By Bolaji Buhari
Hundreds of All Progressives Congress (APC) members converged on the Bishop Aggey Sports Centre in Mushin, Lagos on Monday where one of the party chieftains, Dr Muiz Banire, was expected to appear before a Ward disciplinary committee.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the crowd, however, waited in vain to see Banire, as he failed to show up before the committee.
Ward C, Alafia/Adeoyo in Ilasamaja, in a letter dated July 10 and which was circulated Aug. 10, had asked Banire to meet the committee at the venue on Monday.
The ward, in the letter signed by Badru Olaide, the ward secretary. said Banire should come and answer questions and allegations against him by some party members.
The Ward had invited interested members of the public to the event and urged guests to be seated by 9.45 a.m.
After a long wait with no word from Banire or a representative at the venue on Monday, the four-man committee headed by Mr Bolaji Abbas, decided to kick-start the proceeding.
The secretary of the committee, Alhaji Laide Badru, told the gathering that Banire was duly served invitation to appear and that the committee got proof that the invitation was received.
“We sent the invitation to him by DHL and we got a receipt, which is proof that he got our invitation.
“Also we published the invitation in major newspapers as well as other prominent platforms. So we are sure he is aware,’’ he said.
Dr Wunmi Bewaji, a former member of the House of Representatives and counsel to the committee, assured that the committee would be fair, even in Banire’s absence.
“We will be fair even though we cannot force anybody to appear before the committee. We will be fair,’’ he said.
Mr Olukayode Tolu, one of the two members who had petitioned against Banire, said during the hearing said his action had become inevitable.
He said though he co-wrote the petitions that led to the setting up of the committee, all members of the ward supported his action.
Tolu said members of Banire’s ward were tired of his activities in the state and the party, hence the petition.
“The ward is the most important component of the structure of any party. Yes, you can be at the National level, but the ward is the most important.
“Banire has not attended any meeting at the ward for the past two years and he has not paid any dues.
“Also, his activities shortly before the last council election in the state, smacked of anti-party,’’ he alleged.
Tolu said that Banire was not bigger than the party and should be disciplined.
“On behalf of all APC members in Mushin Ward C, I pray the committee to suspend him from the party for 10 years and that he should never be allowed to hold any post in the party again,’’ he said.
A large number of people at the gathering rose in support of the prayer even as the second petitioner, Mr Ayodele Adebayo, endorsed everything Tolu had said.
Bewaji struggling to control anti-Banire chants that had rent the air, said the committee would deliberate on the issue and come up with a recommendation.
He said the committee would do a thorough job based on the facts on ground.
Bewaji said the committee would do its work without let or hindrance and that the recommendation would be out soon.
NAN reports that the party in the ward had a few weeks ago announced the suspension of Banire over the same allegations.
The National Working Committee of the party, however, nullified the suspension, saying the ward executive committee lacked the power to suspend a national officer.
Banire, who is the party’s National Legal Adviser, had also described his suspension as `laughable,’ saying it was aimed at stopping him from insisting on internal democracy in the state chapter.