By Clifford Ndujihe
LAGOS — The February scheduled national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, may not hold next month as being planned.
As dust of uncertainty clouds the exercise, a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and governors elected on the platform of the party did not hold, yesterday, as disclosed by Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong.
President Buhari had on Thursday urged APC leaders to put their house in order to enable the ruling party retain power, next year.
Failing to do so, he warned that the APC would be paving the way for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to snatch victory in 2023.
Inability to agree on when to hold the national convention, and raging crises in some states are some of the challenges afflicting the ruling party.
Said President Buhari: ‘’We have a time-frame we have to work because the four-year tenure is constitutional. It cannot be interfered with by anybody. So, if the APC can’t agree, then, the opposition will naturally take over.”
On Friday, Plateau Governor, Lalong, who is the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, told reporters in Abuja that the crisis in the party would be resolved, that APC governors and the president would meet, yesterday, to pick a date in February for the national convention.
He said: “When a convention is coming, there are fears here and there. Some people will tell you it will work, it will not work. There is already a notice that all the governors are meeting on Sunday. By Sunday, we will tell you when we’re doing the convention.
“We said we’re going to do it in February and we are still working for the convention, except things change from another angle. These are things that the President was raising his fears about, but we’ve given him assurances that nothing will stop us from having a peaceful election.”
However, contrary to assurances of Lalong, the president and the governors did not meet yesterday, and no time has been fixed for the national convention.
Indeed, a host of APC governors were in their states, yesterday, for other activities, rather than being in Abuja for the meeting. An aide to one of the governors in the South-West said: “We are at home. We can hold our meeting virtually. It must not be physical. Call the secretariat to know what happened, why they did not meet, and when they are going to meet.”
Sources at the Progressives Governors’ secretariat picked holes in Lalong’s claim that a notice for the meeting had been circulated.
“We are not aware of any meeting and no notice of meeting has been issued, a source at the Secretariat of the PGF in Abuja, said, yesterday.
Sources at the Presidential Villa said the President had no meeting with APC governors, and no APC governor came to brief him on any issue, yesterday.
As it is, the search for harmony in APC continues. It is to be seen if the national convention will be held next month. To do so, the party hierarchy must officially inform the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, 21 days to the scheduled date. In essence, the party has up to February 7, to do so if the convention is fixed for February 28.