The Special Adviser on Political Matters to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and 11 other bigwigs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State have been invited to appear before an eight-man disciplinary panel raised by the state chapter of the party.
Others invited included: Oyetunde Ojo, Femi Adeleye, Bunmi Ogunleye, Akin Akomolafe, Bamigboye Adegoroye, Wole Oluyede, Olusoga Owoeye, Dele Afolabi, Toyin Oluwasola, Ayo Ajibade and Ben Oguntuase.
The 12 APC chieftains are to appear before the eight-man committee within 10 days, starting from today for their failure to withdraw cases instituted against the party.
Addressing reporters in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, a member of the panel and APC’s Director of Media and Publicity, Sam Oluwalana, said the committee was set up to invite and query them for their alleged recalcitrant posture.
He said the leaders refused to withdraw the cases despite the directive given by the National Executive Committee of the party on July 25 demanding immediate withdrawal of cases.
This, he said, forced the party to invoke Article 21 of the APC constitution by way of commencement of suspension procedure against them.
Ojudu and Oluyede had escaped being suspended, as members of their APC Ado-Ekiti Ward 8 and Ugele/Arokun Ward in Ikere-Ekiti exonerated them from anti-party activities, saying they had not committed any infraction or anti-party activity that could warrant sanctions.
The executive councils of the two wards, at their emergency meetings, passed votes of confidence in the two leaders, saying they could not be intimidated or induced to carry out actions that would put the party in disrepute.
But in a swift reaction, Senator Ojudu described the action of the party as a nullity and of no effect, saying the party’s SWC lacks the power to suspend any member.
“The decision is laughable and negates the constitution of the party because the State Working Committee lacks the power to suspend any member. It is only the ward that can do that. They are setting out on a path of perdition and I wish them goodluck,” he said.
The meetings were held in the wake of reports that the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party was allegedly mandated by Fayemi to ensure that those opposed to him within the party were suspended for alleged anti-party activities.
Oluwalana said the committee headed by former Speaker Ajigbolamu has been given 10 days to complete its assignments and report to the party’s NWC via the SWC for proper action.
“You will recall that on July 25, the National Executive Council headed by President Buhari passed a resolution directing members of the party to withdraw not to institute any court action and to withdraw their cases in court in order to explore the internal conflict resolution mechanisms of the party.
“The caretaker committee finds it worrisome that despite the directive of NEC and the subsequent steps taken by the party to ensure compliance, there have been a number of court cases by party members seeking the dissolution of the Caretaker Committee/State Congresses in disregard of the directive of NEC.
“The leadership of the party has decided to invoke Article 21 of the party constitution against members of the party who have flouted the directive.”
Oluwalana said the composition of the disciplinary committee was in line with the directive given by the Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee that each chapter must set up a committee to try alleged erring members.
“Let me clarify here, this is not a suspension but an invitation. We are not here to witch-hunt anybody; those involved will be given fair hearing.
“But we are worried that many of our members have not withdrawn those cases and there must be discipline among our ranks.”