The All Progressives Congress on Sunday vowed to punish its members who organised parallel ward congresses on Saturday contrary to its directive.

The Secretary of the Caretaker/ Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe,  who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, also said the party would come hard on members who flouted its directive that all court cases against it should be withdrawn.

According to him, the party will, in line with Section 21(D)  of its constitution, punish members,  who resort to self-help.

States, where there were reports of parallel ward congresses on Saturday, included Osun, Ogun, Kwara and Oyo.

On Sunday, rival groups, who participated in parallel ward congresses engaged one another in war of words.

In Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Niger and Delta, groups within the party disagreed on the exercise. While some said it was free and fair, others insisted that it was illegal and marred by violence.

But in the interview with The PUNCH, Akpanudoedehe warned that the party would impose sanctions on party members who organised parallel congresses.

Akpanudoedehe said the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led committee had zero tolerance to indiscipline.

He said, “The party will not tolerate parallel congresses anywhere. We were very, very clear about what we were doing.

“Members cannot resort to self-help.  We have processes and procedures which we advise aggrieved members to follow.

“If any member has an issue with the congresses, we will set up an appeal panel, let such a member approach the panel. We will wait for the outcome of the appeal panel before we take the next step, but the warning we issued based on the resolution of the National Executive Committee in December still subsists.”

Akpanudoedohe had on Friday said, “For purposes of clarity, may I re-state the relevant point in the resolution to wit:

“Pending litigation instituted by members against the party should be withdrawn forthwith, and going forward, no member should institute matters against the party, without exhausting the internal mechanism for conflict resolution, as enshrined in the party’s constitution.

“Consequent upon the above, party members should please note that all activities that may be carried out by persons to put the party and its officers in bad light, before, during and after the congresses should be jettisoned.

“All activities or processes leading up to the congresses and thereafter which do not have the approval of the CECPC are exercises in futility. This is to say that: any purported; parallel congress, parallel party organ and or parallel party office, is to say the least a nullity.

“These divisive activities will not be tolerated.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the party shall deploy the full weight of the law as stipulated in Section 21(D) of our party’s constitution on any one who perpetrates such unlawful Act(s) and also on their sponsors.

Article 21 (D) of the APC Constitution 2014 (As amended), captioned Punishment of Erring Members, reads in part, “(i) The party shall have power to impose the following sanctions on members in accordance with the nature and gravity of their offence: reprimand; censure;  fine;       debarment from holding party office; removal from party office;           suspension from party office and   expulsion from the party .”

PUNCH