Convention: APC faces fresh crisis on zoning of key positions

Posted by News Express | 30 January 2022 | 777 times

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•President Muhammadu Buhari and Mai Bala Buni


AHEAD of its February 26, 2022, National Convention, the All Progressives Congress (APC), may face another fresh crisis on the zoning of its key positions.

Multiple sources within the party disclosed that barring any last-minute change, a northerner will emerge as the national chairman as no southerner has indicated an interest in the position.

The issue of zoning of key positions in the incoming National Working Committee (NWC), especially that of the national chairman and secretary may lead to another round of crisis Vanguard was reliably informed.

It was reported that just like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it had concluded plans to zone the national chairmanship position to the North-Central and the secretary to the South-East.

However, the party leadership through the National Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator James Akpanudoedehe denied the reports, saying that the party was yet to take a position on zoning.

Akpanudoedehe said: “We want to rebuff the fake news going around the social media that we have zoned party offices; we are yet to meet on the issue of zoning.”

Despite the party’s denial, one of the chairmanship aspirants from the North Central zone and the Minister of Special Duties, George Akume insisted that the party had zoned the chairmanship to North-Central and commended the party’s leadership for doing so.

Akume, who spoke in Abuja through Simone Shango, the Chairman, Contact Committee of his Campaign Organisation, said it was normal for the party to “deny the zoning arrangement at this point, but a formal announcement would be made soon.”

Credible sources in the party also said that just like the PDP, the APC leadership was planning to swap positions whereby positions held by the southerners in past executive led by Adams Oshiomhole will go to the north while those that were occupied by northerners will come down to the south.

It’s a plot to destroy APC— Sambo

Reacting to the controversy on the alleged zoning of the APC chairmanship to the North Central, a member of the party from Bayelsa State, Ambrosini Sambo described it as a plot to destroy the party. He said there were plans to impose a chairman on the party through the rumoured zoning to the North-Central.

Sambo said: “This will spell doom for the party. The decision to impose this candidate from the North-Central on the party as the chairman will destabilise the party. Every well-meaning party member should not support this. This is the plan of the enemies of APC to destroy the party which we fought so hard to build, we will resist this move. The party chairman is open to other zones to contest.”

Another chairmanship aspirant, Mallam Saliu Mustapha said while it remained a rumour that the APC chairmanship had been zoned to North-Central, it was still in line with his expectation.

Mustapha, who spoke through his media aide, Dapo Okunbanjo said he remained the frontrunner for the number one party position.

“As for this zoning, we’ve heard it but we still consider it a rumour just like what the CECPC said. And if indeed it’s zoned officially to North-Central, it will be in line with our expectations. We still see ourselves as front-runners in the race whether it’s zoned or not, but what we are doing is to take things one step at a time,” he said.

On his part, a legal practitioner, Imoni George said if the party eventually zoned the chairmanship ticket to the North-Central despite its denial, it will further deepen its woes as other aspirants and their supporters will feel shortchanged, adding that  “The other aspirants are of the views that if indeed the chairmanship has been zoned to the North Central, then they should be notified now so that they can pull out of the race and stop spending their resources and time. Now that the party has denied zoning it to the North Central, they have all continued in the race. If eventually, the party settles for someone in the North-Central, it will further create a crisis as those who are shortchanged will not let it slide.”

Last week, the APC laid to rest the controversy on the postponement of its national convention when Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, who is the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party announced that the convention will hold on Saturday, February 26.

Buni, who made the announcement at the APC Progressive Women Conference in Abuja, urged the women to come out massively and contest in the forthcoming national convention.

He said: “We look forward to having more women contesting in the forthcoming National Convention of the party slated for February 26th, 2022 and the 2023 general election. The party under my stewardship conducted the membership registration and revalidation exercise. We found it expedient to constitute a special committee on Women and Youths before the commencement of the exercise.”

Despite settling the issue of the date, the party may be facing another hurdle as various interest groups in the party are divided over the consensus arrangement being planned by the governors and the party leadership.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said he was not surprised at the announcement as Buni and his colleagues in the APC Governors Forum already have a date in mind since last year November when President Muhammadu Buhari approved February for the convention.

According to him, the governors had kept the date hidden because they were unable to agree on a unity list and consensus candidates for the vacant positions in the National Working Committee (APC), especially the position of the national chairman.

He also said the date was not announced so as to give the party’s National Reconciliation Committee headed by Senator Abdullahi Adamu ample time to reconcile the warring parties in many states and also find a common ground among the various interest groups within the party.

“The February 26 date did not come to me as a surprise at all. It is what the APC governors had planned all along. They already know the date of the national convention since last year when they announced that it will take place in February 2022.

“The reality is that like what their colleagues in the PDP did, the APC governors also wanted a consensus arrangement in electing members of the NWC. They know that given the multiple crises in the party, there is no way the party can hold a national convention with multiple aspirants and there will be no violence.

“But the issue right now is how to draw up the unity list. You know there are several groups in APC and they are interested in these positions. Aside the four major tendencies that coalesced to form the APC at the threshold of the 2015 general election, there are other splinter groups too who are very powerful in the scheme of things.

“There is a group belonging to President Buhari. These are major members of the defunct CPC. There is another group belonging to the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. These are largely ACN members. There is the ANPP and APGA block. There is also the Progressive Governors group whose members are scheming to take charge of the affairs of the party and they are succeeding because one of them is the national caretaker chairman of the party,” he said.

It was gathered that efforts by the governors to persuade the chairmanship aspirants to embrace the consensus arrangement have failed to achieve any result as none of them agreed to step down.

Among those who have indicated an interest in the position of national chairman are former deputy national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Saliu Mustapha; former governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura; former governor of Borno State, Ali-modu Sheriff as well as Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Mohammed Sani-Musa.

Others are former governors of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda; Borno State, Kashim Shettima; Gombe State, Danjuma Goje; Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, George Akume; Sunny Moniedafe and Mohammed Saidu-Etsu.


Source: News Express

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