…as petitioners testify before panel
Embattled National Legal Adviser of All Progressives Congress, Mr Muiz Banire on Monday failed to appear before the Disciplinary Committee
set up by the party in Ward C of Mushin Local Government area of Lagos State to adjudicate on allegations of anti-party activities and misappropriation of campaign materials and logistics levelled against him.
The Committee had summoned Banire to appear before its sitting by 10am on Monday at Bishop Aggey Memorial School, Ilasamaja, Mushin to defend allegations contained in a petition written against him by two members of the party in the area, Mr Olukayode Tunde Tolu and Mr Ayodeji Adebayo.
As early as 7am, members of the party in the area started trooping to the venue of the sitting, while the members of the Panel waited till about 11:20am before commencing the business of the day.
In his introductory remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Mr Bolaji Abass, first introduced other members who included Mr Laide Badru (Secretary), Mr Wunmi Bewaji (General Counsel) and Mrs Muinat Mustapha.
Abass said the function of the Committee was simply to examine the allegations levelled against Banire by concerned members of the party, just as he assured that the Committee would be fair in arriving at its decision which would then be submitted to the Ward Executive of the party for onward delivery to the Local Government and then State Executive of APC.
The Secretary of the Committee (Badru) then called the petitioners and respondent (Banire), but while the petitioners were at the proceedings, Banire was conspicuously absent.
Badru later displayed copies of advertorials in two national dailies and evidence of receipt of courier letter inviting Banire for the sitting.
In his testimony before the Committee, Olukayode said Banire had committed grievous attrocities against the party and had carried out series of acts of indiscipline, which must not go unpunished.
Also Adebayo said it was such acts of indiscipline exhibited by Banire that caused the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) electoral defeat.
According to him, "Party discipline and party loyalty made APC what it is today. Whatever the decision of the party is, it is binding on all members and if a member goes against the party, there must be sanction."
In the petition, the petitioners are asking that Banire be suspended from the party and debarred from holding any party office as well as contesting office on the platform of the party for a period of ten years.
They alleged that aside the fact that Banire had been continuously absent from ward meetings for more than two years contrary to Article 9 (2) (iii) of the party’s Constitution, he has also been engaging in unrestrained media campaigns against the party, its organs, leaders and functionaries, a development deliberately calculated to embarrass the party and bring it into disrepute contrary to Article 9 (2) (I) of the Constitution.
The petition reads in part: “That the member (Banire) has openly been encouraging and inciting Court actions against the party, its organs and functionaries when internal dispute resolution mechanisms have not been explored or exhausted contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.
“The member (Banire) has been conducting himself in such a way and manner as to constitute a distraction to the good policies and programmes of the Government of President Muhammadu contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.
“That the member (Banire) collected campaign “materials and logistics” – for the 2015 general elections and the recent Local Government Elections without deploying, disbursing or applying same for the benefit of the party. He has failed to pay, as at when due or howsoever, party dues and levies.
“That the member (Banire) has been conducting himself and continues to conduct himself in such a way and manner as could jeopardize, endanger or damage the electoral fortunes of the party and the party brand contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.”
It would be recalled that hundreds of party leaders and members in Mushin had staged a peaceful protest to the Governor's office in Alausa where they submitted a petition for onward transmission to the national APC leadership demanding Banire’s expulsion from the party.
They alleged that Banire intentionally neglected his duties as the party’s legal adviser by failing to defend the party’s interest in a law suit, and also going to the ridiculous and unprofessional extent of causing a legal representative to disavow the party in the said law suit.
But in his defence, Banire said he was only protesting against imposition of candidates as was witnessed in the last local government election primaries in the party, and that for daring to exercise his freedom of expression, some persons were threatening his life.
Meanwhile, the report of the Committee is expected to be made available in due course.