Thursday 10 December 2015

Choice of spokesperson to replace Lai Muhammed tears APC apart

All Progressives Congress (APC)
The struggle over who should speak on behalf of the All Progressives Congress has pitted party leaders against one another.

It was learnt in Abuja on Thursday that the appointment of the erstwhile spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as a minister has created a vacuum the party has found difficult to fill.

The Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee has asked reporters not to contact the party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank, for reactions on party affairs.

According to the chairman, the deputy national publicity secretary “cannot speak for the party”, citing some alleged anti-party activities.
In response to a question as to who speaks for the party, following his directive, Odigie-Oyegun said, “I will start by saying who does not speak for the party; the person you are talking about (Timi Frank) does not speak for the party.
“Secondly, if there are any issues that need clarification for now, pending when we have a substantive publicity secretary, the national secretary will do so for the party and also when I speak, I speak for the party. It is as simple as that.”
However, Article 14.11 of the APC Constitution (October 2014, as amended) which stipulates the functions of the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, reads, “The National Publicity Secretary shall assist and deputise for the National Publicity Secretary in his absence.”

Article 14.11 states, “Shall perform such functions as may be assigned to him from time to time by the National Publicity Secretary and or the National Chairman and the National Working Committee.”
In his reaction to the “ban” placed on him, the Deputy National Secretary of the party, Timi Frank, insisted that he remained the party’s legally recognised voice because he was elected into office alongside all other national officers of the party.
Frank told newsmen at a separate press conference that, “Any other person (other than himself) issuing a statement is doing that may be on his/ her personal capacity.
“Our party constitution is very clear. As of today, I am the spokesperson for the party. I’m the acting spokesperson for the party; I can tell you without fear or favour that when the substantive person in the office of the national chairman or the national secretary or anybody that is not there, the deputy automatically takes over.”
He said, “(Alhaji) Lai Mohammad is not there; so automatically, I’m the acting spokesperson for this party. I can tell you without fear or favour, any other person issuing a statement is doing that maybe on a personal capacity, but constitutionally, I am the acting spokesperson for the party.
“It is not something I need to lobby for, it is something meant to be the trend and I stand by it.”
Since Alhaji Lai Mohammed resumed office as minister, reporters covering the APC beat have found it extremely difficult to get the party to react to burning national issues.

Credit: Punch

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