On Saturday, members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) converged on the Eagle Square, Abuja, and elected new set of leaders who will lead the party to the 2023 general elections.
For eight years, national politics has been a stiff competition between two major parties – the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, which until 2015 was in power for 16 years.
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As the race to the next year elections heats up, there is intense scheming in the two parties with APC trying to retain presidency and PDP plotting to regain it.
Interestingly, the outcome of the APC convention was what many have likened to ‘old wine in new bottle,’ as politicians who used to be prominent PDP members now call the shots in the APC.
From the chairmanship of the party to other crucial positions, some ex-PDP chieftains are now in the saddle of the ruling party through a “unity list” signed by APC governors and other party leaders.
The newly elected National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, emerged as a consensus candidate endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The six other chairmanship aspirants who had strongly opposed the consensus arrangement eventually stepped down for Adamu. One of the aspirants, Senator Sani Musa, even said the decision to withdraw was difficult for him to make.
“It was a very difficult decision for somebody like me because I knew the kind of popularity and followership that I had; but foremost, the interest of the party is number one. The supremacy of the party is important because we all subscribed to be members and we stated that we will abide by what the party comes up with,” he had said.
Adamu, a senator representing Nasarawa West, was a two-time governor of Nasarawa State. He was first elected as governor in 1999 on the PDP platform and re-elected in 2003 on the same platform. Before his defection to the APC, he was Secretary, PDP Board of Trustees (BOT).
Otunba Iyiola Omisore, who emerged as the National Secretary of the APC, served as Deputy Governor of Osun State from 1999 –2003. He was also elected to the Senate to represent Osun East Constituency in 2003 on the platform of PDP and served till 2007. He was reelected in 2007 and appointed to committees for Police Affairs, Housing, Culture & Tourism, Aviation and Appropriation.
In 2018, he ran for governorship in Osun under Social Democratic Party. But in the rerun, he formed alliance with the APC whose candidate, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, eventually won the election.
Barely one year after her defection to the APC from PDP, former Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Betta Edu, is now the APC national women leader.
A former director-general of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Mary Ekpere, who was in the CPC, was said to have been persuaded to withdraw from the position for Edu. CPC was one of the three core parties that merged to form APC in 2013.
Barr Festus Fuanter
Hailed from Plateau State, Barr Festus Fuanter was in PDP and served as Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Town Planning in the state. He is now the Deputy National Secretary of the APC.
Senator Abubakar Maikafi
Senator Abubakar Maikafi from Bauchi State contested under PDP for the Senate in 2003, representing Bauchi South and won. He emerged as the APC National Auditor during the Saturday national convention.
Other former PDP members elected into key positions of the APC National Working Committee are: F.N. Nwosu, national welfare secretary; Mustapha Salihu, national vice-chairman (north-west); Muazu Bawa Rjau, national vice chairman (north-central); Nze Chidi Duru, deputy national organizing secretary; Ahmed El-Marzuk, national legal adviser and Uguru Matthew Ofoka, national treasurer.