How Aniebonam, Agbo, others joined APC to make ‘own’ NNPP lose Kano Governorship – Spokesman


Barrister Ladipo Johnson, NNPP's National Publicity Secretary, Right, while speaking to counter Dr. Boniface Aniebonam's press conference address on TVC Thursday night of April 25, 2024.

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*Says It’s good, cheap publicity to accuse Kwankwaso of high handedness in NNPP

*Agbo speaks as Party responds to allegation by Boniface Aniebonam



“So, unfortunately Agbo doesn’t seem to understand that an MoU cannot be brought into a party regulated by (party) Constitution, by the Electoral Act and by the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.”


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Barrister Ladipo Johnson, National Publicity Secretary of New Nigeria’s People Party (NNPP) purportedly expelled by a Dr. Boniface Aniebonam-led group few days ago, has come out to tell Nigerians why such claims hold no water and why he remains the Spokesman of the party.

He took part in a debate-based conversation generated by TVC, a private television in Nigeria, Thursday evening of April 25, 2024 whereby an expected former officer of the party, Dr. Agbo Major, alleged that Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Leader of the NNPP and its Presidential Candidate in the 2023 election was given the party as a platform to achieve its ambition to become President of Nigeria but went behind to hijack it from its singlehanded founder and owner, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam.

Speaking during the television programme, Agbo Major said unfortunately, whereas only Dr. Aniebonam has come out to speak to Nigerians on the issue of who is in charge of the NNPP, Dr. Kwankwaso had not talked but had been pushing out people that were not connected to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that brought the parties together to speak.

READ ALSO NNPP TO NJC: Investigate attempted judicial robbery of our governorship mandate in Kano

He accused Kwankwaso of betrayal having gone from behind to suspend and expel the founder of the party and others in order to hijack the party structure to himself.

The NNPP responds

But when asked how those considered to be founding members of the party could have been expelled vis-à-vis the latest revelation from the other parties, who claimed those being pushed forward to talk from the Kwankwaso group are those who were not part of how the coming together occurred, Barrister Ladipo Johnson, who is National Publicity Secretary of the NNPP, gave details response that finally addressed the issues.

He said, however, that while there is room for reconciliation, Nigerians should know that Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, who is claiming to own the NNPP, and Dr. Agbo Major, who has come to accuse him and Kwankwaso of hijacking the party structure, were the ones who worked with All Progressives Congress (APC) to make the party they call their own lose the mandate the Kano State people gave to it with Abba Kabir Yusuf as Governor.

The DEFENDER reports that Ladipo Johnson was on the TVC the Thursday night to counter what was said to be the misinformation given by Dr. Boniface Aniebonam and his cohorts on the NNPP.

Agbo Major, Right, with playback on Boniface Aniebonam press conference while on TVC Thursday night April 25, 2024.

Responding to the question of how his Kwankwaisiyya group teamed up to expect people who founded and owned the party, Johnson said, “This is not a matter of sentiment. It is a matter of law, of procedure, constitutionalism.”

He said, “Yes, I was not part of any MoU signed before the coming together. I joined the NNPP as an individual in 2002 and so did hundreds of thousands of people. They joined as individuals because the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act make it imperative that it is we the people.

“One person cannot be the founder of a party. You have to have several people. So, I give it to Dr. Aniebonam. He was one of the founders, the main driver. I give it to him but he was not the only person.

“The reason the suspension came up and later expulsion; Agbo my friend was talking about highhandedness. Dr. Aniebonam purportedly was saying and wrote letters outside of the party that he was reversing the decisions of the National Working Committee and of the National Executive Committee. An individual cannot do that in a democratic setting.  It’s just impossible.

“So, unfortunately we had to suspend him and then later expel him along with others. I do not have the citation here, Supreme Court case regarding APGA when Okorie, the main driver, the founder was suspended and later expelled, the matter went all the way to the Supreme Court when he sued Senator Victor Umeh and many others.  And the Supreme Court ruled that, if you feel you are founder, it doesn’t mean you are above the rules.

“So, unfortunately Agbo doesn’t seem to understand that an MoU cannot be brought into a party regulated by (party) Constitution, by the Electoral Act and by the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Once you have your initial NEC, then convention, that is what the regulator, INEC, follows. Dr. Aniegbunam waving the registration certificate of the party is to no avail. They’ve been to courts and they have had about four or five cases, they are about four of them that have been thrown out. What Agbo should tell people is that, ‘Yes, we believe we still want to have the party but we lost at the Federal High Court, we are hoping to file an appeal.’ They haven’t done that. When they serve us with their appeal, we will meet them there.

“The court has said in most of the cases that have been thrown out, I don’t want to waste your time, I can give you citations: FHC/ABJ/CS1352/2023, Honourable Justice Winte of the Federal High Court Abuja told them that, “You are standing on nothing. Go back to your party. It is internal affair.”

“You know that during the elections, the Supreme Court kept talking about internal affairs of the party. What are the majority doing? What is happening? If we were so highhanded, how come the National Secretary that came from them, Olayoku, the National Treasurer and others are still there?

“So, it is good, cheap publicity to say ‘Yes, Kwankwaso has done this or the Kwankwasiyya are doing this and what have you.’ The bottom line is that everything has been done in accordance to the Constitution.

“The first set of people that were summoned into the disciplinary committee and were suspended – one or two expelled – this same Agbo Major was the one that announced,” the NNPC National Publicity Secretary, Ladipo Johnson, said.

As the conversation continued, Agbo, from the Boniface Aniebonam camp, was asked about whether or not it is the case that no single person can singlehandedly claim the ownership of a political party with references to relevant sections of the party’s rules and regulations or party’s Constitution as stated by Johnson, but Agbo rather replied by simply resorting to bulling the party’s Spokesman.

Agbo Major said, “Well he says he is lawyer but it is unfortunate that he appears on national television to come and feed people with lies,” he bullied Barrister Ladipo Johnson on the national television programme.

He continued, “Johnson knows that the Constitution of NNPP 2022 as amended expressly in section 12 recognises that the party has a founder. Without mincing word, it’s straight statement. The party has a founder, the founder is a life member of the Board and by extension he is a life member of the party.

“So, saying that the founder or whoever he is talking about was singlehandedly wielding powers is ignorance in the face of the law and I assume that, as a lawyer, he should have been advancing stronger arguments than what he is saying there. The Constitution is very clear on how this thing works.

“The Constitution says every four years there must be a convention. That is what the Constitution says quite well. The only convention we had since they came in was the one we had in 2022 March 30th precisely and that is the only convention that, in the fact of the law, is still in place. And so all the decisions taken there, whatever are the changes they purportedly tried to make through the back door were illegally made. They are changes that are applicable to the Kwankwasiyya movement not NNPP.

“What I can tell you is that, we are expected to have another convention in another two years from now because we just had the one for 2022, it’s still there. Unfortunately, the people that emerged at the 2022 convention were people that were found to have run foul of the Constitution of the party. The Constitution says the court has the right to call to order an individual or any organ of the party.”

Room for reconciliation

However, when he was given another opportunity to talk again, Ladipo Johnson was asked as to whether there is room for reconciliation so as for the NNPP to make a good opposition to the ruling APC and he made his mind known.

“There is always room (for reconciliation). These people are the same who went during the Supreme Court matter, these same Agbo and co went and joined the APC to say that Abba Kabir Yusuf, the Governor of Kano State, was not a member or is not a member of the party. They said it and the recording is there.

“So, all what he is saying that he is a board life member, he should go and read the Supreme Court decision in the APGA case. It’s there. It is not Ladipo Johnson.

“I’m just trying to answer him; the (party) Constitution, which has now been amended, but that Constitution 2022 says that there will be national convention every two years. That is why we had to have the convention.

“Look, we were in no hurry to do anything because the simple thing is, everything we’ve done, the National Executive Committee meeting we’ve had and the  convention we’ve just had on April 6, INEC was there, all the notices were given and it’s simple.

“Mr. Agbo should tell you about the cases I’ve cited including FHC/AWK/Akwa/50/2023 when Boniface Aniebonam sued Kwankwaso and 10 others including myself. It was dismissed. They should tell people the truth. He says I’m coming on air to lie as a legal practitioner. People can go and check the cases.

“So, they can be sentimental all they want, the bottom line is, the party is still the party. You referred to them as a faction or whatever. We don’t see anyone as a faction.”

Agbo Major, asked to speak to whether Boniface Aniebonam faction to which he belongs is open to reconciliation, “No, first I need to join issues with him (Johnson) on the issue of the so-called judgment he is talking about. The court only advised that it is a family matter and that we should return to the letters of the Constitution that we should be guided by the Constitution in trying to resolve the matter. And what does that mean? The board takes preeminence over this. That is by the way.

“The judgments he is talking about there, the one in Abuja and the one in Akwa which is already even at the appeal level, because we told the court in Awka that ‘Look, yes you have advised properly that it is a family matter, we should go and solve it internally but who initiates this and what is the likelihood that we would be able to come together to discuss this. We needed an explanation in direction instruction to that effect. And that’s why the matter has gone on appeal. It is funny that Barrister Johnson telling you there in the studio that he is not aware that we have appealed against that case.

“The case of Abuja, which was delivered just about a week ago, we are waiting for the CTC and our lawyers will advise us and we will still go the same way because it is still the same line of judgment.”

Talk on mega party

Asked if it was true that there was a talk of mega party going on ahead of 2027 for NNPP to team up with the Labour Party and PDP to take power from APC, the party’s Spokesman Ladipo Johnson explained.

“Well, to be honest, we have been approached once. We held some initial talks but I must let Nigerians know that, that is all, nothing else has happened. It might happen, it might not happen, we are just focused building and broadening the base of the party so that we can constructive opposition to the government at the centre. Where they do what is good we say they have done what is good and when it is short, we will tell that it is short and recommend things.

“We want to be an opposition party and we hope that my brother, Agbo, will come to the table and not keep distracting us with things like this because, I’m glad here he has owned up that there is a judgment that has gone against them. They are about three or four that have gone against them. That is the position of things.

“But are willing, as I have said, to be a constructive opposition for the sake of our supporters and Nigerians,” he said.

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