RE: EXPULSION OF SEGUN SANGO AND SUSPENSION OF OTHER LEADERS FROM THE NATIONAL CONSCIENCE PARTY (NCP
National Conscience Party â€“ Lagos State
Resolutions of NCP Lagos State Coordinating Council meeting held on August 5, 2006
RE: EXPULSION OF SEGUN SANGO AND SUSPENSION OF OTHER LEADERS FROM THE NATIONAL CONSCIENCE PARTY (NCP)
The meeting of State Coordinating Council (SCC) of the Lagos State Chapter of the National Conscience Party (NCP) was held on Saturday, August 5, 2006. Among other issues, the SCC-in-session deliberated on the purported expulsion of Mr. Segun Sango, the Lagos State Chairperson of the NCP and indefinite suspension of some party leaders from Lagos and Osun states by the National Coordinating Council of the party.
Correspondence dated July 24, 2006 and signed by the NCP’s National General Secretary, Mallam Yinusa. S. Tanko, was delivered to Mr. Segun Sango on August 2, 2006. This correspondence, titled: “EXPULSION FROM THE NATIONAL CONSCIENCE PARTY”, was said to be the formal notification of expulsion to Mr. Sango for his “conduct, which in the opinion of the NCC amounts to anti-party activity and gross violation of the provisions of the party constitution”.
Naturally, most NCP members and supporters who are rightly expecting the party to be preparing itself for next year elections are terribly shocked by the path to perdition the Obayuwana led NEC has placed the party. This destructive action indeed threatens the future of the party as a whole, as the Lagos is its most active state chapter. By its action in this respect, the Obayuwana led NEC has shown beyond words that it is not interested in building the NCP as a fighting and campaigning party of the working poor masses but merely as negotiating platform to make some rotten, self-seeking deals with anti-poor politicians within opposition bourgeois parties like ANPP, ACD, AD etc. Though, the national leadership led by Dr. Osagie Obayuwana, claimed that the decision to expel Sango was taken by the NCC in line with Article 3.4 of the NCP constitution, however, a careful analysis by the SCC in-session in this respect reveals clearly a gross breach of the party constitution in its entirety.
1. According to Mallam Yunusa S. Tanko, Mr. Segun Sango was expelled by the “NCC” ( at an undated and unstated meeting) under Article 3.4 of the party constitution which states thus: “A member can only be expelled for anti-party activity or for conduct which in the opinion of the National Coordinating Council amounts to a gross violation of the provisions of this Constitution”.
Sadly however, the SCC in-session, after a careful, comprehensive perusal of the NCP constitution holds, without any fear of contradiction, that the purported expulsion of the Mr. Segun Sango, in its totality, was a gross violation of the NCP constitution.
First and foremost, Segun Sango is the duly elected chairperson of the party in Lagos State. Therefore, the cited correspondence written to Sango purportedly communicating his expulsion ought to have been addressed to him in his capacity as State Chairperson, instead of simply referring to him in his personal capacity. The SCC does not regard this act of omission or commission as a mere trifle or a resort to an abstract protocol but precisely because Sango, as an elected State officer, can only be removed from office on the basis of Article 9.8.1 of the party constitution which states as follows: “Any elected officer of the party may be validly removed from office whenever found to have committed any of the following offences:
(a) Persistent refusal to carry out basic membership duties as outlined in this constitution;
(b) Persistent refusal to carry out official duties attaching to his/her office as outlined in this constitution;
(c) Gross violation of any of the provisions of this constitution;
(d) Conduct which in the opinion of the disciplinary body is likely to undermine the standing or tarnishing the image of the Party in the eyes of the public;
(e) Anti-party activities.
Also, Article 9.8.2 states the procedure that shall be adopted in removing an elected officer from office. These are:
(a) The National Coordinating Council in the case of a national officer or the State Coordinating Council in the case of a State officer or the Local Government officer shall set up a Disciplinary Committee to consider complaints against elected officers. The Ward Executive Council shall act as a disciplinary Committee in the case of elected Ward officers.
(b) The Disciplinary Committee shall within 1 week of receiving any complaints against any elected officer notify same in writing to invite the concerned officer to defend himself/herself. The concerned officer shall submit his/her defence in writing to the committee within 2 weeks of being notified failing which he/she shall be deemed to have no defence to the allegations and or to have admitted same.
(c) The Disciplinary Committee shall within 4 weeks after delivering the invitation to the concerned officer consider the allegations and the defence thereto (if any) and report its findings to the relevant Coordinating Council. The report shall in the case of a Ward officer be made by the Ward Executive Council which shall for this purpose act as a Coordinating Council for the Wards. The Disciplinary Committee may place the concerned officer on suspension with or without the continued enjoyment by the concerned official of his/her official emoluments pending the decision of the relevant Coordinating Council on its report.
(d) The concerned Coordinating Council shall as soon as possible consider the report and may by a two-third majority of its members present and voting adopt a resolution removing the concerned officer from office and the concerned officer shall stand removed.
(e) The Congress may however impose a lesser punishment, as it deems appropriate.
(f) The decision of the concerned Coordinating Council imposing any punishment on an elected officer shall be final except the Congress reverses such decision.
One indisputable fact, which arose from the above quoted constitutional provision, is that the NCC totally lacks the capacity to remove Mr. Sango from office as an officer of the party at the state level. As a state party officer, Mr. Sango can only be validly removed from office if he has committed any of the offences listed in Article 9.8.1 quoted above. Even then, according to Article 9.8.2, he can only be removed by the “State Coordinating Council” of the party which, of course, must first and foremost set up a “Disciplinary Committee” which “shall within one week of receiving any complaint against any elected officer notify same in writing to invite the concerned officer to defend himself/herself”. Thereafter, the concerned officer shall submit his /her defence in writing to the committee.
If such an officer fails to give a written defence within the specified time, the committee can then submit its reports and recommendations to the SCC, its creator that the concerned officer has no defence to the allegations raised. If this happens, the SCC with “a majority of 2/3 of its members” can thereafter remove such officer from office or impose “a lesser punishment as it deems appropriate”.
2. .The SCC in-session asserts that the Article 3.4 of the party constitution upon which Mr. Sango’s expulsion was purportedly based refers to an ordinary member not a party officer. Even assuming, without conceding, that by virtue of Article 3.4 of the party constitution “a member” means the same thing as an “elected officer of the party” as stated under Article 9.8.1, the SCC in-session sadly notes the fact that in its apparent overzealous premeditated design to expel Mr. Sango at all cost, the NCC turned a blind eye to the Article 3.2 of the party constitution which states thus: “No disciplinary action or actions taken or imposed on or against any member shall be valid unless such a member is informed in writing of the complaints against him/her and given a reasonable time and opportunity to defend himself or herself”.
The SCC in-session notes strongly that before the NCC can validly exercise the powers conferred on it by the party’s constitution under Article 3.4, it must first and foremost, have fully complied with Article 3.2 quoted above. The SCC in-session notes that “expulsion” is the highest form of disciplinary action stated in the NCP constitution and therefore feels seriously embarrassed that a party like the NCP with a robust proud tradition of opposition to all unfair and undemocratic acts, even of rival parties, could expel one of its own officers without any regard to elementary rule of fair hearing even when that is specifically enshrined in Article 3.2 of the party constitution, i.e. under the same Article upon which Sango’s purported expulsion was based.
The SCC in-session notes with a sense of shame that even the highly undemocratic ruling PDP did not expel their members and officers who openly defied the party and President Obasanjo fiat to vote for another 4- year tenure for Obasanjo after May 2007. Yet, a supposedly radical, democratic leadership has purportedly expelled a State Party Chairperson for a mysterious “orchestrated a disdainful and scornful walk-out” of an NCC in-session.
3. Among other things, Mr. Sango was purportedly expelled for his “role in purporting to have organized a Zonal Congress at Ekiti (unknown to the party constitution) wherein you claim to have elected a new National Deputy Chairman, in place of the duly elected and recognized incumbent, Mr Femi Falana contrary to the history of the NCP, earlier position of the NCC on the matter and overwhelming superior argument, you chose to remain adamant and unyielding and in fact, orchestrated a disdainful and scornful walk-out on the NCC in session.” .
“Resort to smear campaign by circulating widely your reply to a letter dated 18th March, 2006 served on you on the directive of National Coordinating Council in which more invective and insults were poured on National Officers of the NCP”.
“Use of various media (internet, broadsheets and handbills amongst others) to disparage and impugn the integrity of elected National Officers of the NCP.”
The SCC in-session asserts that almost all of these grounds are prima facie, ” fresh offences”. Consequently, the SCC strongly holds the view that “a member” of the party can only be validly expelled by the NCC under Article 3.4 only after any ” anti-party activity/ gross violation of provisions of the party constitution” alleged against him/her has been communicated to him in writing and the concerned “member” has been “given reasonable time and opportunity to defend himself / herself”. This provision, we should stress, was to avoid a situation like this where the NCC, for no just cause, will decide to purportedly expel any member under Article 3.4.
4. The correspondence communicating Sango’s purported expulsion from the party states in part: “You are by this letter directed to have ALL party materials in your possession handed over to the National Deputy Chairman South West in the person of Mr. Femi Falana forthwith.”
The SCC in-session strongly condemns and totally rejects this outlandish, unconstitutional and militaristic directive. Under Article 6.3 of the party constitution, Mr. Sango, as the chairperson, is just one of the 18 specified officers that constitute the “State Executive Committee”. It is therefore outrageous and untenable to direct that party’s materials in Sango possession be handed over to a Mr. Femi Falana as if Sango’s purported expulsion has by implication, removed all other elected officers within the Lagos “State Executive Committee” from office.
Furthermore the SCC in-session notes and wishes to draw the attention of the NCC to the provision of Article 9.3.3 of the party constitution which states thus: “Where it becomes imperative for the National or State or Local Government Executive Committee to hold meetings, the National, or State or Local Government Coordinating Council shall direct the day to day management of the affairs of the Party”. By the virtue of this clear, unambiguous provision, it is the State Coordinating Council (SCC) that “shall direct the day to day management of the affairs of the Party” in any given state “Where it becomes impracticable for the State Executive Committee to hold meetings”. Therefore, the NCC purported directive that Mr. Sango, Lagos State Chairperson, should hand over party materials in his possession to Mr. Femi Falana (imposed on the South West NCP by the Obayuwana right wing gang) is totally unconstitutional and ultra vires of its power under the NCP constitution. Consequently, the SCC in-session totally rejects the purported expulsion of Mr. Sango from the party by NCC and calls on the National General Secretary, Mallam Yinusa. S. Tanko to immediately withdraw his correspondence dated July 24, 2006 in this respect.
5. The SCC in-session also thoroughly discussed the purported indefinite suspension placed on Mr. Sina Odugbemi, State General Secretary, Demola Yaya, the State Research Director and Wale Balogun, Chairmanship Candidate of the party for the Mainland Local Government in Lagos State and newly elected National Deputy Chairperson (NDC) for South West, just a few months to the 2007 general elections, and thus concluded that the said NCC’s decision to expel the party chairperson and suspend leading officers of the most organised chapter as an outright act of sabotage..
The SCC in-session, without mincing words, regards this action in this respect as a conscious act calculated to put in disarray the chapter which, despite the massive riggings which characterized the 2003 general elections came 3rd in Lagos State in order to provide an uncontested opportunity for the pro-rich anti-poor parties like AD, ACD, and PDP to hold sway in Lagos State.
The SCC in-session’s consternation and anger in this respect was informed by the fact that the NCC actions of purported expulsion and suspensions were carried out by elements who, over the years, have not succeeded in establishing active basis for the party in their own states, but now in a most reckless and unconstitutional manner, are ready to liquidate the party in Lagos State, its arguably most successful chapter. In view of all the aforesaid, the SCC in-session once again finally, and totally rejects the purported expulsion order placed on the state Chairman of the party, Mr Segun Sango as well as the indefinite suspensions placed on Messrs Odugbemi, Yaya and Balogun. The SCC in-session equally notes and rejects in its totality the indefinite suspension order placed on the Osun State Chairperson, Alhaji Waheed Lawal and the State Legal Adviser, Mr.Alfred Adegoke. The SCC in-session notes that all those purportedly suspended were party officers who could only be validly disciplined under Article 9.8 of the party constitution. In any event, suspension is a disciplinary action that can only be validly taken against any party “member” only after a “written complaint” under Article 3.2 of the party constitution has been served on him or her.
Consequently, the SCC in-session passes a full vote of confidence on all the aforementioned state party officers and the NDC .In addition, the SCC in-session calls on the affected State Party Officers and the South West NDC to ignore completely their purported suspension from the party.
6. Finally, the SCC in-session pledges to continue to struggle for a truly working people political alternative in collaboration with all those who share this aspiration. It therefore calls on all party officers and members throughout Lagos State to remain calm and ignore the destructive antics of the Obayuwana led national leadership as the SCC will utilise all political, constitutional and legal means to thwart the unconstitutional acts and political opportunistic direction in which the party is being driven to by the Obayuwana led NEC.