•Fixes convention for Feb 26, 2022
•Names Lawan, Gbajabiamila into c’ttee
•Buni cries foul, seeks arrest of sponsors for treasonable felony
•APC denies zoning chairmanship to North Central
•It’s an open contest, says Modu Sheriff
By Omeiza Ajayi
THE crisis of leadership in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, took a turn for the worse, yesterday, following the purported disbandment of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, by one of the support groups in the party, the Progressive Youth Movement, PYM.
Consequently, the movement named its leader, Prince Mustapha Audu as Chairman of the new CECPC with a mandate to conduct the party’s national convention on February 26, 20222.
The youths also named Senate President Ahmad Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila into the new CECPC as representatives of the National Assembly.
However, Governor Buni immediately fired back, asking for the arrest of Audi and his co-travellers for treasonable felony.
Mustapha is the son of a former governor of Kogi state and late chieftain of the party, Prince Abubakar Audu.
Since it came into power in 2015, the APC has always broken into factions ahead of general elections.
In July 2018, less than a year to the 2019 general election, a group led by the former Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Buba Galadima, broke away from the party to form what was then known as the Reformed APC.
Penultimate week, some North-West APC youths vowed to take over the party, and announce date for the national convention, this week.
At a news conference in Abuja, Prince Mustapha Audu said his group is out to rescue the party from imminent collapse.
“Today we are here to inaugurate the PYM – CECPC. These young men and women of noble repute have been carefully selected and mandated by all the well-meaning young stakeholders of our great party, the APC, to plan and execute our convention before the end of February 2022,” he said.
Audu, who also inaugurated reconciliatory and advisory committees to interface with aggrieved stakeholders and resolve all issues, added that his group would use all available legal means to chase the Buni committee out of the “Buhari House” national secretariat of the party.
He said: “We are aware of the plethora of issues within the party. Our party has had a history of shying away from true reconciliation and in many cases inflicting chastisement on members that should have been rewarded for their effort towards building the APC.
“We will also be setting up a reconciliatory committee to help reconcile aggrieved members within the party.
“It is clear that in the last couple of years the party has been on a regressive course and it is necessary for all well-meaning party members to roll up our sleeves and do the needful to ensure that we correct the mistakes that have been made, to ensure victory in 2023 for all stakeholders.
“I would advise all party members to look inwards and understand the need to do things differently so that we can ensure we win back the trust of the Nigerian people as we move closer to the election year.
“Let us join hands and strengthen our internal democracy in our dear party the APC and show Nigerians that we have what it takes and we deserve their votes in 2023. Without further ado, I would like to read out the list of our Caretaker Committee members to be inaugurated today.”
Other committee members inaugurated include: Vice Chair North, Tukur Tukur Buratai; Vice Chair South, Busayo Akinnadeju; South West Representative, Hon. Omowunmi Ogungbaibi; South East Representative, Barr Nonso Nwaebili; South South Representative, Prince Godswill Edward; North Central Representative, Dr Ibrahim Abdul; North East Representative, Hon. Ibrahim A Waziri; North West Representative, Bello Bala Shagari; Senate Representative, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan; for House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Physically Challenged, Sajo Xcarfini.
Countering, The Buni-led committee in a statement by its Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe described members of the new CECPC as impostors as they are not registered members of the APC.
He said: “We have received several enquiries from the media and concerned APC members on the felonious activities of a purported group parading themselves as ‘Progressive Youth Movement’.
“The purported group and membership are unknown to the Party, its structure or as a registered support group. Hence, we completely disown them and cannot account for their activities or join issues with them.
“However laughable, the criminal attempt of the purported group to usurp the leadership of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC now bothers on treasonable felony. Relevant security bodies must now check and address their unscrupulous activities.
“The attention the purported group seeks will not be given to them by the party. We can only advise that the general public completely disregard them. Members of this group are not registered members of the APC and are being used by opposition elements and fifth columnists to cause confusion.
“As widely reported, the successful meeting between the APC leadership, Progressive Governors’ Forum and the President produced February 2022 as the time frame for the Party’s National Convention. Our focus now is preparing the grounds for a rancour-free exercise.”
APC denies zoning Chairmanship to North Central
Meanwhile, ahead of its February 2022 national convention, the APC has denied zoning its national chairmanship ticket to the North Central geopolitical zone.
National Secretary of the CECPC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, disclosed in Abuja, yesterday.
This was as the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff Campaign Organization said the race for the party’s national chairmanship is an open contest, not restricted to any geopolitical zone.
Reacting to a media report indicating that the party had zoned the ticket to the North-Central zone, Akpanudoedehe said the issue of zoning has not been discussed by the CECPC.
“I have the mandate to report whatever decision the CECPC takes and to the best of my knowledge the committee has not discussed zoning.
“People are just flying what will favour their interests. All I know is that the caretaker committee has not discussed or reached a zoning decision,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, the Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff Campaign Organisation has also described the report as laughable, saying it is the figment of the imagination of its peddlers.
Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff, a two term governor of Borno, is a frontline aspirant for the APC chairmanship.
Media Director of the organization, the Sen. Victor Lar, said; “We find the purported story as very laughable because the organs of the party that are supposed to communicate that kind of information are not the ones communicating it. For that reason, we will take it with a pinch of salt.
“Again, the APC as a party has never adopted zoning, therefore, the story of it zoning the national championship to the North Central can better be described as a figment of the imaginations of those who planted it.“
“We find the report as the very poor scheming of people who are scared of contesting the position with Sheriff”.
According to him, Sheriff’s hard work and his manner of campaign has unsettled other aspirants, especially because he has gained unprecedented support from party members and critical stakeholders from across the country.