•Dogara, Nnamani drop out
Clifford Ndujihe, Group Politics Editor, Henry Umoru, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
Indications emerged last night at the National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that the party had reached a consensus on 77 of 78 positions.
According to a ‘Unity List’ obtained by our Correspondent, Senator Abdullahi Adamu was endorsed by stakeholders, especially state governors, for the position of National Chairman while Senator Iyiola Omisore was endorsed as National Secretary.
Others were Senator Abubakar Kyari (Borno state) who was endorsed as Deputy National Chairman, North; Chief Emma Eneukwu (Enugu State) as Deputy National Chairman, South, and Barr. Festus Fuanter (Plateau) as Deputy National Secretary.
For the National Vice Chairmen, those endorsed were Muazu Rijau (Niger) for North Central; Mustapha Salihu (Adamawa) for North East; Salihu Moh. Lukman (Kaduna), North West; Dr Ijeoma Arodiogwu (Imo), South-East; Chief Victor Giadom, Rivers, South-South; and David Isaac Kekemeke, Ondo, South West.
Also in the list are Ahmed El-Marzuk from Katsina as National Legal Adviser; Uguru Ofoke from Ebonyi as National Treasurer; Bashir Gimel from Jigawa as National Financial Secretary, Sulaiman Argungu from Kebbi as National Organizing Secretary, and FN Nwosu from Abia as National Welfare Secretary.
Felix Morka from Delta was endorsed as National Publicity Secretary; Senator Abubakar Maikafi from Bauchi as National Auditor; Dr Beta Edu from Cross River as National Women Leader; and Dayo Israel from Lagos State as National Youth Leader among others.
The Convention was characterised by high wire politics as Senator Ken Nnamani, who was touted to emerge as Deputy National Chairman, South, suddenly dropped out of the ‘Unity List’.
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, who was running for the Deputy National Chairman (North), also pulled out of the race.
Meanwhile, the Convention ratified the APC Constitution 2022 as amended as well as all actions of the now defunct Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC.
Security operatives jam mobile networks
The Convention was, however, nearly marred by the alleged decision of security operatives to jam mobile telephone networks within the venue as journalists and observers found it difficult to relay the event using new media tools.
Scores of delegates and journalists were wounded following a security scare adjacent to the Anambra pavilion.
The scare, which led to a stampede, occurred at about 6:40 pm when an explosive sound was heard in a car parked within the premises.
Among those wounded were delegates and journalists.
As a precautionary measure, security operatives were later seen “sweeping” the pavilions of used cans.
The cause of the minor explosion could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
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Umahi, Rochas, Adamu in subtle presidential campaigns
Some presidential aspirants of the APC turned the Eagle Square venue of the National Convention of the party in Abuja into a campaign ground.
Chairman of the Convention Sub-committee on Venue and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who went around the square apparently in continuation of inspection of the venue, however, used the opportunity to meet with delegates from several states.
Following in his trail was a former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, who also went round the pavilions, “greeting” delegates from across the states.
Then came the youthful Adamu Garba who also went around the pavilions and engaged mostly with the younger delegates, to who he gave his campaign handbills.
Six Aspirants step down for Adamu
Six national chairmanship aspirants of the party earlier, yesterday, stepped down for President Muhammadu Buhari’s preferred candidate for the position, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
Adamu had been endorsed by Buhari after a series of meetings with governors of the ruling party in the lead up to the National Convention.
This was contained in a letter addressed to the Chairman, APC Election Sub-Committee and signed by one of the aspirants, Senator George Akume.
The letter reads: “May I kindly refer to the appeal by Mr. President for the Chairmanship aspirants of our great party to agree to a consensus arrangement wherein our colleague H.E. Sen. Abdullahi Adamu is made our consensus candidate for the chairmanship position and forward letters of withdrawal from the under listed aspirants to wit: H.E. Sen. Tanko Al-Makura, H.E. Sen. George Akume, H.E. Abdulaziz Yari, Sen. Sani Musa Muhammed, Com. Etsu Muhammed and Turaki Saliu Mustapha”.
Dogara steps down
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had stepped down from the race for the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party.
This was disclosed in a letter he sent to the Chairman, APC National Convention Election Sub-committee.
No fewer than 7, 584 delegates were scheduled to take part in voting at the Convention.
The party disclosed this in a tweet.
“7,584 delegates decide our NWC today”, the party had tweeted.
How ‘Unity List’ emerged
Governors of the party had been holding a series of meetings to arrive at a consensus arrangement and, as of Friday, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State had hinted at the existence of a ‘Unity List’.
Aside from Buhari, who endorsed Adamu for the chairmanship, some stakeholders were said to have prevailed on a former Senate President, Nnamani, to quietly withdraw from the race for Eneukwu, a former National Vice Chairman, South-East of the party.
Governors and other stakeholders in each of the zones had been mandated by the party to work on a consensus arrangement in their zones.
On his part, the immediate past National Chairman of the CECPC of the party, Buni, recalled that, upon assumption of office, the committee embarked on a genuine and all-inclusive reconciliation process to give everyone a true sense of belonging, confidence, and reassurance in the collective ownership of the party.
“We, first of all, visited some critical stakeholders to engage them in resolving the disputes and other hanging disagreements in the party. While some of these visits were made public, others were done out of the public glare and without media publicity. Similarly, we visited some aggrieved chieftains who sincerely shared their ill feelings with the committee. We spoke to each other frankly, placing party interests above personal interests”, he said.
“I am glad to state with all sense of fulfilment that the membership registration and revalidation exercise, recorded over 41 million members who registered with the details of their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) and passport size photographs.
This unprecedented increase in membership from the previous 11 million registered members to over 41 million registered members, provides the party with an added advantage of winning elections in Nigeria with landslide victories.
“Mr President, distinguished members, ladies and gentlemen, APC under the Caretaker Committee, made history with an unparalleled record of high-powered defections into the party. Three serving governors of Ebonyi State, His Excellency Engr. Dave Umahi, Cross River State, His Excellency Dr Ben Ayade, and Zamfara State, Alhaji Bello Mutawalle, defected along with Millions of their supporters from PDP into the APC.
“I am glad to add that the fortunes of the party were further enriched with the defection of former Speakers of the House of Representatives, former PDP national chairman, member PDP Board of Trustees, several Distinguished Senators and Honourable members of the House of Representatives and state assemblies, and several other heavyweights cutting across all the geo-political zones of the country.
“As we elect the new national officials, l call on every member of the party to please support and cooperate with the leaders from ward to the national levels. We should please bury our differences and collectively work for the interest and success of our party.
This is very necessary for us to approach the 2023 General election with a united front.
We can only achieve much in unity, just like the broom which is our party symbol. Our support to the new leadership would no doubt promote internal democracy and the emergence of popular, credible, and generally acceptable candidates to fly the party’s flag in the 2023 election for the party to succeed”.