Governors who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Wednesday aligned with President Muhammadu Buhari on the candidature of a former Governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the chairman of the ruling party, Daily Trust gathered last night.
Daily Trust had exclusively reported on February 24 the endorsement of Adamu by President Buhari during his meeting with the governors.
The endorsement of Adamu, 76, raised dust in the ruling party. However, at the end of the governor’s meeting with the president yesterday at the State House, Abuja, the issue was finally resolved.
The meeting convened ahead of the Saturday’s convention of the APC was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and 16 governors from Kebbi, Plateau, Kogi, Yobe, Ogun, Kaduna, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Imo, Niger, Jigawa, Kwara, Zamfara, Nasarawa, Osun, and Borno States. The ruling party has 22 governors.
Seven persons including a former Governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura; Senator Sani Musa (Niger) a former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume (Benue); Senator Abdullahi Adamu; Turaki Ilorin, Saliu Mustapha and Saidu Etsu have bought forms for the national chairmanship position.
A governor from the North West told Daily Trust that there was no objection when the endorsement of Adamu was raised. He said the issue of the national secretary was also resolved.
A top source, while corroborating the governor’s statement, said during the villa meeting, the governors aligned themselves with President Buhari’s position on Adamu.
“They aligned with the president’s position on Adamu as the national chairman while all other positions are as per the zoning earlier approved by the president,” the source said.
It was gathered that the governors are putting finishing touches on the unity list of other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) in line with the earlier zoning arrangement approved by the president during his previous meeting with them.
We have no objection – Govs
Briefing journalists after the meeting yesterday, 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.
He said: “Today, we all briefed Mr President on the issue of distributing political party offices to the respective zones and our support for Mr President’s endorsement of the candidate for the national chairman of the party and the various geo-political zones took turns to brief Mr President, on what they have been doing to generate consensus in their respective zones amongst the National Working Committee (NWC) and zonal party positions that have been either allocated to the zones or which the zones are entitled to.
“Most of the zones have been allocated NWC positions that are fewer than the number of states, but, however, there are zonal executive committees from which the zones are working to produce a consensus list.
“So, this afternoon, the respective zones; Governor Abubakar Bello briefed on behalf of the North Central; Governor Babagana Zulum on behalf of the North East; Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State on behalf of North West; Governor Dave Umahi on behalf of South East; and Governor Kayode Fayemi briefed the President on behalf of the South West. I further mentioned the position of the South South to Mr President, as I had on paper.”
Bagudu, however, said that aspirants who opposed the consensus option were free to run at the coming convention. He said APC as a democratic party will not bar anybody from exercising their rights.
President gives govs 24 hours to finalise unity list
The president also Wednesday gave the governors 24 hours to finalise works on the consensus list. The president in his speech during the meeting obtained by the paper said they must restore sanity and purpose in the affairs of the party and lead themselves to victory and safety.
“As I remarked when I met Your Excellencies on February 22nd, our aim must be to hand over to an APC government at the centre and the great majority of states. We must not, by default allow the PDP to get its dirty hands on government again and return us to the Stone Age.
“As I said at that meeting, our party chose its leadership by consensus. I again plead that we choose our next leadership by consensus. This is consistent with the spirit of democracy, the party’s constitution and the Nigerian constitution.
“With the convention only two days away, I implore you to come together and sort out all the remaining party positions so that within the next 24 hours we can arrive at a Unity List, which we can take to the convention,” he said.
He directed that all those who bought forms that have been affected by the consensus arrangement should have their money refunded without delay.
Buhari meets chairmanship aspirants
President Buhari last night met with all the national chairmanship aspirants of APC during which he told them to support Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
In attendance at the meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja were his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, and Chairman of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni.
The national chairmanship aspirants at the meeting included Senator Adamu, Senator George Akume, Senator Tanko Al-makura, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, Mohammed Saidu Estu, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, ex- Governor Addulaziz Yari Abubakar and Saliu Mustapha.
Daily Trust learnt from credible sources that the President used the opportunity to inform the aspirants of the need to embrace consensus option to avoid rancour in the party.
“He said that Senator Abdullahi Adamu is his preferred choice for the chairmanship position and urged them to support him. He advised them to remain united so that the APC will get stronger ahead of the general elections,” one of the sources said.
“The aspirants accepted the choice of the president and exchanged banters. They had dinner with the president and he advised them that if they have any issue, they should discuss it with his chief of staff.
“Of course, two of them said they wished the president’s interaction with them was organised earlier than now but that notwithstanding, they wished the former Nasarawa governor well,” he said.
How I’ll strengthen our party – Adamu
Meanwhile, Senator Adamu had earlier in the day disclosed how he would strengthen the party and lead it to victory if he emerges as the chairman.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, he said chairing the party’s reconciliation committee has given him an insight on how best to address the challenges bedevilling the party. He debunked the claim that he was no longer in the race for the party chairman, stating that it was a desperate propaganda by some people to edge him out.
We’ll abide by decisions taken by stakeholders – Mustapha
One of the frontline aspirants for the national chairmanship position, Malam Saliu Mustapha, has said that he would abide by the decision of the leadership and stakeholders of the party.
A statement issued last night by the Head Media, Saliu Mustapha Campaign Organisation, Dapo Okubanjo said as a core party man who subscribes to the principles of loyalty, he will abide by any decision taken by the leadership and stakeholders in the interest of everyone in the party.
“As a candidate, we have done our best to canvass for support from everyone we consider important within the party fold, particularly the delegates.
“So whether the leadership and stakeholders decide to adopt consensus or an elective convention, we believe that our candidate remains in pole position because he ticks all the right boxes as the best man to lead APC into the next election cycle in 2023,” he said.
By Ismail Mudashir, Muideen Olaniyi & Faruk Shuaibu