In this report, HUSSAINI JIRGI dissects the crisis emanating from the purported suspension of Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, from the Yobe State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Yobe State chapter last month expelled the former gubernatorial candidate of the party who was recently appointed as Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Alhaji Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja.
Following his appointment by the President Muhammadu Buhari, the state chapter of the party issued a statement signed by its state secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Bakabe, said that the resolve to expel Maihaja was reached during the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting of the party over his alleged flagrant abuse of the APC constitution.
The statement which was made available to our state correspondent after the expulsion showed that section 21’D’ Sub-Section (V) of the APC constitution empowered the SEC to take punitive measures against erring party members.
The statement alleged that Maihaja was accused of abusing the party’s constitution by filing court action challenging the Yobe state governorship election in the state, which was worn by Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, without exhausting other avenues of seeking redness within the confines of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Leadership gathered that the new Director General of NEMA, went to court where he challenged the nomination of Ibrahim Gaidam as the only party’s candidate in the last 2015 governorship election, on the grounds that the governor had twice taken oath of office as governor, first when he was elevated from deputy governor after the death of late Governor Senator Mamman Bello Ali and second time after winning the 2011 governorship election.
Recall that Maihaja lost the case both at the court of Appeal and the Supreme court. After the Supreme Court judgement, the APC state chapter said that Maihaja acted against Section 21 ‘A’ Sub-Section 10 of the APC Constitution, which warned members against filing action n a court of law against the party or any of its offices on any matter without first exhausting all avenues provided for in the party’s constitution.
However, it was also claimed that the action of the NEMA Director General had created divisions, disaffection, disunity and lack of loyalty within the rank and file of the party. In view of this, the party has expelled NEMA DG indefinitely and is hereby advised from this day to desist from parading himself as a member of the great party of APC” the statement disclosed.
Sparking to our state correspondent on phone, former state Treasurer of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Hon Muhammed Gaskanta, who is a loyalist to the new NEMA DG, said that the decision of the state APC to suspend Maihaja was baseless and clearly based on tribalism by the state government because they want to tarnish his image ahead of the 2019 governorship election in the state.
He added that, “let me use this medium to tell you that if you could remember during the last year general elections, the APC, both national and state level used security operatives to bar them from entering the state secretariat to submit Maihaja’s form of expression of interest to contest the 2015 gubernatorial seat with Gaidam, who was declared by the state APC as he its sole candidate”.
He further stated that “as the result of this, we resolved to going to court because the governor, APC officials and very few members of the house refused to see us or listen our complain, because they have power in their hand. This is the second time, it is not the first time they want to tarnish the image of Maihaja from hundreds of his supporters. They don’t have the right to expel him from the party.
This is political manipulation to cover the reality.”
“The reality is that there is civilian dictatorship in Yobe state. This administration of Gaidam is not fit to be called democratic, we need to stand up for what we believe in. Can what happened during the late Usman Albashir and the late Governor Mamman Ali happen again? The Yobe people, both part executive and supporters of the APC will decide. It is not a decision that an individual can take alone. The executive know very perfectly well the truth.”
“Maihaja can only be removed or suspended by the party’s national level with adequate input from the Board of Trustees (BoT) and not the ward, local government, state officials or an individual. I don’t have time to talk about who doesn’t like our political leader in the state. I’m too busy loving the people who love DG.”
Chairman of the party who spoke to Leadership shortly after the party’s meeting with Executive members of the party said the suspension of the party’s officials in the state still stands because they are yet to receive any letter from the national headquarters of the party, which upturned the suspension.
Chilariye said that “we will continue to respect and have regard for the party’s constitution, and expect the leadership to avail them opportunity to defend their recent action made by the state executive of the party.”
It was gathered that the crisis in the Yobe state chapter of the APC has opened a new chapter in what had started since 2016 when the party announced the suspension of its 11 executive members in Zone B senatorial district comprising Potiskum, Fune, and Fika Local Government areas over what the state party secretary described as insubordination and indiscipline. He added that “APC is a political party which has set on the tenets of rule of law, justice and fair play, it is not a tyrannical contraption in which the tyrant does as he wishes. APC has rules and regulations governing its operations.”
He said that there are laid down procedures of punishing any errant member of the party whenever he circumvents the laid down rules. All those rules and build up to our illegal suspension, when the party suspension by concerned members, he only alluded that it was at the behest of the executive governor but one thing the acting chairman
seems to have missed in the sordid drama is that the governor has no right whatsoever to use executive fiat to suspend any member of the party because the party is an independent entity and not a personal property of the governor, so the governor has no right to order the suspension of anybody.
He said that still DG is a full member of the party and others were also duly and constitutionally elected and he will never succumb to illegal suspension, already we have written a strong petition about the impudence but they failed to respond.
We therefore extended the complaint to the zonal vice chairman informing him about the ugly development, the acting chairman becomejittery of our actions and they now turned back and suspended only 11 of us for 18 months and one said issue is that all the suspension is illegal.
The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NAME) told our correspondent on phone that he has not been suspended by the Yobe state chapter of the APC, describing those that announced his purported suspension in the media as “hawks” that carried out directives of some APC leaders in the state, who he said were all to discredit him.
“Ordinarily, I did not want to react to this matter. There are rules on how people should be suspended. You don’t wake up one morning and say that this person has been suspended from a party. Political party is not owned by a single individual, it is owned by collective interests and people in the party should have a say”, he started.
One of the APC members in the state, Isa Mohammed Gadaka, said that candidate imposition by the APC-led administration was responsible for the party’s failure to retain its Senate, House of Representatives and members of the state House of Assembly.
His words: “You see, they say that the stores are not the market but the people are the market. You can build a beautiful store but if the people are not there, there is not market. So, we are taking this party to the grassroots and we believe that people will be with us because we are executing programmes that will help the masses.
“Our strength is that people over time collected money and voted wrongly and I believe we Yobeans have learnt our lessons because we can see what has happened to the state in the last 17 years back.
We are down. If you collected N2,000 or N1,000 to vote for wrong person, you are now paying more than one million to better your life. So, by 2019 we are going to choose between those who gave money and those who mean well. We need change in our state”.
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