filing such action and no appeal against expulsion as stipulated in this clause shall be entertained until the withdrawal of the action from court by the member.”
However , a top-ranking party source, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to “derail last-ditch reconciliation efforts,” told our correspondent that everything humanly possible was being done to broker peace.
He said, “We do have challenges in the three States you mentioned but everything is being done to restore peace. If you look at the three cases carefully, what is at play is a battle of egos.
“In Rivers, for example, you have a serving Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, a political leader in his own right ; and his estranged political associate, Senator Magnus Abe, fighting for control. In Imo, it is a former Governor, now Senator, Rochas Okorocha, who is struggling for political space with his successor, Governor Hope Uzodinma.
“In Kwara, it is a combination of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki; and others who are in battle for control against Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
“As has been the tradition with our party since inception, in States where we have a sitting Governor, the Governor is without question the leader of the party in the State. Where we don’t, the highest-ranking party member in Government fills in.
“But you know human beings – everybody wants to be respected. If, for any reason, these aggrieved party members refuse to see reason, the party may be left with no option but to wield the big stick and expel them.”
A Gombe State chieftain of the party, Abdullahi Jalo, while commenting on the issue, said, “Party supremacy cannot be compromised when you are in the process of rebuilding. Yes, the APC is looking for members, but as a lawyer, I know we need to operate within our law, which in the case of the APC, is our constitution.
“The provision of the law is clear on what constitutes an offence and how it can be dealt with. No member is bigger than the party.”
When contacted, the National Secretary of the APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, said, “Well, our membership registration is going ahead across Nigeria. I will have to find out if we have been served any court process with regard to Rivers State.”