The North-West National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mallam Salihu Lukman, on Friday expressed concerns that more than 200 employees are working at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja without valid letters of employment.
This was as he expressed concerns that there were some alleged liabilities incurred for legal cases handled without valid contracts.
The development came barely 24 hours after the APC postponed its presidential primary following a six-day extension of deadline for conduct of political party primaries by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday.
Lukman raised the alarm amid a report of fresh leadership crisis in the party in a leaked letter dated May 27, 2022 and titled: ‘Rebuilding APC: Need for new initiatives.’
He said, “The report of the committee was, to say the least, very shocking. Apart from the fact that there were more than 200 employees in the party’s national secretariat, most of whom are without valid letters of employment, there were no standardised conditions of service. Statutory requirements for taxations, pensions and insurance benefits as provided by relevant labour laws are not being respected. There were claims by legal firms about liability owed for legal cases handled without valid contracts.
“All these were partly responsible for why many of the party’s bank accounts were blocked by subsisting court judgments, most of which copies are not available at the National Secretariat, which with your guidance the Party’s Legal Department is able to resolve.
“Partly based on your recommendations and insistence to reform the Secretariat, the NWC decided to send all the directors on leave pending the outcome of our investigation. It is clear to every discerning member of the NWC that many of the directors, if not all, would have to go. It is also clear that apart from the directors, there are many workers in the secretariat that should go.
“However, important and laudable as these decisions would appear to be, it is inadequate if it is not matched with initiatives to standardise operational practices in the National Secretariat, especially in terms of ensuring that employment requirement conforms with extant labour laws. As the ruling party, this must be guaranteed.
“As things are, we have suspended every initiative to reform the secretariat, understandably so, given all the challenges of meeting deadlines for electing party candidates for 2023 general elections. The danger is that what we inherited will soon become the acceptable practice as new directors and workers would be employed without any commitment to meeting provisions of the law with respect to employment standards.”
A worried Lukman further warned that if the trends were not bridled on time, it could ‘snowball’ into a similar crisis as witnessed in the previous administrations of Adams Oshiomhole and Mai Mala Buni.
The letter, which was addressed directly to the party’s National Chairman, also copied the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu and all the NWC members.
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