By EMMANUEL AZIKEN, Political Editor
The interim national chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Bisi Akande, is to remove himself from seeking the office in the forthcoming national convention of the party.
His decision not to contest despite appeals from senior party figures, including a prominent national leader, would open the way for the implementation of the recommendation of the party’s governors that the office be moved out of the South-West to the South-South or South-East.
Already, party elders, it was learnt, are canvassing two prominent figures from Edo State— Chief Tom Ikimi and Chief John Odigie-Oyegun— as replacement for Akande, who has been commended for his stabilising role in the merger of the former Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, into APC.
It was the first successful merger of registered political parties in post independent Nigeria.
Akande, who has successfully steered the affairs of the party towards becoming the opposition party, sources in the party say, would step aside based on age.
Chief Akande was, however, reticent yesterday saying that the issue is not for the press.
“What I have in mind to do for now is not for the pages of the newspaper,” Akande, a former governor of Osun State told Vanguard yesterday.
Akande, it was learnt, had even before the merger inclined himself to only serving as an interim national chairman.
Aged 75, he had served as deputy governor to the late Chief Bola Ige who was governor of the old Oyo State between 1979 and 1983 and was eventually elected governor of Osun State in 1999.
With Akande out of the way, party sources revealed, shopping for a new chairman has begun with Ikimi and Odigie-Oyegun topping the list.
However, chances of Ikimi receiving the open support of the influential South-West wing of the party narrowed on Tuesday after the shouting match between him and a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.