The Chairman of the National Convention Committee, Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, announced this yesterday.
Governor Abubakar, who fielded questions from journalists shortly after the inauguration of the 68-member Committee by the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said the sale of forms for the various positions would commence tomorrow.
He spoke in company of the committee’s deputy chairman, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and secretary, Sen. Ben Uwajumogu.
There were rumours previously that the convention would hold in Lagos but that some governors yesterday succeeded in influencing its shift to Abuja.
One source said the Chief Odigie- Oyegun led NWC, with support from governors Nasir El- Rufai (Kaduna), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Jibrilla Bindow kicked against the move on the grounds that they would be edged out by Senator Ahmed Tinubu in deciding who becomes what in the event the convention was held in Lagos.
“The Oyegun-led NWC wants to come back and they have serious support from various quarters, including governors. As you can see, they are now only concentrating on the national convention while the party is boiling in the states, nothing is being said about state, local government and ward congresses and it is from there that you produce national delegates.
“So, there are fundamental problems; convention is also not about election only, we have issues with our constitution, the trimming of the BoT and the audit report of the party which was never made public since 2014, all these have been buried,” he said.
But an NWC member who spoke in confidence said the allegation was not true.
“In 2014, the convention where President Buhari emerged as candidate was taken to Lagos because that was where we could do everything from position of strength; we had a governor there, Fashola who provided all the logistics with active support of Tinubu.
“We are now in control of the government at the centre and you should not expect us to go to the periphery for an important event like national convention where party leaders would emerge.
“The allegation that we want to ensure tenure elongation is the wishful thinking of the architect of those behind the rumour and we would prove them wrong,” he said.
Governor Badaru, who reiterated the resolution of the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that the current zoning arrangements for party positions be retained, also revealed that the details on the list of delegates for the National Convention would be provided after the congresses scheduled to commence on May 2, 2018.
On whether the committee would give any room for consensus and affirmation apart from casting of ballots, Governor Badaru said, “It depends on the situation. Our constitution allows consensus. You are all aware. If there is consensus, we will do it. But we will still cast votes to affirm the consensus that we have done.”
When asked to comment on the allegation that the composition of the convention committee was biased toward the national leadership, he said: “I don’t even understand the question. But I’m asked to chair this committee because they believe I will be fair to all.”
Speaking earlier after the inauguration, Governor Badaru said that the committee would not fail the party. “We will do all it takes to come out stronger and united out of that convention” he said.
“God is with us and God will continue to support us because of our clear vision, our good heart and our love for the people of Nigeria. We all know that our leader has no business in running this government except for the care of our people.
“Most of us you see in APC are in the party today to serve our people. Our mission in APC is to rescue the country from near collapse we saw around 2014 and 2015.
“With that heart and with mind, we believe that God will support us, help us to come out stronger and re-dedicate ourselves to the service of humanity and our people. Mr Chairman, be rest assured that with the people you see here you can go and sleep. I am very sure that we will come out stronger, united and there will be transparency and accountability.
Earlier while inaugurating the committee, Chief Odigie-Oyegun said the membership of the committee was “specially chosen to represent major interests in the party.”
The APC National Chairman said the convention dates were fixed within a short period in view of the forthcoming fasting by Muslims.
While reminding the committee that it would undertake a “tough and heavy task,” he urged them to produce a free, fair and credible convention.
“I have no doubt that this one, given the controversies that have preceded it will also be a most watched convention. So, you have the task of producing a convention that is free, fair and provide a level playing field for anybody who wants to aspire to any position.
“At the end of this exercise, I want to see a reunited APC under whatever leadership your exercise brings up. We have a tough election ahead of us and we must prime ourselves for that election,” he added.
The inauguration was attended by key stakeholders in the APC, including governors Jibrilla Bindow (Adamawa), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), former governors Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Sani Yerima (Zamfara), Sen. Ken Nnamani, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje; Mrs. Paulin Tallen, and Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege among others.
Oyegun, Oshiomhole divide South South APC
The South South zonal chapter of APC has been polarised over the national chairmanship candidacy of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and former Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.
Daily Trust reports that four out of the six state chairmen of the party from the zone had rejected the purported endorsement of Oshiomhole.
They are the Rivers State APC Chairman, Chief Davies Ikanya, Bayelsa State APC Chairman, Deacon Joseph Fafi, Cross River State APC Chairman, Mr Etim John and the Akwa Ibom State APC Chairman, Dr. Amadu Attai as well as the APC Deputy National Secretary, Hon. Victor Giadom.
The four were said to have yesterday stormed out of the South South zonal caucus meeting held at the Edo State Government House yesterday in protest at what they said were plans by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and the zonal Vice Chairman of the party, Hilliard Eta to adopt Oshiomhole as the South South zone’s candidate for the party’s national chairmanship.
The South South state chairmen, who spoke to journalists, said they were ambushed by Oshiomhole’s adoption agenda at the meeting.
They insisted that the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun should be given a right of first refusal to seek re-election for the position.
Already, both Chief Odigie-Oyegun and the South-South zonal chairman had not been in good terms, especially after the emergence of a new chairman in his home State of Cross River whose candidacy he rejected.