APC

*No stampeding APC into wrong moves — CECPC

*Adds: ‘We must avoid PDP’s mistakes, self-destruction’

*Stakeholders allege plot to shift February convention based on security report

*CECPC to meet tomorrow

*Emenike denies shunning Abia APC reconciliation committee meeting

By Clifford Ndujihe & Omeiza Ajayi

Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, were at press time last night locked in a meeting in what party sources said is to chart a way forward for the conduct of APC’s long-awaited national convention.

No fewer than 16 of the governors came for the meeting at the Kebbi State Governor’s Lodge in the Asokoro District of Abuja.

The governors are said to be divided as to whether to go on with the convention in February or shift it to a later date.

Among governors in attendance at the meeting are Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Mohammed Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).

Others are Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Ben Ayade (Cross River), and Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara).

No stampeding APC into wrong moves — CECPC

Meanwhile, the national leadership of  the  APC has picked holes in allegations that the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, does not want to conduct the national convention and is plotting to shift the exercise using security report.

Secretary of the CECPC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, who assured party faithful of a world class convention, however, said that the committee will not be stampeded into taking wrong steps that will destroy the party.

Noting that President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Mai Mala Buni, who chairs the CECPC and members of the CECPC, are not contesting for any position in the convention, Akpanudoedehe debunked insinuations that the CECPC does not want to conduct the convention.

Indeed, members of the CECPC will meet tomorrow to thrash out the issue.

Some top chieftains of the party have alleged moves to procure a security report against the conduct of the national convention, next month.

A section of the party claimed at the weekend that the convention would be held on February 25. The claim was discountenanced by another section which observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will be conducting six bye elections on February 26th in four states and may not monitor the convention as its staff would be deployed for the bye elections.

Besides, APC has candidates in these elections and leaders of the party in the four states are expected to be at the convention. It is improbable they would be taking part in the bye elections and national convention at the same time.

Also, some stakeholders on the aegis of APC Rebirth Group claimed that there are plots to extend the convention date beyond February 2022.

The stakeholders also called on governors who are members of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC to immediately resign their appointments.

Apart from the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni who chairs the CECPC, other governors on the committee are Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State.

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC in Abia State, Chief Ikechi Emenike, has faulted media reports that he was absent at the meeting of the National APC Reconciliation in state, saying he wrote the committee.

Security report

An aggrieved chieftain who pleaded anonymity said the governors are currently divided on plans to shift the convention, but that majority of them are against such moves.

“We heard that they are basing their arguments on the fact that the Congresses were riddled with crises in various stages, most of them violent. But we are waiting to see which agency will give them such (security) report. There is no time you won’t have crisis in the party,” he said.

An official of the party also told  Vanguard that while some people are citing security concerns in asking for the postponement of the exercise, Tuesday’s meeting of the CECPC would show the direction in which the party is going.

“Already, the governors are expected to meet on Sunday night and then possibly meet with the President on Monday. If these two events hold, then they would form the kernel of discussion during Tuesday’s meeting of the CECPC.”

Group asks Gov Oyetola to quit CECPC

The APC Rebirth Group specifically kicked against the continued membership of the Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola on the committee, having recently declared his ambition to stand for re-election.

The stakeholders said: “The APC Rebirth has been reliably informed that the Caretaker Committee was behind various news report planted in the media that the convention has been fixed for February 25th  2022. The CECPC, having realized that no less than six states will be going to the polls for various bye-elections on the 26th  of February, 2022, decided to plant a February 25th  date in the media knowing full well that the convention cannot be taking place at a time bye-elections in which the party would be participating will also be taking place across different states in the country”, said Engr. Aliyu Audu, spokesperson of the stakeholders.

“The real plot is to use the planted February 25th  date to buy more time, pretending it has no knowledge of the forthcoming bye-election, by which time it will be left with no option but to postpone the much-awaited February convention to another date.

He continued: “In any case, the purported February 25th    date, just like many other decisions that have been taken by the Caretaker Committee, was not a collective decision by members of the Committee. This is the reason it opted to plant the date in the media rather than coming out with an official position.”

While the stakeholders recommended February 19 as a feasible date for the convention that will give the APC a new set of elected National Working Committee members, they reiterated that any attempt by the Buni-led Caretaker Committee to move the convention any further under any guise will be resisted by all means possible.

The group also kicked against the continued membership of the Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola on the caretaker committee in spite of his re-election ambition.

“The APC Rebirth also uses this opportunity to call for the re-jigging of the membership of the Caretaker Committee. Aside from the obvious travesty of being in contravention of Section 183 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria which forbids sitting governors from the membership of the committee, the continuous stay of Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State especially, is disrespect to our laws and morals.

“The governor, who will be standing as an aspirant in the forthcoming governorship primary election in Osun State cannot be a judge in his own case. He should therefore relinquish his membership of the Caretaker Committee, considering that CECPC may prepare and most likely conduct the primary election for the number one seat in Osun State. 

“With our established reputation for respecting laws and rules, the APC cannot continue to disregard a clear constitutional provision as regards the composition of the Caretaker Committee. It is therefore incumbent on all APC leaders, especially President Muhammadu Buhari, to prevail on all the governors in the party’s Caretaker Committee to resign forthwith.”

APC must avoid self-destruction

Looking at the allegations, Secretary of the CECPC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, said that the Buni-led CECPC would not allow aggrieved people ‘’to stampede it into destroying the party or taking wrong steps.”

Another leader of the party, Senator Abubakar Dada, said APC members should be cautious less they destroy their own house

Sources at the party’s headquarters said, ‘’the CECPC is planning seriously towards a convention.   The only thing is that they want to make sure it is appropriately timed to frustrate the expectations of defeatist tendencies within the party.

‘’The party was in turmoil during the tenure of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, which encouraged President Buhari to rescue the party through the creation of the CECPC led by Governor Buni. Substantially, the party has been transformed from having 19 governors to 22 and majority of National Assembly members.

‘’The party embarked on hugely successful membership registration exercise that recorded over 40 million members thereby making the APC the largest political party in Africa. Subsequently, the party embarked successful ward, local government and state congresses across the country.”

Senator Akpanudoedehe said a party that has recorded all these achievements is on ‘’a sure-footing to conduct the best national convention Nigerians have ever witnessed.” It is just a question of time. All APC leaders agreed to hold the forthcoming convention. The disagreement is the timing. While some want it like yesterday regardless of the consequences, the managers of the party are advising caution.

Senator Akpanudoedehe picked holes in allegations that the CECPC does not want to conduct the national convention. According to him the allegations are balderdash because none of President Buhari, Governor Buni or any member of the CECPC is contesting at the convention and assured APC faithful of ‘’a world class convention.”

Also, a leader of the APC cautioned leaders and members of the party against self-destruction.

Said the party leader: “A former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Adamau Mua’zu once said that the PDP started failing when they became complacent with power and believed that no power can take PDP out of power. Former President Goodluck Jonathan quickly left power because he could not take the behaviour of PDP members who felt victory was for him alone and took things for granted.

“Now, the APC is taking the rulership of the party for granted and pulling the party from various angles. Leading leaders of the party are eager to pull the party down if their wishes are not met. Some want to control the party executive as if it is a private estate. Some want to be national chairman at all cost regardless of what the party says. Others have made up their minds to leave and want to use the national convention as an excuse to walk away. Some are being sponsored to use the national convention as a ruse to create a parallel national exco. When the convention did not come according to their timetable, one of these groups was sponsored to say they are now a parallel CECPC.”

Emenike denies shunning  Abia APC reconciliation committee meeting

Meanwhile, Emenike his faulted claims by   Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the leader of the APC National Reconciliation Committee that he shunned the reconciliation parley in Abia State.

The two leading protagonists in the Abia State APC crisis, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Ikechi Emenike were not physically present at the National Reconciliation Committee meeting of the Party on Friday. While the Orji Kalu’s group was represented by Senator Chris Adighije, Nnanna Kalu, Dr. Alex Otti and the factional Chairman-elect of the Party, Acho Obioma among others, Chief Emenike said he submitted a three-part memo to the Committee, which he said is contrary to the insinuation by Senator Abdullahi Adamu that he shunned the Committee’s meeting.

According to Mr. Okey Ezeala, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Abia State, “ all over the world, some people can opt to be physically present before a committee while others may send written responses which Chief Emenike did in this instant case.”

Ezeala said it was strange that the Senator Adamu-led committee did not deem it fit to invite the elected exco of the APC in Abia State, adding that Chief Emenike in his report urged the Committee to permit the Orji Kalu’s group the opportunity to face the consequences of their decision to boycott the APC national congress. He pointed out that Chief Emenike attached two full court judgments that backed the congresses of the National Headquarters of the Party conducted in Abia State.

It could be recalled that the Orji Uzor Kalu faction of the Party led by Donatus   Nwankpa did not participate in last October’s congress, which produced Enyinnaya Harbour as state chairman of the party. Harbour, however, died on December 9, 2021.

On January 8, 2022, Abia APC elected a new chairman to replace Harbour. The Chairman of the special state congress committee, Babatunde Kolawole, revealed that the National Working Committee of the APC had scheduled the congress to fill the vacant position in the state executive committee. He announced that Kingsley Ononogbu polled 1,069 votes to clinch the chairmanship.

Adamu’s c’ttee positioning APC for 2023 electoral victory, national convention —Okechukwu

However, a chieftain of the ruling APC and Director General, Voice of Nigeria VON, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has hailed efforts of the Senator Abdullahi Adamu Reconciliation Committee which he said is positioning APC for its national convention and 2023 electoral victory.

Okechukwu told journalists in Abuja, yesterday, that the decision to set up the reconciliation committee was one of the sterling achievements of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC led by Governor Mai Mala Buni.

He however recalled with pain that since June 2020 when the APC caretaker committee led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, was inaugurated, the convention has been postponed several times due to serious crisis in the party.

The VON DG however expressed optimism that “the efforts of Senator Adamu’s Committee will lead to a seamless national convention, a mandate which President Buhari gave the Buni-led CECPC.”

Okechukwu, who was a member of the sub committees in the merger process that formed APC, noted that the Senator Adamu-led Reconciliation committee has been going about its responsibilities with uncommon insight, purpose and empathy.

On reports about setbacks suffered by the committee in some states, Okechukwu said: “Nobody expected the crisis dogging over 15 state chapters to be settled at once. All I know is that the Senator Adamu’s Committee has so far recorded huge successes in the South East, North West, North East, South-West and South-South. Yes, there are unresolved issues in states like Osun, Kwara and Adamawa, but my understanding is that reconciliation is a work in progress.”

The APC chieftain disclosed that he participated in the meeting for reconciliation of the three factions or tendencies in his home state, Enugu

“One was impressed with how diligent and painstaking Senator Adamu and his team grilled us. That one can say today that we are rebuilding APC Enugu State Chapter with Senator Ken Nnamani, former Governor Sulivan Chime and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrey Onyeama, which was mangled by the congresses.

“It must be noted that the Committee rebuked us for playing blame games instead of building bridges for victory in the forthcoming 2023 general elections. Today, we are almost united, as we are harmonising at ward, local government and state levels. We hope before the end of this week, APC Enugu State chapter will reunite as one family”, he stated.

Okechukwu expressed optimism that Abia, Gombe, Akwa Ibom and other states would comply with advisory template of the Senator Adamu’s Committee, adding   “based on what I have witnessed, the Senator Adamu Committee will reconcile all the prolonged crisis in the state chapters, which contributed to the delays in holding the party’s national convention.”

VANGUARD NEWS NIGERIA

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