June 2, 2014
Nigeria’s main opposition party, APC, says former Minister Fani-Kayode has no “locus” in its fold.
The All Progressives Party, APC, has said that a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode is not a bonafide member of the party despite parading himself as such.
The party suggested that the former minister does not have a membership card qualifying him as a member of the party.
The interim National Publicity of the APC, Lai Mohammed who stated this in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, said the party could not therefore take punitive measure against the former minister for repeatedly deriding the platform and flirting with President Goodluck Jonathan.
He faulted this newspaper for describing Mr. Fani-Kayode as a senior member of the party and demanded to know where he registered as a member.
“Femi Fani-Kayode is not a senior member of my party. Where did he register as a member of the APC and what qualify him to be a senior member of my party?” the APC spokesperson said.
“People came to join our party and in politics, you don’t push everybody away. He is a former Minister and has what I can call name recognition, and when he came to associate with our party, all well and good. But what role or specific office was he given? Which meeting of the organ of the party has he ever attended?
“Fani-Kayode has access to many people; he has access to me, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu or perhaps even General Muhammadu Buhari or Bisi Akande, but that does not make him a senior member of the party.”
Mr. Fani-Kayode, who served in the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had in May last year announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the then yet-to-be registered APC. The party was registered in July.
He made the announcement in a message on his Facebook page after a meeting with Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, himself an APC member.
“I was at Afe Babalola University to chair the book launch of a friend, Dr. Bunmi Aborishade this morning. I had a meeting with Governor Kayode Fayemi afterwards and I have just publicly and formally declare for the APC. For me this is a great and historic day. Goodbye forever PDP,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said.
But the former minister suddenly visited Mr. Jonathan, the national leader of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, last April after which he criticized the APC for planning to field two Muslims as presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2015 presidential election.
“I have said it privately in countless political meetings and I will say it publicly today. Please mark it – the biggest mistake that my party, the APC can make is to field a Muslim/Muslim ticket in the 2015 presidential election. If we do that we will not only offend the Christian community, but we will lose the election woefully,” Mr. Fani-Kayode told journalist reporting the Presidential Villa after an hour meeting with Mr. Jonathan.
He later wrote a widely circulated two-part article criticizing the APC for allegedly insisting on a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that party members had expected the party to punish Mr. Fani-Kayode for exposing his own party to ridicule based just on suspicion and speculations.
But Mr. Mohamed said there was no basis for sanctioning the former minister because he is not a card-carrying member of the party.
“You don’t seem to understand what I am saying. This man has no locus standi in my party, so what am I going to sanction? No Locus!” he said.
The APC spokesperson said his party has not decided on what kind of presidential ticket it would field, stating that it had not conducted its national convention let alone coming out with a ticket.
“I really don’t know why some people are so gullible. A party that has not conducted its national convention, has not conducted primaries, how did it come out with the ticket? Muslim/Muslim or Christian/ Christian, how did it come out?” he said.
Mr. Mohammed explained further, ”It is not what we are thinking about. Look, the party doesn’t think in that way. What it does is to look at its constitution and set up its National Convention Committee which will organise a convention to appoint its national officials.
“It is the congresses at all level which will culminate in a national convention that will look at the constitution of the party and decide which form or modus operandi to be adopted for the selection of candidates for all elective offices.
“Groups and individuals can be thinking and speculating or even manipulating, but as a political party today, I can tell you very frankly that our major priority is building the party and make sure we have a national convention and also make sure there is no crack in the party.”