The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has disclosed that Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, who is the founder of the party is not above expulsion.
A faction of the party on Tuesday suspended Rabiu Kwankwaso, the party’s candidate in the 2023 presidential election, alleging “material evidence” in public that the former Kano state governor was involved in “anti-party activities in various meetings”.
The faction further alleged that Kwankwaso had political meetings with President Bola Tinubu, then candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rival, Atiku Abubakar, and Labour Party (LP) candidate Peter Obi without the party’s permission.
The BoT also suspended the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
However, the party’s spokesman, Ladipo Johnson, in an interview with Arise News on Wednesday, noted that Aniebonam is subject to the NNPP constitution like every other party member.
Johnson explained that there is no owner of the party, following the Nigerian Constitution, Electoral Act and under the constitution of the party.
In a statement issued by Johnson after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting of the party held in Abuja, it stated that Aniebonam, Agbo Major and several others had been expelled from the party.
Referring to the statement, Johnson said that though Aniebonam is the founder of the party, that does not put him above the constitution. He also advised him to challenge the statement by NEC if he (Aniebonam) is not satisfied with it.
According to the statement, Aniebonam’s issues began when he said that Comrade Oginni was still the chairman.
Thereafter, he reportedly singlehandedly wrote a letter stating that he had reversed the decisions of the National Executive and the National Working Committee.
Johnson said that the Board of Trustees (BoT) had not even been constituted due to earlier elections, but was in the process, so they had to constitute major things like the executives.
“The actual board hadn’t met. The board is an advisory board,” he said, asking, “Can Dr. Aniebonam on his own, without the meeting of the board, call to order?”
“What sort of meeting is that?
“Secondly, can you say that when you complained last week that the member of the BoT was wrongfully suspended by the working committee and others complained that they were suspended by the working committee?
“How did they transition from people who were suspended within a week or two weeks to people who are now saying that they are a constituted board? It’s a farce. It’s a joke.”
However, the Acting National Secretary of NNPP, Sunday, contradicted this by saying, “The board was not dissolved even when Dr. Aniebonam, in his magnanimity, was handing over the party. He did not throw away the board.
“It seems as if you’re trying to hide something here. The NNPP Nigeria, we have only one board, and the board sat, and at the board meeting, Dr Boniface Aniebonam resigned as the chairman of the board. He said he wants to remain as the founder of the board.”
He also contradicted allegations by Johnson that he committed anti-party activities by supporting another party.
Sunday also emphasised that the vision of New Nigeria was given to Aniebonam, not Kwankwaso and that Kwankwaso had also floated a party that packed up.
“Let them come and tell Nigerians that they are not holding their meeting in Kwankwaso’s bedroom,” he said, “The NEC they are talking about does not exist.”
Johnson also spoke on the allegations against Kwankwaso and addressed the anti-party allegations that Kwankwaso and Peter Obi met. He stated that he was part of the three-man committee that met with the Labour Party.
He said, “Peter Obi wasn’t there, Kwankwaso wasn’t there. We spoke and we couldn’t reach a consensus ad idem, so that merger didn’t happen. That is not anti-party because the party knew about it.”
He also questioned how Kwankwaso was said to be hobnobbing when he continuously briefed those at the national level about his meetings. He said it was the government that invited Kwankwaso to be part of a government of national unity.
“Furthermore, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, went to visit him at home. All of a sudden, the social media said that himself, Atiku and Peter Obi are coming together for a runoff which we don’t know will happen or not, depending on what the tribunal says,” he said.
“No one was there to say they discussed working together. That is not anti-party.”