April 26, 2018

Fresh clouds over APC convention, as govs engage NWC in battle of wits

Fresh clouds over APC convention, as govs engage NWC in battle of wits

President Muhammadu Buhari (sitting middle) with APC Governors after their meeting at the President’s House in Daura, Katsina State on Friday (16/2/18)

By Omeiza Ajayi

…Odigie-Oyegun will not contest against Buhari’s choice

ABUJA—The prospects of a seamless election of a new set of national officers for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are being beclouded by fresh intrigues over varied opinions by the governors and the outgoing leadership.

It also emerged yesterday that the outgoing national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun may have buckled to pressures from the presidency and may have opted out of seeking re-election.

At a closed-door meeting with the National Working Committee, NWC, at the party secretariat, the governors pressed for a postponement of the scheduled congresses and convention, even as the NWC officials disputed the claim by the governors to appoint officers to conduct the congresses.

From left: Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State; Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State; Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State; Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State briefing journalists at a Press Parley after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 04/04/2018

Odigie-Oyegun’s bid for re-election appeared to have been sealed after the governors asked him to go and reconcile his re-election bid with his state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.

The governor and the mainstream of the party in the state are believed to be working for the ambition of the immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to replace Odigie-Oyegun.

Vanguard gathered from multiple sources yesterday that Odigie-Oyegun had decided out of deference to President Muhammadu Buhari to drop any bid for re-election after the president showed his preference for Oshiomhole.

The governors it was gathered at the meeting with the NWC members protested the schedule for the congresses as untenable as they said that it would conflict with the Ramadan Fast scheduled to commence in about three weeks.

The congresses and convention had earlier been scheduled to hold between May 2 and 14.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State said the meeting resolved to sustain the existing zoning pattern for the NWC.

Party spokesman Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi also speaking said:

“The governors are interested in the committees that will come to their states to conduct the congresses. So, we made it clear to them that this is a constitutional matter and the constitution of APC has put the responsibility for the composition of the congresses committee only in the NWC and that by Friday, this week, the list of congresses committee will be ready”.

On the timetable for the Congresses and convention, he said; “There were also observations from the side of governors about the timetable for the congresses and the convention as the observation was that the timetable was too close and that does not leave much room for errors but the observation was that the timetable as it is currently constituted or composed was determined because of the Ramadan and we want to be sensitive to the feelings of Muslims who will be fasting in the month of Ramadan.

“Therefore, there are some possibilities that the timetable will be reviewed. It is not decided yet.

Corroborating the position of Mallam Abdullahi, Gov. Ganduje said; “We discussed the issue of the timetable and time limit for the congresses and convention and we decided that NWC should review the timetable because in the previous timetable, the Ward and local government congresses were too close.

“We equally discovered that the congresses were designed to hold on working days and normally we use public premises like schools and secretariats for the conduct of the congresses. Fixing the congresses during working days means that such places cannot be available. We agreed that the congresses should hold over the weekends.”

Also reviewing President Buhari’s reported endorsement of Oshiomhole for the party job, Governor Ganduje said:“Just like every other person, Mr President has the right to air his opinion but that does not mean he would stop any person who will like to contest from contesting. Mr President’s opinion is not constitutional and it is not a non-constitutional opinion as well. He just voiced out his thoughts which will serve as a guideline to some and otherwise to some.”