•Aspirants stranded, nomination forms unavailable
By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The scheduled February 26 national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, now hangs in the balance, following high-level intrigues designed to arrive at a consensus option for most of the positions, Vanguard has learned.
According to APC’s national convention timetable and schedule of activities, the sale of forms for all positions in the National Working Committee, NWC, was to have begun yesterday but some of the aspirants who were at the national secretariat of the party could not get the forms and were asked to come back at another time.
Multiple party sources explained that the contract for the printing of the nomination forms was yet unawarded as of yesterday.
It was gathered that some influential stakeholders of the party were still working to arrive at a consensus option which they call a “unity list”.
One of the sources at the APC national secretariat said: “The nomination forms are not ready. In fact, nobody is talking about the printing of any form here. Under normal circumstances, the party would have advertised the sale of nomination forms, indicating the cost of forms for various offices before now. Or have you seen such an advert?
“We are all at a loss for now. We don’t even know what to tell some of the aspirants who have been coming. Nobody, but the national caretaker committee can tell you the position of things.”
Another party official, who is in the know of the various schemings, ahead of the convention, said the delay in the sale of forms was a result of division among some party leaders and among the governors.
While some are said to be pushing for a consensus option, others were said to be canvassing for a level playing ground for all the contestants.
Two national chairmanship aspirants, one from North-Central and the other from North-East, sent emissaries to make enquiries on the sale of forms but got no concrete information regarding the subject matter.
Four other aspirants for the office of National Youth Leader were also seen at the APC national secretariat yesterday.
Speaking with our correspondent under the condition of anonymity, a campaign Director-General of a frontline APC national chairmanship aspirant from the North-Central expressed disappointment over the development, wondering whether the party was ready for the said national convention.
He said: “You can see I am here to make an enquiry regarding the sale of nomination forms on behalf of my principal but I can tell you I have not got any concrete information. The party officials just told me to come back, but when? I don’t know. Seriously, we are completely at sea.”
Another national chairmanship aspirant, Chief Sunny Sylvester Moniedafe, lamented the development.
He said: “I have been on this issue for over 20 months now and in less than two weeks to the convention, we are still asking questions. We want to know what is happening. I have been in touch with the party headquarters since Thursday and even today (yesterday) and they keep telling me no news. The APC should tell us what is happening.
“No communication from the party. We have to be told of the zoning arrangement. Nothing is happening in less than two weeks to the convention. I don’t think that is fair to us.”
Asked if the development could lead to another postponement of the convention, the chairmanship aspirant said; “This convention must hold, nothing can stop it. Just that the delay and non-release of information are not expected.
”If they want consensus, let them come out and say so. There is nothing wrong with consensus, but call all the parties involved. The delay is uncalled for.”
A youth leader of APC from the South-East who equally spoke in confidence said his findings showed that the party was yet to print the forms and wondered why the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee will like to play with the ambition of party members.
“From their body language, it seems the caretaker committee is out to sabotage the convention. I am here today keeping with the timetable of the convention to purchase the form, only to be told that the forms are not available.
“I know of seven aspirants from south-east and south-south who are in Abuja today (yesterday) for the forms. This is demoralizing and discouraging. Our leaders should stop toying with the future of this party,” the aspirant advised.
Although the CECPC of APC has no spokesperson, some of its members who were contacted either declined comments or were not immediately available to pick up their calls.