Buhari’s man, Adamu is APC chairman
• President Harps On Party Unity
• Warns Against Imposition Of Candidates, Money Politics
• Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Taraba Delegates Barred From Exercise
• Presidential Aspirants’ Supporters Turn Convention To Campaign Rally
• Police Teargas Crowd As Thugs Attempt To Overwhelm Security Operatives
After months of intense politicking and brick-batting among the party faithful, and uncertainties surrounding its national convention, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, at the Eagle Square in Abuja, elected new party officials that would pilot the affairs of the party till 2026, with Senator Abdullahi Adamu emerging as the new National Chairman.
Amidst funfair, thousands of party stalwarts from across the country, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, members of the Governor Atiku Bagudu-led Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), and the leadership of the National Assembly, gathered for the much-anticipated convention.
In his address, President Muhammadu Buhari warned the new leadership of the party to guide against the imposition of candidates ahead of the 2023 polls. He also frowned at the menace of money politics, stressing the need for the entrenchment of internal democracy in the party.
Buhari tasked the Adamu-led NWC to ensure that popular candidates are given the opportunity to fly the party flag in the polls while expressing optimism that the newly signed Electoral Act would enhance the electioneering process in the country.
The President further charged party leaders not to indulge in backstabbing one another just as he thanked the Governor Abubakar Bagudu-led Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) for heeding his advice in resolving the leadership dispute that engulfed the party recently.
President Buhari expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Governor Buni-led caretaker committee, which has piloted the party for 18 months and for how the party membership has grown from 11 million to its current number of over 41. 5 million. He noted that the progress made so far confirmed that APC is the true Nigerian leading political party.
He enjoined the party faithful to take advantage of their numerical strength by participating in the ongoing voters’ registration exercise ahead of the 2023 polls.
The outgone caretaker chairman of the party, Governor Mai Mala Buni, in a welcome address, applauded President Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, governors of the party and other leaders for their support to his committee in rescuing the party from destruction through several reconciliatory initiatives.
Buni cited the membership registration and revalidation exercise, which swelled the party membership to 41million as against 11million membership strength before now, as some of the achievements recorded while he held sway.
He assured those who defected from the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC including Governors Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Matawalle Bello of Zamfara State and Ben Ayade of Cross River State not to nurse any fear as they would triumph at the appellate court.
He called on aggrieved party stalwarts to bury their hatchets and work in concert towards ensuring the victory of the party in the oncoming general elections.
On his part, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said adversaries of the APC who do not wish the party well could now bury their heads in shame with the successful conduct of the national convention.
Besides Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who was unanimously endorsed via voice votes as party chairman, others that emerged via consensus arrangement include National Vice Chairman, North West, Salihu Lukman; National Vice Chairman, South East, Ijeoma Arodiogbu; National Vice Chairman, South-South, Victor Giadom; National Vice Chairman, South West, D. I Kekemeke; and National Legal Adviser, Ahmed El-Marzuk.
Others are Uguru Matthew Fore (National Treasurer); Bashir Usman Gumeel (National Financial Secretary); Suleiman Argungu (National Organising Secretary); Betta Edu (National Woman Leader); Abdullahi Dayo Isreal (National Youth Leader); Tolu Bankole (Special Person With Disability Leader); Ibrahim Salawu (Deputy National Leader); and Omoriege Osifo (Deputy National Treasurer).
Mr Emmanuel Eneukwu emerged as Deputy National Chairman, South; Abubakar Kyari holds the Deputy National Chairmanship North; while Senator Iyiola Omisore is National Secretary of the party and Nze Chidi Duru is Deputy National Organising Secretary.
Earlier, the National Convention 2022 Endorsement List emerged comprising a total of 78 names holding various posts at national and zonal levels.
President Buhari arrived at the venue at about 8.30 pm to oversee proceedings witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), diaspora APC supporters and international observers.
No fewer than 12,000 delegates affirmed the choice of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the fourth chairman of the APC just as they unanimously adopted the recently amended constitution of the party via voice votes.
The event with heavy security presence was carnival-like as praise singers in various attires swarmed public office holders and aspirants angling for various elective positions ahead of the 2023 polls.
Ace musician, Shina Peters and several other artistes were on hand to entertain the mammoth crowd at the venue of the convention.
Earlier in the day, other aspirants contesting the chairmanship position had stepped down from the race, paving the way for Adamu who had been endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari after a series of meetings with state governors in the lead up to the convention.
In a letter to the Chairman, APC Election Sub-Committee, signed by one of the aspirants, Senator George Akume, they said their decision was informed by the “appeal by Mr. President for the Chairmanship aspirants 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.”
The event was not devoid of controversies as delegates from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Taraba states were said to be barred from partaking in the exercise due to subsisting litigations arising from the recently held congresses of the party.
Nevertheless, statutory delegates from the affected states were allowed to partake in the exercise.
There was also drama as the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire got more than he bargained for as he had to move to the VIP pavilion after delegates from Edo State sent him packing from the stand designated for the state.
Not long after, Senator Domingo Odende also got a raw deal from his state delegates who booed him on arrival at the Edo State designated stand. Edo State APC chapter chairman, Col. David Imuse later came to the rescue of Odende who was accused of anti-party activities.
Delegates were billed to cast ballots into several boxes with cubicles strategically placed at the venue for another national working committee (NWC) and zonal office holders of the party.
In another development, Police operatives rained teargas canisters at the crowd, including accredited delegates and newsmen at the convention.
This occurred when political thugs loyal to some politicians arrived at the venue and attempted to force their way inside the convention ground.
The situation triggered a near-anarchy, forcing security operatives attached to FCT police command to release teargas at the crowd with delegates and newsmen worst hit.
According to one of the journalists who was brutalised by the police, “Police did great, but the overzealousness of some of the officers is condemnable. It is wrong to treat innocent people with appropriate media pass like criminals. One officer hit me with his armoured cable for no reason. It took the intervention of a DSS officer to stop him from inflicting further injury on me. It was very disgusting.”
FCT Police spokesperson, Josephine Adeh, noted that the actions of the hoodlums led to the release of teargas.
“In such an occasion, a certain considerable level of crowd dispersal moves is necessary, otherwise, even the delegates won’t have a way and a place to play delegatory roles.”
IN an interesting development earlier yesterday, as delegates trooped into the Eagle Square for the convention, supporters of major presidential aspirants turned the convention into a campaign rally, chanting slogans in favour of their favourite aspirants.
Supporters of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and those of the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele dominated the arena as early as 9a.m and sustained the political drama for hours.
Other Presidential aspirants whose supporters also thronged the convention venue included Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi.
Aspirants for other positions like National Assembly and governorship equally had their supporters dancing and chanting songs and displaying placards around the Eagle Square.
Some Newly Elected NWC Members
1. Nat. Chairman – Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa)
2. Deputy Nat. Chairman (North)- Sen. Abubakar Kyari (Borno)
3. Deputy Nat. Chairman (South)- Chief Emma Eneukwu (Enugu)
4. National Secretary – Otunba Iyiola Omisore (Osun)
5. Deputy Nat. Secretary – Barr. Festus Fuantaer (Plateau )
6. Nat. Vice Chairman (N’Central)- Muhazu Bawa Rijau (Niger )
7. Nat. Vice Chairman (N’East)-Mustapha Salihu (Adamawa )
8. Nat. Vice Chairman(N’West)–Salihu Lukman (Kaduna)
9. Nat. Vice Chairman (S’East)- Dr. Ijeomah Arodiogbu (Imo)
10. Nat. Vice Chairman (S’South)- Chief Victor Giadom (Rivers )
11. Nat. Vice Chairman(South West)- D.I. Kekemeke (Ondo )
12. Nat. Legal Adviser – Barr. Ahmed El-Marzuk (Katsina )
13. Nat. Treasurer – Uguru Mathew Ofoke (Ebonyi )
14. Nat. Financial Secretary – Bashir Usman Guel (Jigawa )
15. Nat. Organising Secretary – Suleiman M. Argungun (Kebbi )
16. Nat. Welfare Secretary – Barr. (Sir) F.N. Nwosu (Abia )
17. Nat. Publicity Secretary – Barr. Felix Morka (Delta )
18. Nat. Auditor – Sen. Abubakar Maikafi (Bauchi)
19. Nat. Women Leader -Dr. Betta Edu (Cross River)
20. Nat. Youth Leader – Abdulahi Dayo Israel (Lagos)
21. Special (Persons with Disability) Leader – Tolu Bankole (Ogun )
22. Deputy Nat. Legal Adviser -Barr. Ibrahim Salawu (Kwara)
23. Deputy Nat. Treasurer Hon. Omorede Osifo (Edo)
24. Deputy Nat. Fin. Secretary – Hon. Hamma-Adama Ali Kumo(Gombe)
25. Deputy Nat. Organising Secretary -Nze Chidi Duru (Anambra)
26. Deputy Nat. Publicity Secretary – Yakubu Murtala Ajaka (Kogi)
27. Deputy Nat. Welfare Secretary- Dr. Christopher Akpan (Akwa Ibom)
28. Deputy Nat. Auditor- Olufemi Egbedeyi (Oyo)
29. Deputy Nat. Woman Leader – Zainnab Abubakar Ibrahim (Taraba )
30. Deputy Nat. Youth Leader – Jamaluddeen Kabir (Zamfara)
31. Nat. Ex-Officio (North Central)- Oluwatoyin Opawuye (Kwara )
32. Nat. Ex-Officio (North East)- Sirajo Dahuwa (Bauchi )
33. Nat. Ex-Officio (North West)- Aliyu Ahmed Yako (Kano)
34. Nat. Ex-Officio (South East)- Rt. Hon. Agunwa Anekwe (Anambra)
35. Nat. Ex-Officio (South South)- Hon. Diriwari Akedewei (Bayelsa)
36. Nat. Ex-Officio (South West)- Mrs. Bunmi Oriniowo (Ekiti )