APC Convention: Buhari adopts regional stakeholders’ microzoning
• Unity list would be ready By Saturday – Lawan
• Fayemi rejects consensus arrangement, says Buhari’s candidates will slug it out at Convention
As the much-anticipated convention of the ruling, All Progressives Congress (APC) holds on Saturday at Eagle’s Square, Abuja, a presidency source last night confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to the micro zoning of offices at the regional level as put forward by leaders of the party to achieve a common consensus not only for the position of the national chairman but also other offices.
Confirming the President’s adoption of the regional stakeholders’ micro-zoning, the source stated: “The issue of Mr President trying to impose persons against the wish of party leaders, especially governors, does not arise. It is pure blackmail by those who have lost out.
“The man has been transparent enough to tell stakeholders his desire for the party to have its chairman and the governors themselves wanted to know if he had a preferred choice which he told them at the meeting on Wednesday.
“It is true that he had agreed to a Unity List having taken into consideration the fact that the slots had been bundled into the geo-political zones. It was on the basis of that he initially signed one-off.
“But it became obvious that even though slots had been bundled into geopolitical zones, there are states in those zones. So, after careful consideration of the reports from those zones, the president had no choice but to respect the views and opinions of the regional stakeholders.
“In essence, even where he preferred certain persons, he could force them on the people if the positions they are seeking are not zoned to their states.
“For instance, he wanted his longtime ally and friend, Farouk as deputy national chairman (North). But Farouk could not make it because he is from North West while the position was zoned to Northeast. That is why you can see Muhammed Kyari as the new person.
“In the same vein, he would have loved Ife Oyedele as secretary but the slot does not belong to Ondo, it goes to the Oyo/Osun axis, according to the briefing he got from the governors. So, do you now expect the President to is not and force persons on the people? It is not possible”.
This is coming as Senate President Ahmed Lawan yesterday said APC would produce a ‘unity list’ as a product of consensus ahead of Saturday’s convention. He said this on Thursday while fielding questions from State House reporters after President Muhammadu Buhari held a meeting with the National Assembly APC Caucus at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Lawan said the North East had already reached a consensus and agreed on positions zoned to various states in the region.
Asked whether the party had arrived at consensus across the board since the president, the governors and the National Assembly were talking about the matter and what would happen to those that had purchased the forms, he said: “I think that question should not be put to us because we’re not the party. But because we are asked and we are in your territory we’ll make some effort to say something to it. The essence of this engagement is for the party to achieve consensus, and the consensus is a process. It doesn’t just happen like that.”
However, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has said he is not aware that President Buhari endorsed some candidates for the APC convention.
There has been a crisis in the ruling party over the endorsement of some persons for National Working Committee (NWC) positions of the APC, especially President Buhari’s choice of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as National Chairman, which is creating a rift in the party.
But as part of the move to settle this, Buhari met with governors at Aso Rock on Wednesday after which a final agreement was reportedly reached on consensus.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said a truce has been reached to fill the NWC positions through consensus. He said the PGF was in support of the chairmanship candidate being backed by President Buhari although he refused to name the candidate.
But speaking at a high-level policy dialogue organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), on Thursday, Fayemi said he was not aware of any agreement on consensus.
He said while it is within the rights of Buhari to have preferred candidates, he was not aware of that.
Fayemi said this while responding to one of the questions asked during the interactive session.
“As for your question on whether the President (Muhammadu Buhari) has anointed anyone, I have no knowledge of that.
But the President is well within his rights to have a preferred candidate… if his candidate wins, fine; if his candidate loses, fine,” Fayemi said.
Asked to clarify his thoughts on the convention during a brief chat with journalists after the programme, Fayemi simply said, “You heard what I said.”