The Benue State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has drawn a battle line with the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) over the suspension of Chief Barnabas Gemade, Prof. Terhemba Shija and five other members of the party in the state.
The leadership of APC in the state had slammed suspension on its chieftains over alleged anti-party activities but less than 24 hours later, the NWC lifted the suspension, a development that triggered immediate reaction by the state’s leadership, leaving the two sides on the war path.
The NWC of the APC had in a statement by the party’s spokesman, Felix Morka, said the NWC had “directed that the said suspension and all related actions in the matter be, and are hereby, set aside pending further review and decision of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) on the matter.
“Therefore, Senator Gemade, Professor Shija, and five others that are affect – ed by the said suspension are, and remain, bonafide members of the Benue State chapter of our party”, he added.
But the state chairman of APC, Mr. Austin Agada, who unfolded the stand of the party during the inauguration of two committees and an Assistant Secretary of the party, Mr. Ochojila Adah, at the party’s secretariat in Makurdi, insisted that he was not aware of the lifting of suspension of the party men and as such, their suspension remains irreversible.
The committees raised by the party included “a fiveman fact finding and disciplinary committee” and another five-man committee for the commissioning of the remodeled secretariat of the party.
Agada said: “Not even me, the state chairman, has the power to stop the decision of the stakeholders. It was in their humble opinion and decision that the decision (to suspend Gemade and Shija) was taken and that is why the decision said they were being suspended from the party to face the fact-finding and disciplinary committee, which its chairman, Chief Terlumun Akputu, has also said that they will be fair and just to all.
“There were other people that were not mentioned (for possible suspension) but the action taken was to strengthen the party and there was no vendetta about the matter. So for me, we are still on course and there is no cause for alarm.
“I am not aware that their (Gemade and Shija’s) suspension was lifted and our party doesn’t communicate like that. The party communicates directly to the office of the chairman.
How can you say the National Secretary of the party signed the letter lifting the suspension when we have just inaugurated the committee and we have not even forwarded to the National Secretariat the decision of the state chapter? “On what premise are they acting upon?
So, may be, it is one of this market news and so for me, I am going to communicate officially to the National Secretariat of our great party on Monday or Tuesday on the decisions taken”.
The APC leaders in the state said that the party was totally committed to the ideals of the party, stressing that people of the state had given the APC a mandate to heal the wounds inflicted on the people by the outgoing administration and would not toy with it.
Agada advised members of the two committees to take their assignments seriously just as chairmen of the committee’s also vowed never to disappoint both the party and the people.