The much anticipated national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) slated for next month is shaky as various tendencies intensify efforts to hijack the party ahead of the 2023 general elections, Daily Trust reports.
Top chieftains of the party including aspirants lamented that six weeks after February was fixed for the exercise, the caretaker committee under the leadership of the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, has not commenced proper preparations for the exercise.
Governor of Kebbi State and Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Atiku Bagudu, had on November 22 announced the choice of February for the convention at the end of a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
But six weeks after, the meeting with the president and fixing of the exercise for February, the committee has not kick-started arrangements for the exercise, thus fuelling suspicion among party chieftains on the commitment of the committee to conduct the convention.
The Buni- committee has been piloting the affairs of the party since June 2020 when the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole- National Working Committee (NWC) was sacked.
The February convention is expected to birth a new crop of NWC members to lead the party to the 2023 general elections.
Despite their recent announcement that they would constitute a budget committee for the convention, the Buni-led Caretaker Committee is yet to do so.
The Caretaker Committee is also yet to constitute zoning, publicity and other sub-committees for the convention.
Party chieftains and aspirants for various offices are also worried that the party has not fixed a specific date for the convention slated for February 2022.
It was reported that the party is equally yet to decide on the venue for the convention, thus, leaving party members in the dark.
The party is also mum on when specifically, the National Executive Committee (NEC) would meet to ratify a schedule of activities for the convention.
The Buni-led committee has consistently said it would resolve life-threatening crises in the party before organising the convention in order to have a strong and united front after the exercise.
There were fears among stakeholders that the delay in the conduct of the convention may affect the party’s preparations for the 2023 elections, as political parties are expected to submit list of candidates for the February 2023 general elections by August this year.
Sources in the party disclosed that a section of the Presidency with the support of some of the APC governors are scheming to ensure the emergence of key members of the NWC especially the national chairman through consensus.
One of the sources said the arrowheads of the wing had perfected a plot to pick one of their allies as the national chairman.
“They are deliberately delaying the exercise because they want the national chairman to emerge through consensus. In the last six months, they have been plotting this. But what they do not know is that others are plotting too,” he said.
Some of the prominent persons eyeing for the chairmanship seat include former Governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura; former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff; former Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda and Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, who is also a former Governor of Benue State.
Others are former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Saliu Mustapha, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger East), Sunny Moniedafe and Mohammed Saidu Etsu.
An aggrieved chieftain of the party from the North West told Daily Trust that deadly landmines await the party.
He said only divine intervention would save the ruling party from surviving the ‘landmines’ primed for it in form of litigations.
It was reported that the recently concluded ward, local and states congresses conducted by the caretaker committee had ballooned the crisis rocking the APC.
Crises are still raging in many of its state chapters such as Zamfara, Kwara, Osun, Ekiti, Rivers, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River and Kano, with different factions claiming legitimacy over the other.
The aggrieved member alleged that the committee has skeleton in its cupboard hence they are afraid to conduct the convention.
“As soon as they fix a date for the exercise, we will start striking the landmines one after the other. We will force them to do the right thing otherwise, the house will collapse on all of us,” the source said.
Last week a group within the APC under the umbrella of Progressive Mandate Movement (PMM) called on the caretaker committee to immediately release the convention timetable to allow for the process to commence.
The group in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Hon. Abdullahi Mohammed and the Secretary, Comrade Adekunle Fijabi, said it would launch operation #Occupy APCNationalSecretariat for its leaders to do the right thing.
It also challenged the Buni-led caretaker committee to ensure that the party’s national convention does not fail to hold by February 5, 2022.
A chieftain of the party and elder statesman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, who spoke with Daily Trust in a telephone chat said many party chieftains were in the dark.
“Many party chieftains are in the dark as to when NEC will meet and whether NEC will ever meet. These are some of the things. Even the convention date is not confirmed. They just said February. Even though a group is giving them a deadline, it is neither here nor there.
“There are so many things that require NEC approval that have never happened and the party is going ahead. So I don’t understand. Honestly, I’m confused myself,” Okorie said.
But the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, told Daily Trust in a telephone chat that the party was planning to organise the convention in February.
“Well, everything still stands as planned. We are just entering the New Year.
NEC meeting will be called before the convention; whether to go on with the convention or if there is any adjustment or confirmation of the date.
“So after the NEC meeting everybody will know what is going to happen,” he said.