Observers of the ongoing face-off between the leadership of the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Legal Adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire are beginning to wonder whether the controversial chairmanship and councillorship primaries for the July 2 local government elections was the immediate factor that triggered the crisis or there may be other underlying reasons.
It would be recalled that Banire boldly flayed the party’s leadership over the process of the primaries and the idea of imposition of candidates, which did not go down well with the party, a development that allegedly pitched him against the national leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is also his (Banire) mentor in Lagos politics.
But beyond this, there seems to be the subtle influence of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in the crisis, as some had alleged, saying, “the whole crisis centered around political scheming ahead of the 2019 governorship election in Lagos.”
Others were also of the view that the crisis is part of the perceived ongoing cold war between the alleged ‘Abuja cabal’, which Banire was accused to be part of, and Tinubu.
On Thursday, the Ward C chapter of the Lagos APC in Mushin Local Government upheld the decision of its Disciplinary Committee, which recommended the suspension of Banire for a period of 10 years.
The ward accused the National Legal Adviser of engaging in several anti-party activities and misappropriation of campaign materials and logistics.
The decision came after the recommendation of the committee chaired by Mr. Bolaji Abass to investigate the allegations contained in a petition written against Banire by two members of the party in the area, Mr. Olukayode Tunde Tolu and Mr Ayodeji Adebayo.
Other members of the Committee included Mr Laide Badru (Secretary), Mr Wunmi Bewaji (General Counsel) and Mrs Muinat Mustapha, while the sitting of the Committee was held on August 14, 2017 at Bishop Aggey Memorial School, Ilasamaja, with Banire shunning invitation to defend the allegations against him.
The petitioners, Olukayode and Adebayo, accused Banire of persistent absent from ward meetings for more than two years contrary to Article 9 (2) (iii) of the party’s Constitution, and said he (Banire) 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.”
After reviewing the allegations against Banire, the committee, in its decision, held that the embattled Legal Adviser be suspended from party activities as well as barred from holding any party office or contesting public office on the platform of the party for a period of ten years.
“In view of the gravity of the complaints as alleged and proved, and to serve as deterrence to others of his (Banire’s) ilk or similar proclivity, the aforementioned punishments shall run consecutively with effect from Monday, 21 August, 2017,” the committee held.
However, Banire, who remained unperturbed up till yesterday refused to make further comments on the matter when contacted but he told The Guardian that time would reveal the reasons why the elements hired to vilify him were doing what they were doing.
However some members of the party who spoke on condition of anonymity said the fight was actually between the governor and those perceived to be threat to a second term ambition in 2019.
Meanwhile, one of the aides of the governor who did not want his name on print said, “Governor Ambode is too busy with matters of state development to be involved in frivolities.”
According to him, “I see no reason why Governor Ambode would be the one instigating Ward C in Mushin to ostracize the National Legal Adviser.”