By Tordue Salem
ABUJA — Former Information Minister, Prince Tony Momoh, has emerged the National Chairman of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC. The National Secretary of the party is one of its founding members, Engr. Buba Galadima.
The duo were chosen among a litany of aspirants to the executive of the party, after a marathon session of voting by party delegates from the 36 states of the federation, which lasted 48 hours. The new chairman of the party succeeded the party’s Protem Chairman, Mr. Oscar Udoji, in an exercise described as “credible and transparent.”
The party had, Tuesday, ratified the Presidential candidacy of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd). Momoh in his acceptance speech, said he would work with other party men “to build a party of integrity and discipline” and “discourage a situation where members of the party would want to act as gods.”
The CPC had on Tuesday, held a marathon ‘stakeholders’ meeting’ with the Ahamba and Momoh factions in a Abuja ahead of a National Convention.
Though the meeting was close-door, a key member of the party told Vanguard that it was at the instance Gen. Buhari. The contestants for the office of the National Chairman of the party, Messrs Mike Ahamba and Tony Momoh were in attendance, as well as some of the financiers of the party and Kano State governorship aspirants, Alhaji Rufai Hanga and Muhammed Sani Abacha.
With expectations to seal an alliance deal with the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, next Thursday, the CPC had to tidy up its National Convention and ensure a hitch-free emergence of a National Chairman and other party executives at the Eagle Square.
The Momoh and Ahamba factions of the party had last week bickered over the choice of who heads the party at the convention. Buhari, a long time associate of Ahamba had opted for Tony Momoh, while a faction sympathetic to Ahamba insisted the General’s choice was wrong and unfair.
Buhari and other supporters of the party at a convention committee had ‘provisionally’ zoned the slot of Chairman to South-South zone of the Country, with Mr. Momoh, who is from Edo State in mind.
But the Ahamba faction, at a press briefing held last week, maintained that the decision of the Buhari camp was against the constitution of the party. The Constitution they argued, is silent on zoning.
Mr. Ahamba at the press briefing in Abuja told journalists that the choice of a zone for the chairmanship slot was “against the wishes of the majority in the CPC”.
Mr. Ahamba who decided to suspend his declaration for the Chairmanship of the Party, said the decision by the Buhari-led BOT to zone the post of the Chairmanship of the party to the South-South, is “against the Constitution of the Party”, as according to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), the document does not recognize zoning.
“Today I was to announce my plans as Chairman of CPC, but I can no longer do so in-view of what has developed since yesterday (Tuesday).
“Only last night the Board of Trustee of the party of which I am a member, took a position, zoning away the Chairmanship position of the party out of the South-East.
“The BOT having taken this position, I have decided to make consultations with those that endorsed me for the position.
“Whatever the result of that consultation is, I will inform everybody accordingly. CPC is a democratic party and our constitution does not provide for zoning.
“I feel highly disappointed by the development, but I am a team player that is why I have decided to consult first before taking any step”, he said.
He recalled that “On September 26, around 1:30 am, twenty-one chairmen of the respective state chapters of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, paid me an un-expected visit in my hotel room to invite me to consider running for the national Chairman of the party”, he added that the visit surprised him, because “they took me by surprise because it has never been my concern or part of my political agenda”.
Ahamba, who was the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Legal Counsel, and is a founding member of the CPC, considered his travails, a betrayal from Buhari, whom he said should have stood by him.
“In fact I am shocked and embarrassed that Buhari has not been able to stand for me. I am shocked that he will stand and let a party board he presides over to humiliate me and zone the position to the South-South, against the party’s constitution. I consider it a betrayal”, he said.
The seasoned lawyer, said “There is nothing I have not done for the party and for Buhari, except that I have not committed a crime for him”.