APC urges FG to intervene over deteriorating security in Bauchi

By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor

THE stage is set for the National Convention of the world’s fourth largest political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, holding at Eagle Square, Abuja, today.

With 41 million registered members, the APC only trails Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, of India (180 million); Chineese Communist Party, CCP (91.148 million); and Democratic Party of  USA (48.02 million). It has more members than the Republican Party of USA (35.732 million).

Yesterday, the various committees organising the exercise were putting finishing touches to their preparations. Top leaders of the party including President Muhammadu Buhari were holding a series of meetings to ensure that things pan out well for the party tomorrow.

The party has been enmeshed in a series of leadership crises and recent raising fears that it may implode pre or post-national convention.

One of the hard nuts leaders of the party were cracking last night was the emergence of consensus candidates especially for the national chairmanship where seven men are tussling. The seven men cleared for the national chairmanship race are Malam Saliu Mustapha, Senator Sani Musa, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, Senator George Akume, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari and Mohammed Etsu. However, the party has settled for Adamu

The President and some stakeholders were n support of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as consensus candidate. Some of the other candidates and a number of party bigwigs are bitter and crestfallen.

Indeed, expectations were high in June 2020, when Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni assumed the leadership of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, of the party.

Then, the party was practically on the brink of implosion. Following moves and counter-moves to oust then National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, there were many cases in court over the leadership of the party at the National level. With the ouster of Oshiomhole, three men – late Senator Abiola Ajimobi; Hillard Eta; and Victor Giadom laid claim to the national chairmanship of the party.

The infighting prompted the dissolution of the National Working Committee, NWC, and the inauguration of the Buni-led CECPC.

Decrying the state of the party before the CECPC came in, President Buhari said: “There are also other associated disputes as to the legitimacy or otherwise of holders of certain national offices of the party. The party is also contending with judicial claims and counter-claims, orders and counter-orders and indeed, judgments and counter-judgments that are predominantly at cross-purposes.

“Confronted with these issues, it is obvious that the fortunes of the party are currently in jeopardy, administration of our party is becoming impossible and there is consequently an urgent need for intervention to immediately arrest further drifts and internal wrangling which may lead to total disintegration.

“What we see clearly emerging, is that we are beginning to self-destruct. This, my dear party members, is not just regrettable but utterly gut-wrenching.”

Onerous tasks before the CECPC

Thus, the committee was saddled with the responsibility of steering the activities of the party for an initial period of six months and also to prepare and conduct the party’s extraordinary national convention. On December 8, 2020, during a national executive council meeting held at the state house Abuja, the tenure of the CECPC was extended for another six months, which has been further extended to enable it conduct the national convention.

21 months down the line how has the Buni committee performed?

A chieftain of the APC said of the nine major promises Buni made at his inauguration as the chairman of the CECPC, he has fulfilled eight.

“First, he pledged to calm frayed nerves which arose from the perceived combative style of Comrade Adams Oshiomhle. He achieved that through his humble and inclusive engagement with all stakeholders of the party.

‘’Secondly, he pledged to execute the mandate of President Buhari, which was to make the party a mass movement. In pursuit of this, Buni initiated registration of members across the country, which resulted in APC recording 41 million members, making it the largest political party in Africa.

‘’The party under Buni embarked on wooing top political heavyweights across the country. This resulted in the entrance into APC of three serving governors, several former governors, senators and members of the House representatives, in the process swelling the rank of the APC at the top echelon of political engagement.

 “The next was the hugely successful ward congresses across the country in line with President Buhari’s charge to build the country bottom-up. He followed it with LGA congresses and subsequently state congresses across the country.

‘’What is remaining is the national convention and finally Buni’s pledged to ensure President Buhari finishes his tenure strong politically. It is his desire to ensure that President Buhari’s choice of a successor succeeds,’’ the leader said.

Quest for reconciliation

To reconcile aggrieved members of the party across the states, the CECPC on October 12, 2021 raised a National Reconciliation Committee headed by Senator Adamu Abdullahi, a former Nasarawa State governor.

Buni said the “caretaker committee found it expedient to constitute the National Reconciliation Committee to reconcile emerging misunderstandings and differences which might arise from the outcome of the congresses.” Buni urged the Senator Adamu Committee to “conduct appropriate engagement between identified groups in each state where there are disputes with a view to bringing about genuine reconciliation and establishing lasting peace and unity in the party; consult with party Leaders and concerned members as the committee deems necessary with a view to achieving peace therein.”

The committee, Buni said, is to “critically examine areas of conflict on the just concluded Ward and Local Government Congress and advance solutions in the circumstance.”

Recently, the committee turned in its report to the CECPC with Buni saying that the findings of the committee would contribute in no small measure to a successful convention and the general election.

“| wish to assure you that the Caretaker Committee will carefully study the report and implement the same to improve the unity and strength of the party.

“As you are aware, the party conducted a successful membership registration and revalidation exercise and now proudly has over 41 million members making APC Africa’s largest political party and Nigeria’s leading party.

“With this numerical strength, APC remains the party that can confidently win elections with landslide victory in all the national elections.

“However, in spite of all the achievements recorded by the party under my stewardship, and the high profile defections into the party, it is very pertinent for the party to promote the philosophy of unity of purpose, to pursue national interests against personal interests and a functional system of internal democracy to have a United, stable and prosperous political party.

“Let me once again solicit for your collective support to the caretaker committee for the party to organize a very successful National Convention that will be a stepping stone to the party’s success in the 2023 general election.”

Scaling last hurdle

In spite of the work of the committee, a host of aggrieved members, who lost out in the congresses, abound in the states. The committee has also come under attacks for allegedly being sit-tight and unwilling to conduct the National Convention, which led to the penultimate week’s plot to oust Buni as CECPC chairman until President Buhari intervened.

Now, the CECPC is on the verge of conducting the convention and fulfilling its major mandate. Will the CECPC succeed 21 months after coming on board?

Speaking on the issue, Buni assured that the party would not be distracted by agents of destabilisation using the media to cause a crisis in the party.

In a statement by his Director-General, Press and Media Affairs, Alhaji Mamman Mohammed in Damaturu, the CECPC chairman said: “We remain a united family, with much respect to our President and to one another and loyal to our party. We are collectively committed to the success of the forthcoming National Convention and we will not be diverted from this noble cause of moving the APC forward.”

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