APC convention not certain as Buni-led interim committee shows signs of staying put
APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign (APCLAC), led by Mr. Ismail Ahmed, recently declared that no politician would be allowed to take undue advantage of the legitimate aspirations of members for a responsive and representative government.
APCLAC, while reiterating the commitment of the CECPC to address challenges bedevilling the party before the 2023 poll, assured: “Our leaders are not in denial and are responding to the challenges. Our party, APC, is the only party in the country, which leadership has acknowledged its internal problems and has initiated processes of resolving them.
“Thanks to the leadership of President Buhari, APC has been undergoing a deep-rooted rebuilding and repositioning process. A new leadership will emerge at the end of this process.”
Tenure extension, Defectors’ game
SOURCES within APC disclosed that Buni’s CECPC came under pressure to extend its tenure after Governor Ben Ayade joined the party, particularly given that the committee’s tenure is billed to expire by the end of this month.
The Guardian gathered that some APC stakeholders from across the country are already working underground to prevail on both APC governors and President Buhari to endorse a fresh six months tenure extension for the Buni-led caretaker committee.
The body language of the interim committee shows it is favourably disposed to the tenure elongation clamour, as it is still keeping to its chest the plans and timetable for the conduct of its congresses and the national convention.
However, CECPC Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, penultimate week described those peddling such speculation as political jobbers bent on undermining the party, even as he promised to communicate outcomes of their activities through official channels when available.
He noted: “We have never lied on our party activities and we simply have no reason to. The consultative party leadership style instituted by Governor Mai Mala Buni as Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) has institutionalised the APC as a party of processes and internal democracy.
“The CECPC is focused and is delivering its mandate to recover, rebuild and reposition the APC as well as achieve peace-building, true reconciliation and to give a sense of belonging to every member of the Party.”
Yet, those pushing for tenure extension insist that there are still unfinished businesses despite inroads recorded in wooing top-notch politicians in Southeast and South/South geopolitical zones, including Governors Ayade and Dave Umahi of Cross River and Ebonyi states.
The Buni-led committee is already persuading Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State to dump PDP and join APC ahead of the 2023 poll.
Buni, alongside the chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State met with Matawalle last month in Gusau on the eve of the market fire incidence in a bid to actualise the objective.
The move is coming against the backdrop of the defection of former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore and former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD), the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, the Senator representing Adamawa North senatorial district, Elisha Abbo, member of the House of Representatives, Datti Yako, from Kano, Senator Isa Hamman Misau, the former Deputy Governor and one-time Governor of Adamawa State, James Bala Ngilari.
The Prof. Mammam Tahir-led APC Constitution Review Committee, which is yet to turn in its report is being cited as another plausible reason why the Buni led committee deserve an extension in the office.
The committee, which had toured the country’s six geopolitical zones and held meetings with party stakeholders, is billed to hold a retreat, where submissions from across the country will be reviewed and endorsed.
Mamman explained that the constitution review exercise was aimed at strengthening the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, who applauded the initiative, expressed optimism that challenges affecting the party would surely be addressed at the end of the exercise.
He said: “APC is a mixture of political parties that have merged to form the ruling party, but this lack of strong cohesion still affects it. There is no better time to revise the constitution than now because it is time to look back and face the challenges of the party.
“APC as a political party has won many states of the federation since its inception. It has controlled the federal government for four years. Now, in the second term, we lost some states in the last election, we won some too. Revising the party’s constitution is the way to correct the mistakes of the past.
“I believe that in the end, we will come up with a document that will govern the conduct of party members and even the conduct of party leaders. So we believe this constitutional review will address all challenges. This will remove all those appendages from the meeting to form the party.”
Ongoing efforts to tidy up the party’s membership registration and revalidation exercise have been regarded as a step towards giving a sense of belonging to every member of the party.
The Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubabkar, chairs the 61- member Strategy and Contact Committee. He disclosed that no fewer than 36 million supporters of the party have so far been registered in the nationwide exercise.
An APC chieftain stressed the need to ensure that details in the party’s membership register are correct and genuine before the national convention holds. He added: “This committee wants everybody to see, even the doubting Thomases, the most extreme critics will see that what we are doing is real. Talking about thirty-something million people and you have to verify whether it is real.
“You have to check the NIN number, you have to check the fingerprints, you have to check if the INEC card they have given is real; that is what we are talking about here. Never in the history of this party will you be sure that these are your members.
“You don’t expect us to come and lie; if we have to need to extend, we will go to the public and give them the reason to do that. The exercise has been extended. It is still a continuous exercise.”
WITHIN the one year of its existence, the Buni committee deployed a combination of reconciliation, consultation and inclusiveness in achieving unity and cohesion in the party. The committee also ensured the inauguration of the tripartite Executive/Legislative/APC Consultative Committee to ensure synergy, good governance and accelerated implementation of the Next Level agenda of the Buhari administration.
Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) and APC chieftain, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Buni committee. He said: “On the assessment of His Excellency M.M.Buni’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC); it is like assessing a rehabilitation team after a major inferno in a market.
“Accordingly, one can rate their rehabilitation performance on the scale of excellence. For example, if the thorny issue of Zamfara and other flashpoints could be reconciled, it means that our political machine is ready for the electoral battles ahead.
“CECPC’s reconciliation exercise is worthy of note and it took them months to crisscross the length and breadth of our dear country, following the devastation and dislocation of extant party structures by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s regime.
“We must thank them for the enormous reconciliation exercise and encourage them to do more before they exit. Secondly, is the establishment of the National Data Registration Bank? Today, the CECPC has established a data bank, though not biometric, but a reliable instrument for party management.
“This is what our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu intended to bequeath us in 2013 at our inception. This was truncated by our sister political party, the PDP, out of phobia.
“Thirdly, the amendment of APC Constitution. Amendment of our constitution is one of the major achievements of M.M.Buni and Co; for there are certain sections, which changes is imperative, as result of practice. At the end of the day, the CECPC has performed and this will be better rated when a new Executive takes off.”
Strong indication emerged that APC would not conduct its national convention next month when the tenure of the caretaker committee is billed to expire.
CECPC Secretary, Dr. James Akpanudoedehe, who fielded questions from reporters at the APC national secretariat in Abuja explained that the convention may not hold due to the appalling security situation in the country.
He said: “We have a lot of problems in Nigeria, not only the congresses that are the problem of Nigeria. Now we have serious security challenges, we have agitation in the Southwest, South East and all that.
“We are very conscious of Nigeria as a country not only the Congresses, the information at our disposal you might not have. We are in a position to know what you don’t know. We are in a position as leaders to direct to help this country to grow.
“We are mindful that our party must be strong, we just welcome the governor of Cross-River state, assuming there were congresses, how will you accommodate him. We are also doing a lot of things you might not be aware of, but be rest assured that the overall interest of this party is paramount.”
Ruling out the possibility of an outbreak of crisis to protest further delay in conducting the national convention, the party scribe stated: “There are no crises in our party. Convention can be done in June, Congresses can start in June and end in June, it depends on what leaders of this party agree upon. Do not bring speculations.
“This committee is honest, we have never lied to members, for instance, now like we are coming to brief you. If you have a problem in your family and you are trying to solve it, will you come and tell them public that you are fighting with your mother or father or you are doing this or that. Family issue is a family issue.”
He disclosed that the membership registration and revalidation exercise had been concluded, adding that the committee saddled with the conduct of the exercise had turned in collated results from 21 states of the federation.
The CECPC’s position implies that President Buhari, in conjunction with key stakeholders of the party would be prevailed upon to grant another six months extension for the Buni led-committee.
Conversely, a group of concerned APC faithful led by Abdullahi Dauda had in December last year faulted the continued extension of CECPC tenure, arguing that it was in breach of the party constitution.
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