BY Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The stage is set for a showdown at the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of All Progressives Congress, APC, today, as party elders seek to bridge a widening gulf between major stakeholders in the party.
At issue is the future direction of the opposition party which has seen a new power bloc aiming to reshape its culture and power configurations.
Today’s meeting, Vanguard learnt, is expected to be very stormy given the high stakes involved as the zoning of the incoming national executive is expected to be decided.
Meanwhile, APC has raised alarm over what it claimed, yesterday, as an orchestrated harassment and intimidation of its members in Bayelsa State.
The party said that the pressure against its members in Bayelsa was apparently aimed at ensuring that the party does not get a foothold in the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Though today’s NEC meeting has been called to deliberate on issues arising from the recently concluded congresses in some states, party insiders were yesterday apprehensive that unfinished issues arising from last Tuesday’s national caucus would cast a shadow on the meeting.
At that meeting, the national Vice-Chairman, South-South, Chief Tom Ikimi and the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu reportedly exchanged hot words arising from a secret memo authored by Ikimi over his concerns about the party.
That memo, which was eventually leaked and exclusively published by Vanguard had raised concerns over the bleeding of the party in some states and Ikimi’s Edo State upon the grievances that followed the party congresses.
Of special interest to party followers at today’s meeting would be the unresolved issue of the congresses in Ogun State where two parallel executives loyal to a national leader of the party, Aremo Segun Osoba and Governor Ibikunle Amosun, respectively, were thrown up.
The party has also been under pressure in Edo, Delta and some other northern states on account of clashes between established interests in the party in the states.
Vanguard gathered yesterday that the NEC meeting is expected to deliberate on the zoning of national offices of the party ahead of the national convention of the party.
A new power bloc within the party championed by the party’s governors, Vanguard learnt, had recommended that the new national chairman of the party should come from the South-South or the South-East.
That recommendation, it was learnt, had been seriously opposed by a powerful national leader of the party, who, it was learnt, had sought to retain the office of the national chairman in the South-west.
The party’s governors, Vanguard learnt, had succeeded in persuading the national leadership on the necessity of pushing forward a national chairman from the South-South or the South-East.
One of the reasons, it was learnt, was to project a Christian as national chairman, a fact that would help bury criticisms against the party as being a pro-Muslim.
It would also take deliberate efforts to ensure a balance in the religious configuration of its national executive.