President Muhammadu Buhari has differed with the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress over the right of aggrieved members to seek redress in court.
In a statement by Femi Adesina, the president’s media adviser, President Buhari stressed that if anyone is displeased with the way and manner anything has been done, and feels deprived of his/her rights, then such a person is at liberty to approach the courts for redress.
It was the president’s first public reaction to the discontent within the party over the conduct of primaries, in the selection of candidates for elective offices.
Until now, President Buhari had tried to appease members behind the scenes, begging and cajoling aggrieved members to bury the hatchet.
In a different reaction, the NWC of the party headed by former governor Adams Oshiomhole forbade members from dragging the party to court. It even went further to threaten the litigants.
President Buhari disagreed with the party:
“We can’t deliberately deny people of their rights. We agreed that party primaries should be conducted either through direct, indirect or consensus methods, and if anyone feels unjustly treated in the process, such a person can go to court.
“The court should always be the last resort for the dissatisfied. For the party to outlaw the court process is not acceptable to me.”
In the statement, President Buhari still favoured non-legal approach for reconciliation of the aggrieved as he urged them to embrace the party’s reconciliation panels.
According to Adesina, President Buhari advised members to work with the reconciliation committees empanelled for the six geo-political zones by the APC, and not a purported Presidential Committee on Reconciliation, stressing that, the Party is the only body authorised to constitute such committees.
The APC had threatened aggrieved members who have headed to the courts, saying that: “The Party intends to activate constitutional provisions to penalise such members as their action is capable of undermining the Party and hurt the Party’s interest.
“We hereby strongly advise such members to withdraw all court cases, while approaching the appropriate party organs with a view to resolving any outstanding disputes.
“In addition to this, aggrieved members are urged to take full advantage of the reconciliation committees the Party has put in place.
“APC members should understand that as a progressive party that operates on the principle of change, it is not a matter of choice to keep to the rules.”