Younger members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have said that the reconciliation effort of the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must also be extended to them because they are equally aggrieved.
The members who identified themselves as Younger Stakeholders of the APC stated this while addressing a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking on behalf of other members, Dominic Alancha said the younger stakeholders have in the past few weeks met to look into several issues in the party particularly the crisis in the various state chapters, the proposed tenure elongation and the proposed amendment of the party constitution.
He said the young stakeholders welcome the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu to reconcile aggrieved members of the party, but called on the reconciliator to constitute a formidable team that will help him in carrying out the assignment.
“The meetings discussed the crisis rocking the party in Kogi, Rivers, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and many other states across the country and therefore welcome the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reconcile aggrieved members of the party. However, we call on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to constitute a team of eminent party leaders and members to help him carry out this assignment of reconciling the aggrieved party members including the younger stakeholders who are equally aggrieved. We also call on the party members not to undermine the mission that the President has set out for the National Leader,” Alancha said while addressing the press.
On the issues of tenure elongation proposed for all parties leaders at all levels, the young stakeholders said it is yet to take a position on the matter as there is a sharp division amongst members who are in support or against the elongation. He however added that consultation remains ongoing so as to reach a position on the issue.
While pledging unalloyed support for President Muhamadu Buhari and assuring him of their readiness to work with him to win in the 2019 presidential election if he chooses to run, the young stakeholders called on the party leadership to begin a total reform of the party so as to make it an institution that will be to the benefit of all interested members.
“We resolved not to take anything to chance especially as it concerns the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming election. We pledge our unalloyed support for him and assure him of our willing partnership if he chooses to run for another term. This is why the party leadership must hasten the total reform we envisage and this must be done with the constitution as a guide.”
The stakeholders frowned at the manner the draft amendment of the constitution of the party is being shrouded in secrecy.
They said the amendment to the constitution has further alienated young people from the party with the proposed removal of zonal youth leaders and zonal women leaders from the National Working Committee when it should be expanded the space for the political participation of more young people.
“The draft constitution can best be described as a mess as it has flagrantly and insolently removed the zonal youth leaders and zonal women leaders of the party from the National Executive Committee which the present constitution allows, and then made themselves members of the National Working Committee, National Executive Committee and the Advisory Council which is replacing the Board of Trustees.”
The young stakeholder said the implication of this proposal is that there will be no checks and balances as the same set of people will take decisions and approve same in the different organs of the party.
“While we consider this as a laudable development, the motive behind it appears suspicious. As at today, only very few members of the party are aware that there is a draft constitution. One would expect that the party leadership would have publicly displayed the draft constitution for the input of every member, but the whole exercise has been shrouded in secrecy,” they said.
“To many of them, the party is a vehicle for winning elections, to us it is more than that – it is an institution of democracy and we must do everything to preserve it.”
To correct this, the stakeholders noted that they have constituted a committee to review the draft constitution with the aim of making provisions that will be to the benefit of all members irrespective of age, gender and other demographies.
“The committee has already began work in earnest and the recommendations expected would be forwarded to the appropriate quarters,” the stakeholders stated.
They expressed readiness to meet with the president, the vice president, the chairman of the party and other top party leaders so as to chart a way forward for the APC and make it the only viable political party in Nigeria, adding that they will not sit and watch an institution they have built with their time, energy and resources destroyed by a selfish few.