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APC governors backtrack, join President against tenure extension

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Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (left); his Ogun counterpart Ibikunle Amosun; President Muhammadu Buhari; Governors, Simon Lanlong (Plateau); Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) at the State House, Abuja …yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA


• I am absolutely satisfied, says Odigie-Oyegun
• NEC takes final decision on Monday
• Ruling party in death throes, pre-election trauma, says PDP

At last, governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have moved against the controversial tenure extension for the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led executive and opted to hold congresses at all levels of government.The development came less than 24 hours after a meeting in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the governors on the matter ended in a deadlock on Tuesday.

The governors, including Abdullaziz Yari (Zamfara), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) addressed State House correspondents yesterday at the end of their meeting held in the office of President Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

They denied any row among them and indicated that the Lalong-led ‎panel to resolve the tenure elongation logjam was set to submit its report later by yesterday.The governors said they would thereafter meet with the Chief Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) to come up with names of members of the convention panel as well as the timetable for election.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who conveyed the governors’ decision, debunked media reports that their meeting on Tuesday ended in a deadlock despite admitting that they had adjourned to carry out more consultations on the contentious matter.

Yari said: “There is no deadlock in our meeting, we have progressed and very soon you will have the names of the convention committee members as well as the timetable.“You know on Tuesday we left you in the dark after the meeting and today we have seen so many captions that there is disagreement between the governors over the issue of party chairman or about the party leadership.

“We had a meeting with Mr. President on Tuesday and we extended the meeting to night and we followed up with the consultations with the president now.“We consulted and all the 24 governors of the APC are on the same page with Mr. President that we are going to respect our party’s constitution, we are going to respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore, we collectively agreed that we will have congresses at all levels; local, state and national.”

The Chairman of the APC Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha, also denied the party was enmeshed in crisis over the elongation of the tenure of Odigie-Oyegun and his executive members.“This morning, we met with Mr. President to fine-tune issues regarding the congress and we have resolved to hold congresses at all levels.“But let me correct one impression, the issue of congress and convention does not mean that the previous people who have served the party have done badly. And it does not mean that they cannot come back or that they cannot re-contest, that is not it.

“We are simply saying that their tenure has ended and those who wish to re-contest can re-contest and can be elected into our party structure. So we are all one as a family and we are set to go for 2019 elections in victory.”

The APC governors had maintained sealed lips after their meeting with President Buhari at the State House. Some were fuming that they were not ready to allow someone hijack the party machinery.Meanwhile, Odigie-Oyegun has expressed satisfaction that the controversy has been resolved. Briefing reporters on the outcome of the closed-door meeting between the governors and members of the NWC, he claimed that the party had become much more united and focused.

He disclosed that the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party would be convened on Monday, next week to consider the recommendation of the Lalong-led technical committee on the controversial tenure elongation.He said the report would be ready between yesterday evening and today.

“Today, the governors and the NWC of the party decided to sit and look at the issues that seemingly divided us. I want to say to you with absolute satisfaction and pride that all the issues you have been commenting about in the last two days have been completely and totally resolved.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the position of the governors should not be misconstrued to be that of the NEC.“It is left for the NEC to decide and if the committee recommends that the position of NEC should be maintained, then there would be no need for an elective convention, and then the president and those who are concerned that the decision we have taken is correct or not will have more confidence in the position of the party.

“But if the committee recommends that congresses should be held, then NEC will consider the report and at the same time decide whether to reverse itself. However, as I speak with you, there is evidence whether the committee will recommend this way or the other way.”In a reaction to the happenings in the ruling party, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the APC was already passing through death throes and pre-election trauma.

“APC leaders are now in a frenzy over the baggage of an extremely unpopular presidential candidate, ahead of the 2019 general election.”In a statement, the PDP said the confusion, backstabbing and vicious scheming in the APC were a tragic testimony of a party that has become politically decapitated by the evident dishonesty, greed, selfishness and lust for power by its incompetent leaders.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in the statement, said it was clear that the APC was an ideologically empty movement and a special purpose vehicle put together by egoistic strange bedfellows just for the purpose of winning political power and not for the good of Nigerians.

“The APC is stewing in its own venomous broth. The nation can now see why, even with a sitting president, the party is still finding it difficult to agree on simple issues, but always attempting to circumvent and violate the laws to push desperate agenda of their selfish leaders.

“We call on Nigerians not to be deceived by the sudden law-abiding stance of the APC, as it is merely cosmetic and meant to cloak their hidden but soon to be manifested plots to manipulate the laws to push a self-succession plan of their incompetent candidate.”


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