I will Never Appear Before the Illegal Panel you set up, Lawal told Oshiomhole
The deputy national chairman (North) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen Lawal Shuaibu, has replied the disciplinary panel setup by the National Working Committee (NWC), saying he will not appear before it.
The party chieftain also faulted the setting up of the panel, which he said, was illegal, as it had no constitutional backing. Relying on the party’s Constitution in Article 21,
Sen Shuaibu stressed that the powers to discipline a national officer wrested with the National Executive Committee (NEC) of which the president, vice president and governors among others are members.
Zolex recalls that rising from its 38th regular meeting penultimate Thursday, the NWC set up a five-man disciplinary committee, headed by the deputy national chairman (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo. But in a letter sighted to the committee by Sen Shuaibu, and by news men, yesterday, he advised the party to take his case to NEC and also save its energies to fixing the issues raised in his letter.
“I don’t know from where the National Working Committee (NWC) derived the power of discipline. The APC Constitution in Article 21 states that the party through the respective executive, committee of the party, shall only exercise such power at all levels.
“I am not a lawyer, but I have been in the political party system for about a decade now to be able to know that every decision of the party shall be in line with what its constitution stipulates.
“When I served as a national secretary, my own national chairman would insist that I worked with the National Legal Adviser for advice on every issue before arriving at any decision.
“Given the NWC has the power, how can the chairman preside over a meeting in which discussions that border on allegations against him are discussed?
“Let me repeat again as in my letter to the chairman, ‘You can’t be a judge in your own case!’ And to even say he was seated there to accept a vote of confidence as well as preside over setting up a committee to punish the member that accused him!
“Those eminent leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had fairness on their minds on matters of discipline and disciplinary procedures when they drafted the constitution.
“They entrusted the matter of discipline in the party to the larger executive committees and not a group of few members of the party, some of who might probably be culpable in some instances.
“Otunba, my honest advice to you is, since you are the closest NWC member to the chairman, in order not to drive the party into the mud, always insist on following due process of law in whatever he wants to commit the party to. All he needs to do is to work closely with the Legal Adviser and not to mock his advice because if we find any failure in that instance, you cannot blame the lawyer.
“Niyi you are also a Lawyer, why can’t you tell the chairman whether something is right or wrong? Since President Buhari and I met when he joined partisan politics in 2002, l have always known him to insist on due process of law.
“However, with the aforementioned points in mind, let me state that with due respect to the National Working Committee, an important organ of my party, I will not appear before your committee as it is illegal and I am too informed to get involved in illegalities.
“If you want to punish me for saying what I still believe is true, then you have to take this matter to where you are avoiding, the National Executive Committee.”
“My advice is please let us save this party as a stitch in time saves nine. I assure you there is nothing personal about this except that my concern is that the party is drifting. Niyi, a stitch in time saves nine!” the letter stated.