National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has warned that he would not condone disrespect for the party by ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
Accordingly, he said suspension and subsequent expulsion from the party awaited Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and the Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika for failing to heed his instruction to inaugurate boards of parastatals under their ministries
Oahiomhole gave the threat at the Presidential Villa while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
There were reports last week that the APC national chairman had written to Ngige and Sirika giving them a seven-day ultimatum to inaugurate the boards already named by the federal government.
He said if the ministers were in the habit of disrespecting and ignoring the orders and directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, he would have none of that.
According to him, the party would push further after the expulsion of the erring ministers to ensure that ‘rebels’ were shown the way out of President Buhari’s cabinet.
Oshiomhole noted that the ministers were simply taking advantage of the fatherly disposition of President Buhari, saying that some of their actions and inactions did not receive president’s endorsement.
He said: “If the minister refuses, we will suspend him from the party. You know we must return to internal discipline. For me it is the height of mischief for any minister, you cannot purport to be honourable minister and you act dishonourably and nobody is greater than the party. And if the President condones disrespect for his office, I will not condone disrespect for the party. And when we expel the minister we will prevail on the president that he can’t keep in his cabinet people who have neither respect for his own decisions nor have respect for the party without which they would not have been ministers. There are no independent candidates in our system. Nobody, I emphasis, no minister is above the party and they have taken undue advantage of the president’s fatherly disposition.
“Now, it is the same green pen that made them minister that appointed these boards that they are refusing to swear in. And it is absolutely illegal for a minister in a democracy to appropriate the powers of the board because the laws establishing those institutions are clear, that the boards have procedures to follow. So, when a minister sits in his office to appropriate the powers of the board in a democracy, not in a dictatorship, award contracts that didn’t go though boards, those are glaring abuse of office for which they are liable.
“I am convinced that what they are doing is not with the endorsement of Mr. President. Over the period, they have tried to drop the president’s Name but I tell them it is the same authority that appointed these people.
“So, we are informing them that it is either they comply to the president’s instructions or they comply with the party’s position or they go and administer outside the government.
“We have respect for ministers but only to the extent that they recognize that they are a product of a political party and we are not negotiating that. If they had done that in the past, under our leadership we will not tolerate it. They either comply or we will expel them from the party. When we expel them we will find out how a government can keep a rebel in the cabinet. There is no question about that.”