APC and quest to rid state chapters of crises ahead national convention
The Governor Mai Mala Buni led caretaker and extra ordinary convention planning committee (CECPC) can now heave a sigh of relief following the decision to convene the national convention of up the party in February next year.
The decision, which is at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari in conjunction with the Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu-led Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) doused the apprehension among some party faithful that the Buni-led committee was keen on serving out the four-year tenure of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole exco, which would have expired in June next year.
Up until the decision, stakeholders of the party under the aegis of the APC Rebirth group kept calling for the sack of the Buni-led caretaker committee on the basis that the party is worse off than it was when Oshiomhole was at the helm.
The call was reinforced by the Progressive Youth Movement, led by a former governorship aspirant in Kogi State, Mustapha Audu, which had at the end of its Northwest town hall meeting in Kaduna announced the dissolution of the Buni-led CECPC.
Senator Kabiru Marafa, who is the most strident of the critics particularly threatened to nullify the entire activities of the Buni-led caretaker committee over his eligibility, having been combining the role of being Yobe state governor and chair of the APC CECPC in breach of Article 17(4) of the APC 2014 Constitution (as amended) and Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution.
The APC Rebirth Group, led by Mr Aliyu Audu expressed the hope that the Buni-led Committee will not employ any delay tactics that will result in further postponement of the national convention from the February 2022 date as it had done in the past when its six months mandate got extended to almost one and half year.
The group contended that it has become obvious to all discerning party men and women that the CECPC cannot fix the problems it met on ground adding if anything, the caretaker committee has created more problems for the party than it was meant to resolve.
The group which enjoys the backing of high heeled stalwarts of the party reiterated its earlier position that the upcoming national convention must not only be free, fair and transparent but must be seen to be so by all party men and women
Calling for the immediate release of the full timetable for the national convention, the group maintained that the convention must be open, credible and devoid of any form of imposition in whatever guise.
The group argued that the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to grant approval for the conduct of the national convention of the party was in tandem with their demand for the much needed rebirth of the party in line with its founding principles and ideology.
Insisting that it was time the APC subject the emergence of its leadership to the will and consent of the majority of party members rather than the backdoor consensus arrangements of any bloc or group, they assured that they will continue to watch the processes leading to the convention closely and ensure that only individuals with requisite pedigree emerged as new leaders of the APC.
The Buni-led caretaker committee came under scrutiny of concerned members of the party due to the crises rocking no fewer than twelve states chapters of the party in the aftermath of the conduct of the state congresses.
Aggrieved chieftains of the party from Bauchi and Oyo states stormed the party national secretariat with a call for the cancellation of the outcome of the recently held state congresses.
The Bauchi protesters led by Malam Maigari Ishaku accused Minister of education, Adamu Adamu of imposing Malam Babayo Aliyu as chairman of the state chapter in defiance of laid down rules of the party.
The protesters who brandished several placards called on all the APC stakeholders in the mould of the former Governor and speaker of the House of Representatives, Messrs Muhammed Abubakar and Yakubu Dogara in Bauchi to speak up against the alleged injustice and ensure the declaration of Mr Sanusi Kunde as the duly elected chairman of the party.
“Time has come for nobody to sit on the fence, there is no more sitting on the fence, you are either here or there, you have to declare your intention and you have to declare your mind, you have to declare your support. What we want the Caretaker committee to do is to help us and install the elected person, the person that won the election, in person of Alhaji Sanusaeqi Aliyu Kunde.”
The former minister of Communication, Mr Adebayo Shittu alongside chieftains of the party from Oyo state comprising several national assembly members also canvassed the nullification of the October 30 state congress of the party in the state.
Shittu who spoke on behalf of the group said to be sympathetic to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu cause argued that the congress which enjoys the full backing of Senator Teslim Folarin ought to have been invalidated by the national secretaryat of the party.House of Representatives member, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Shadipe also spoke in the same vein saying: “The Congress of the 30th of October is non-existent, it never happened. Going forward, we are going back home with the list that has been agreed here today to our zonal leaders and our elders to look at it, sign up, verify, make changes where necessary and it will be returned to the party at national by our Baba Akin Oke, the current chairman and leader of APC, Oyo State.
“Again, we implore all our members if APC, Oyo, please continue to stay calm, truth and justice will prevail and we will stay together as one party and 2023 shall be a success to revive Oyo state and take our state Back to the place of pride it belongs. Who are the people that are not here, working against the interest of the other gladiators?
For Hon Abass Alesinloye, “Let me first and foremost tell you that we have about 12 gladiators in Oyo State, talk of gubernatorial aspirant, leaders, senator Adeaseun, Senator Olanlehin, Barrister Shitu, Oloye Fijabiyi, Sundays Dare, we have Soji Akanbi, our candidate at the last election, Chief Bayo Adelabu, Joseph Tegbe, Barrister Niyi Akintola SAN, Professors Deolu Akande, former immediate speaker Gunju Ojo and we have senator Buhari also with us here in addition to all those honourable members. And also one of the gladiators is Honourable Teslim Fokarin.
“Out of all the gladiators, it’s only honourable Teslim Folarin that came with that list that we had last week. He’s the only one that is not with this arrangement. So all the consensus list we have been talking about through the party chairman who also doubles as the leader of the party in Oyo State is done by all these people except senator Teslim Folarin that did another list and that is why we are here in Abuja today.
“But we thank God, and of course, we would have asked the authority at the party Secretariat here to prosecute those who falsified the list but of course, what do you want to say again when the man who started the meeting with apology to all the Oyo State APC that they did not send them that message.”
Senator Ayo Adeseun added: “It’s cancelled already but let me also say this, if we tell you that all of these gladiators and juggernaut in politics from the same State, Oyo is saying one thing, no party dares say they want to go ahead. Of course they won’t, unless they are prepared to just throw away Oyo like we did in 2019. That can not happen and we are confident with what we saw today and with our meeting with the chairman, Buni couple of weeks ago, we are very confident the party will do the right thing and that’s what we stand on.
The uproar elicited the intervention of Buni who directed the Oyo State APC stakeholders to go back and collectively agree on modalities for the State Congress and report back to the CECPC for consideration.
Accusing fingers were also pointed at the Buni led caretaker committee for instigating the crisis in the Kano chapter where the party is factionalized along the lines of Ahmadu Haruna Danzago and Abdullahi Abbas.
Aggreved Kano chieftains led by Senator Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano Central), Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano North) in a petition alleged that the ward and local government congresses conducted in the state were held in flagrant violation of all known civilised norms, rules and party regulations.
Marafa who is working in cahoots with the former governor of Zamfara state Abdulaziz Yari parted ways with the Buni led committee after they handed over the party structure to Governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle who recently defected to the party.
A top source in the party who spoke on condition of anonymity wondered why the caretaker committee chose to offend the Yari -Marafa group who boast 80 percent of the party support base without brokering a deal on a sharing formula with the Matawalle group.
The situation is not different in Akwa Ibom where three parallel congresses produced three chairmen for the state chapter of the party. The party is split along the lines of group led by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, those of the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang and those of the caretaker Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe. Mr Steve Ntukekpo emerged as chairman from Senator Godswill Akpabio’s group, Mr. Austin Ekanem emerged as chairman from Senator John Akpanudoedehe’s faction, while Mr. Douglass Pepple was elected for Senator Ita Enang’s group.
It’s unlikely that the Senator Abdullahi Adamu led reconciliation team would make any headway in dissuading some of the aggrieved party chieftains from dumping the party ahead of the February date fixed for the national convention of the party.
The fears being nursed by Buni’s critics may have been due to the delay by the Dr Tahir Mamman led committee mandated to amend the party constitution. The committee, which embarked on a nationwide tour, is yet to turn in its report.
There are also pending issues with the APC membership registeration and revalidation exercise, which led to a boost in the membership strength of the party to over 40 million.
It was learnt that there is yet to be an authentic computerised register of members due to the non-payment of personnel deployed to conduct the exercise across the country.