…Yahaya Bello attends on crutches
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, governors yesterday, ended in deadlock .
The governor of Kogi State, Yamaha Bello attended the meeting using crutches as a result of minor domestic accident he had.
The meeting which was under closed-door at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja started at about 2:15pm and ended at 3:30pm, with all the governors coming out with long faces and maintained sealed lips .
The president had apologized for coming in late as it was scheduled for 2.00pm.
He said, “I apologize for coming a bit late.,”
All attempts made by the State House correspondents to know the outcome of the meeting could not yield any positive result.
Before the meeting went into closed-door, governors of Plateau State, Simon Lalong and Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu said the opening prayers.
Although nobody was ready to talk but findings revealed that the recent declaration by President Buhari that the elongation of the tenure of the National Working Committee, NWC, APC, was illegal and the proposed care-taker committee to be led by former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole were the main issues.
The position of the President has brought division among the governors and indeed some party faithful.
All the governors approached, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Lalong as well as Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to speak on the outcome of the meeting all said they had reached agreement that there will be no comment.
It was however gathered that President Buhari had at some point during the meeting, left the governors to decide on the next date the meeting will reconvene, while the Zamfara Governor who is Chairman of the Governors Forum, Abdulazeez Yari, proposed April 9th and 10th, El-Rufai, challenged him on why he picked those dates.
A source privy to the meeting said that at a point, it became rowdy as each of them try to make his position known and the governors stomped out of the meeting venue.
Some of the governors emerged from the venue of the meeting wearing a frown, while others in order to douse the tensed atmosphere, held their lips, indicating they were not going to comment.
One of the governors leaving the venue of the meeting was heard telling his colleagues with him, “some people who think they are tall, think they can control us, it will not work.”
Earlier, before President Buhari entered the Council Chambers for the meeting, the governors had formed a circle round, the Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, and were seen arguing.
Some where overheard saying “what they are bringing to the table today, we will not allow it to stand. This is a coup and we will not allow it to stand.”
One had been overheard saying angrily in Hausa language, “ba zamu yeda ba,” meaning, “we will not agree.”
Along the same line, another governor was heard saying that they would not allow themselves to be controlled by anybody.
All the APC Governors were in attendance including, the governor of Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun, who later joined 30 minutes after the meeting had commenced.
El-Rufai had arrived the presidential villa at some minutes to 10am ahead of the meeting earlier scheduled for 2pm and went straight to the President’s office.
The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, came in crutches, following an accident he had over the Easter holiday.
Apart from the governors, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari and deputy chief of staff to the president, Ade Ipaye were also in attendance.
Recall that at the APC National Executive Committee meeting last week Tuesday, President Buhari had said “I am delighted to once again welcome you to this National Executive Committee Meeting of our great party. As we usually do, I hope we will take the opportunity of this gathering to resolve outstanding issues and consolidate our plans towards making APC the strongest defender of the interests of our people.
“In particular, I think it is important for me to speak quickly on the contentious issue of the tenure of our National and State Executive Officers. As we all know, a motion was moved at the last National Executive Committee meeting of February 27, 2018, to the effect that when the tenure of the current executives expire in June this year, they should be allowed to continue for one year.
“This motion was duly carried by a majority of members present at the last NEC Meeting, even though some of our party members have since spoken up very vehemently against it. Others have even taken the matter to court.
“On my own part, I have taken some time to review and seek advise on the resolution. And what I found is that it contravenes both our party Constitution and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
This his position sparked off controversy and even litigation as some members of the National Executive Council had insisted that the decision for elongation of the tenure was the best in view of the forthcoming elections.