There is anger in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over an alleged plot to shift the party’s national convention, earlier slated for December 2020, to the first quarter of 2021.
The APC had proposed to organise an elective national convention this year at which a new crop of National Working Committee (NWC) members of the party would emerge.
But credible sources told our correspondent on Sunday that some party stalwarts were planning a revolt if the decision to shift the convention later than December 2020, was considered.
The APC National Executive Committee (NEC), the second-highest decision-making organ of the party, had dissolved the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC in June, this year.
The NEC also constituted a 13-member National Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee headed by Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni, to take charge of the day-to-day running of the party and to, within six months, organise a national convention for new leaders to emerge.
Contacted on Sunday, Buni’s spokesman, Mamman Mohammed said mischief-makers were at work.
“One can attribute such mischief to opposition parties or their agents probably working to create disaffection to divert the attention of party men from the task of delivering Edo and Ondo states in the forthcoming governorship election.
“His Excellency the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee is currently committed to delivering the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections as well as organising a successful national convention for the party.
“The caretaker committee under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni is indisputably working hard to reposition the party and this is evidenced in the achievements recorded so far. And you can see the likes of former Speaker Yakubu Dogara and thousands of supporters have returned to the party. In Ondo state, the numerous factions have been united,” he said.
Daily Trust reports that the committee has so far recorded milestones in the areas of membership drive and reconciliation of aggrieved members which is still on-going.
However, key players in the party told our correspondent that there was discontent as ‘a cabal’ was planning a tenure extension for the committee on grounds of time factor which would lead to the shifting of the convention to next year.
A top party actor in the North said, “Extending the tenure of the caretaker will mean shifting the convention to 2021. Unfortunately, we heard it on good authority that this is in the making.
“But it’s imperative to note that extending their tenure and postponing the convention will spark fresh constitutional crisis and protests in the party. It will create room for anarchy and pave way for another round of confusion.
“We need a new NWC that can come in and prepare grounds for the party to win the 2023 general elections. And to do this it is necessary that we hold our elective national convention this year.
“We shouldn’t allow the old order, the impunity that characterised the APC in the past to resurface in another form. It will be counterproductive.”
Another source said, “The point is, there is already an aberration because of the way and manner they (committee) came into office. So it will be unhealthy for the party if things are not done properly.
“We are in September now but the national leadership of the party is saying nothing about the convention. They are not rolling out any programme for the convention, so what does that mean to you?”
When our correspondent asked the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, on when the national leadership of the party would roll out a programme for the convention, he said, “When we get to that point, we will let you know.”
Asked to confirm protests in the party and whether there were plans to extend the tenure of the committee, he said, “When we get to that point, we will communicate all organs of the party.”
However, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP who is now a chieftain of the APC, Barrister Abdullahi Jalo, called for calm in the party and asked aggrieved members to meet with the leadership of the party to ventilate their grievances and views.
Chieftain seeks nullification of Buni’s c’ttee
A chieftain of the APC, Lateef Kayode Arigbaruwo has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to nullify the appointment of Governor Mai Bala Buni as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party “for being invalid.”
In the suit marked FHC/1/CS/759/2020, Arigbaruwo is asking the court to declare that the meeting, which was convened on June 24 by Victor Giadom, who was acting as national chairman of the party following the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole from office by the Court of Appeal, was not valid as he was not a member of the party having been suspended by the Rivers State chapter on June 21.
Arigbaruwo, who is also a lawyer, also asked the court to declare that the meeting convened on June 24, which was 24 hours’ notice to the June 25 date when it held, was a violation of Article 25, Paragraph B (1) and (ii) of the APC Constitution.
He also contended that the appointment of the three governors by the NEC was not valid based on Article 17(iv) of the APC Constitution.
He, therefore, asked for an order allowing Prince Hilliard Etagbo Eta, who is the Vice-Chairman, South-South of the party to pilot the affairs of the APC as acting chairman and to preside at all meetings of the NWC and the NEC.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo ordered that the case be heard by a vacation judge but refused the application for accelerated hearing of the suit as it was not a pre-election matter.
The judge fixed October 12 for hearing.