The state chairmen of the All Progressives Congress, on Monday, insisted on the one-year elongation of the tenure of the party’s national officers.

The tenure of the APC national officers was extended by one year, with effect from June 30, at a joint meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee, in Abuja, on February 27, 2018.

Some members of the APC, who are not happy with the development, have gone to court to challenge the decision.

However, the APC State Chairmen’s Forum is insisting on the extension of the tenure of the party’s national officers.

The National Secretary of the APC State Chairmen’s Forum, and chairman of the party in Enugu State, Dr. Ben Nwoye, who made the forum’s position known, while addressing journalists on Monday, said the decision to elongate the tenure of the national officers was in the best interest of the party and the nation.

Speaking at the APC secretariat in Enugu, Nwoye said those who went to court to challenge the decision had automatically expelled themselves from the party, according to the APC constitution.

Nwoye described the litigants as fifth columnists who were hired by the ‘so-called third force’ to destabilise the party.

The Enugu APC chairman noted that the state chairmen had met and agreed on a two-year extension of the tenure of the national officers, before the NEC and NWC decided on a one-year elongation.

Nwoye said, “Some people have been critical of the decision of the NEC to extend the tenure of the national officers, but speaking as the National Secretary of the APC Chairmen’s Forum, I want to state that the development was in order. It was in the best interest of the party and the nation.

“Before the NEC meeting in Abuja, the forum met and unanimously agreed to advocate and advance tenure elongation for the national officers. We felt it would harm the party to go into congresses in an election year.

“The chairmen, at the meeting, agreed on two years’ extension.

“The chairmen, in a resolution, passed a vote of confidence in Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari; in the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; in the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and in the reconciliation committee.”

Nwoye added that the NEC eventually approved a one-year tenure extension for the national officers.

Nwoye argued that aggrieved members of the party, who were in the ‘minority’, ought to have channeled their grievances through the internal mechanisms of the party, including the Tinubu-led reconciliation committee.

He said, “They now want to overturn what the majority has done; those who have issues with the elongation should have gone to the reconciliation committee to submit their grievances, instead they went to court.

“It is either that they are not APC members or they don’t know the party’s constitution.

“No true party member will look at what is happening and decide to go to court. There is no limit to the grievances that can be brought before the reconciliation committee.

“Those who went to court are being used by the so-called third force to destabilise the APC,” Nwoye added.

He described the anti-tenure elongation suit as an ‘anti-party’ activity.

Nwoye said, “According to the APC constitution, you cannot take the party to court. So, those who filed lawsuits stand expelled from the party.

“You are automatically expelled from the party when you file a lawsuit without exhausting the available remedies provided within the party’s internal mechanisms – you just can’t file a lawsuit because you disagree with the decision of the NEC.”

Asked whether he was calling for the expulsion of all those challenging the decision in court, Nwoye said, “I am not calling for their expulsion, the constitution says they should be expelled.

“According to constitutional provisions, they have automatically expelled themselves. They can also recall themselves by withdrawing the suit.

“You cease to be member of the APC once you decide to go to court.”

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