.Say, Party won’t implode
.As stakeholders dissociate selves from the unilateral dissolution of CECPC
Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Amidst the battle to oust the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, the Yobe governor on Sunday night got a soft landing from his colleagues who passed a vote of confidence on him.
Governors of the party under the aegis of Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF had on Sunday night met in Abuja to deliberate on the way forward, especially with regards to the party’s planned national convention.
While they declared that in spite of the current crisis facing it, the party will not implode, the governors equally passed a vote of confidence on two of their other colleagues on the CECPC. They are Abubakar Sani of Niger state and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun state, both of who are members of the Gov. Buni-led CECPC.
The meeting which started around 8 pm took place behind closed doors at the Kebbi state Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro.
At least 20 of the governors were in attendance and some of them included the host and Kebbi governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, his counterparts from Kogi, Nasarawa, Katsina, Plateau, Ekiti, Jigawa, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Borno, Ebonyi, Lagos, Zamfara, Niger, Ogun and Cross River.
The governors’ resolution came on a day The Progressive Youth Movement led by a former governorship aspirant in Kogi state, Mustapha Audu passed a vote of no confidence on Gov. Buni’s committee.
The youth movement had at the end of its Northwest town hall meeting in Kaduna on Sunday announced the dissolution of the Buni-led CECPC, adding that it would put in place a committee that would conduct the party’s national convention by February 2022.
A chieftain of the APC from Zamfara state, Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa had last week declared the CECPC as an illegal entity and expressed concerns that all actions taken by the committee since it was constituted remained illegal in the eyes of the law.
Marafa also dismissed threats by the Buni-led committee to throw him out of the APC, saying doing so would only aggravate the problems afflicting the party.
Stakeholders insist on rule of law
Disturbed by Sunday’s pronouncement of the youth group, the APC Rebirth Group, otherwise known as Concerned APC Stakeholders, said the battle to get the CECPC out of the way must follow all laid down rules of the party.
In a statement issued Monday in Abuja and signed by one of its leaders, Engr. Aliyu Audu, the stakeholders said while they agree in some of the sentiments expressed by the youth movement, they would not tackle illegality with illegality.
He said; “The attention of the APC Rebirth Group, otherwise known as Concerned APC Stakeholders, has been drawn to a communique by a youth group of the party purportedly dissolving the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC). We wish to dissociate ourselves from this intemperate action and to state that we do not support it in any way.
“While we share in some of the sentiments expressed by the youth group, especially those bothering on inclusion and the slow process leading to the much-anticipated convention of the party; we however believe that a blatant disregard for constituted authority is not the way to go”.
According to him, it is the considered opinion of the APC Rebirth Group that all party members must show respect and regard for offices and those who occupy them.
“While we believe that all groups and individuals within the party have the absolute right to express their grievances and even push for the needed reforms, just like we have done severally, we nonetheless believe that such actions must be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the party. We would not encourage any group or individuals to arrogate to themselves powers they do not have.
“While we reiterate our position on inclusion and the need to build a party that works for everyone, we call on all who feel strongly about the APC to exercise decorum, respect the rules of the party and not seek to engage in anti-social behaviours that violate the sanctity of the APC. The party has rules and procedures for changing leadership, and all party members, no matter how strongly we feel, must explore the legitimate and stipulated party rules and not act outside of them.
“We would like to again use this opportunity to reaffirm our call that the Gov. Buni-led Caretaker Committee, in the larger interest of the party members, should endeavour as a matter of urgency to do the right thing and put an end to all these needless distractions”, the stakeholders added.
Vote of Confidence
Addressing journalists after the PGF meeting, the Chairman, Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, was silent on the zoning arrangement for party offices at the national level.
He however said they were satisfied with the workings of the CECPC.
“The Progressive Governors Forum PGF met this evening at the Kebbi State Governor’s lodge. Among issues discussed were good governance and other issues considered developmental in the polity.
“We passed a vote of confidence on the caretaker committee that has done a wonderful job, chaired by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and two other governors who are members of the committee.
“We appreciated their conduct of the congresses that took place in both Wards and local governments as well as the state congresses and the efforts they have been making to ensure that anybody who is aggrieved or feels dissatisfied is respected and invited. Such individual is invited and calmed down and urged to support the party. Sometimes electoral processes are not without annoyance, but we are happy with the conduct of the caretaker committee”.
Bagudu said the governors were seeking an appointment with President Muhammadu Buhari to propose a date to him and discuss modalities for the conduct of the exercise.
“We agreed as a Forum, to seek an appointment to meet with the President and discuss with him the on-coming national convention of the party”, he said.
When asked whether the national convention would hold this year, Bagudu said; “When you are meeting with your party leadership, mind you, we are just one organ of the party and since we are making suggestions to both the party and our party leader, I think it is not fair to preempt or disclose it before the meeting holds.
“We hope to secure that appointment as quickly as possible. Following our meeting with the President, we will disclose what we recommended.
“We are seeking the appointment as soon as possible; as early as possible, maybe in the next few days”.
Bagudu dismissed speculations that the APC governors are trying to meet with the President to convince him not to assent the Electoral Act Amendment bill, saying the focus of the meeting with the President would be to discuss the forthcoming national convention of the party.
On the issue of zoning and direct primary, he said; “We discussed all issues that are pertinent to the progress of our party. On zoning, I am happy you said speculations. I just told you we are going to meet with our party leader and we appreciate your interest and we will certainly keep you informed as quickly as that meeting takes place”.
Bagudu also brushed off concerns of a possible implosion within the party in view of the crisis in many of its State chapters, a development threatening the smooth operations of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC.
“I don’t think those expressing such fears are representing reality. This is a party which was not only able to mobilize into its fold three outstanding governors, the Deputy Governor of Anambra state, members of the National Assembly, distinguished Nigerians from all walks of life and this is a party where the leadership is humbled to say to Nigerians, that is not enough. We all are seeking for Nigerians to join us so that we unify and serve Nigerians. While other parties are sending people away, we are, despite our strengths, inviting them to join us so that together we reposition and keep the progress agenda going”, he stated.
On the outcome of the November 6 Governorship Election in Anambra state, Bagudu described it as a victory for Nigeria, adding that it was the right of the party’s candidate to express his views on the outcome of the election.
He said;”That an election took place in Anambra, I think Nigeria has won, and the President has made a statement about that and we are equally proud of our security agencies.
“The party candidates in all elections have the pride of place to determine their views about the outcome, but we are proud that under the APC, an election that was hitherto thought to be impossible has taken place.”