The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has announced March 26 as the new date for conduct of its national convention.
National secretary of the APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe disclosed this on Monday.
The convention date earlier fixed for February 26, 2022, is in conflict with the date given to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the Governor Buni Caretaker team for the conduct of zonal congresses.
Senator Akpanudoedehe however disclosed that the zonal congresses would hold in between the national convention.
In the letter dated February 21 signed by Governor Mai Mala Buni and Senator Akpanudoedehe and addressed to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the electoral body was notified that APC zonal congresses would be conducted on March 26. Senator Akpanudoedehe however told newsmen that the zonal congresses would now hold in between the national convention.
He said: ”After deliberation and agreement with the CECPC, we have agreed and approved that the activities of the national convention commence from the 24th of March and terminates on the 26th of March.
“The convention activities commence on the 24th of February and it will terminate at the Eagles Square on the 26th of March. “In-between the convention, we have agreed to have zonal congresses.”
A time-table for the convention sighted by the Nigerian Tribune revealed that the list of national onvention sub-committees would be released on Monday 28th February while sale of forms has been scheduled between Wednesday, 9th and Friday 11th March.
Screening of aspirants and screening appeal are to hold from Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th March and Saturday 19th March respectively.
Adoption of appeal report and Accreditation of delegates will hold on Monday 21st March, 2022 and from Thursday 24th – Friday 25th March respectively.
The Convention is expected to hold at Eagles Square on Saturday 26th March while the new set of substantive national officers would be inaugurated on Thursday 31st March, after Convention Appeal fixed for Tuesday 29th March, 2022.
The postponement of the convention came in the midst of confusion over the preparation of the APC leadership for the exercise earlier scheduled for February 26. The distrust among the leaders was compounded, following the failure of the APC to begin the sale of nomination forms to aspirants for various offices in the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling party.
The attendant intrigues created tension among some key stakeholders in the party, especially aspirants due to speculations that some power blocs, including that of governors who were split on the plan to go ahead with the convention.
A number of the governors were said to favour postponement of the convention with a few other party buffs and groups within the party lending their office to the call for a shift in the date for the exercise. One of such groups was the Forum of aspirants, which, in an open letter to the Buni committee, said the convention should be postponed in the interest of peace, stability and success of the APC. It said the postponement would give the party the opportunity to resolve all disputes in many state chapters and calm frail nerves across the board.
However, on Monday, signs of subdued anger and frustrations were evident among key actors in the APC following the postponement of its convention.
It was the fourth time the ruling party would be shifting the convention since the extraordinary committee was set up with Buni as chairman. While stakeholders maintained subdued silence for the postponement, a few others kept a wait-and-see attitude. The postponement of the convention came on the heels of an initial speculation last weekend that the exercise could be shifted due to the inability of the leaders to reach a compromise on the way forward. Most of those whose camps were devastated by the postponement included aspirants for the post of chairman, because of what they perceived as the overbearing influence of governors elected on the platform of the APC.
One of the aspirants, who craved not to be mentioned, expressed utter disgust over the postponement. He said he would speak at the right time because the current situation is fluid and circumspect. Another camp of a chairmanship contestant accused some power brokers in the APC of a plot by a cabal comprising mostly pro-establishment individuals in concert with top officials holding elective and appointive offices to consolidate its grip on the party.
According to a source, “The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) was not consulted before this move was made. Neither was President Muhammadu Buhari. It is just between three governors.”
Stakeholders’ Forum backs postponement The concerned APC Stakeholders’ Forum (CASF) showered encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari and the party’s leadership over the postponement of the convention. The CASF Executive Secretary, Dr Abdulkadir Suleiman, in a statement, obtained by the Nigerian Tribune, hailed the decision of the CECPC, describing it as a “right direction” for the party.
“The Buni-led committee should be commended for its courage to postpone the exercise in line with the wishes of the majority of party men and women. This courageous decision alone, will go a long way to position our party on the pedestrian of victory, unity and peace,” Dr Suleiman said.
He also stressed the need to use the period to bring everyone on same page, saying, the party would come to the national convention as one big and united family. Don’t stampede Buni, Nabena warns Deputy national publicity Secretary of the APC, Honourable Yekini Nabena, declared that the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee should not be stampeded to conduct election of national officers.
Nabena made the declaration in a statement he issued in Abuja on Monday. His caution was on the heels of allegation by certain chieftains of the party that the APC CECPC was not ready to conduct the national convention and plotting to extend its tenure.
Nabena further warned that casting aspersions on the leadership of the party, noting that such could undermine the chances of the ruling party in the forthcoming general election.