President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who are displeased with the party and feel deprived of their rights are at liberty to approach the courts for redress.
Backstory: The President was reacting to the position the party recently took when it threatened to sanction party members who insist on going to court over the outcomes of the party’s primaries.
“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,” Buhari said, according to a statement released by his spokesman, Femi Adesina. “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 threatened to punish members across the country who had dragged the party to court over various issues.
A statement from the party read: “The Party intends 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.”
Bottom Line: In a move that is perhaps indicative of the ongoing conflict within the APC, the President’s stance directly contradicts the position taken by the NWC and Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole. President Buhari has taken the democratic path on this matter in repudiation of the anti-democratic approach preferred by the party’s leadership.
One more thing: Buhari made a very interesting comment. He encouraged members to work with the reconciliation committees which the party has set up to help resolve the issues that have threatened the unity of the party. He said the party is the only body authorized to constitute such committees and not a “purported presidential Committee on Reconciliation.”
At what point did Buhari realise that it was the party’s job to set up a reconciliation committee, and not him? Just last February, he set up a curious reconciliation committee headed by APC National leader, Bola Tinubu. The move was considered strange at the time because Tinubu was at the heart of several of the crises bedeviling the party. As expected that mission did not amount to much.