•Uncertainty trails NEC meeting
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi
Ahead of its National Executive Council (NEC) tomorrow, an influential caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is in the vanguard to remove the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
As part of its functions, as stipulated in the APC constitution, the NEC is expected to fix a definite date for the party’s national convention.
But, the plot against Oyegun gathered momentum in recent weeks, with his kinsmen in the South spearheading the move.
Some leaders in the South West are reportedly rooting for Oyegun’s removal.
The sub-caucus of the party in the region has allegedly teamed up with a former southern governor to firm up the plot against Oyegun and have listed some sins against the national chairman.
Oyegun’s principal sin is his “perceived loyalty” to the Presidency. Other sins include “his inability to rein in APC members in the build-up to the election of principal officers in the National Assembly in 2015. Secondly, the national chairman was also unable to enforce the party’s position on candidates, even after mock elections were held and lawmakers did not toe the party line, even when it was glaring we controlled both chambers of the National Assembly.
“After that seeming indiscipline, others within the party knew they could go against the party and they would not be called to order. That was exactly what happened in Osun west senatorial district election in July. Besides, do you know that the party’s governors and influential members do not fund the party? They have distanced themselves because they believe the leadership favours a particular section to the disadvantage of others” said a party source, yesterday.
National Convener of APC Youth Solidarity Network (APC-TSN), Danesi Momoh Prince corroborated plots to remove Oyegun, in an October 27, 2017 position paper addressed to the national chairman, the national caucus and NEC, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Sun, at the weekend.
APC-TSN said the position paper was “an independent scorecard of the party’s national leadership since the party’s victory in 2015 and the task ahead in the lead-up to the 2019 polls.”
On the way forward for the party, the group acknowledged, “there have been alleged schemes to remove the party’s national chairman…because of his perceived loyalty to Mr. President. The alleged plot is aimed at achieving sinister political ends in the lead-up to the 2019 general elections. If the plan succeeds, it will allow the sponsors install their stooges and hijack the party in the lead-ups to the elections. This is a red flag that the president must take seriously and thwart.”
APC-TSN, with offices David Ebor Crescent, Apo-Abuja re-echoed misgivings on how political appointments have been handled by the party leadership.
“Many Federal Government boards, agencies and parastatals appointees, who were put in office by the immediate past administration are still in office; they are not loyal to the APC, which they feel had no hand in their emergence. There is need to quickly review these appointments and replace them with qualified APC members.
“Vacant positions should, thereafter, be quickly filled with APC members who feel frustrated because they seem not to have benefitted from the victory of their party…”
Regardless, some party leaders in the North have resolved to checkmate the southern plot against Oyegun.
Some governors in the North West zone and two, from the North East, have reportedly teamed up to thwart any move to remove Oyegun. “He steered us to win in 2015 and we believe he can do it again,” said a media aide to a North West governor close to the president.
Aso Rock is, however, quiet over the plot.
But, ahead of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting tomorrow, It was gathered that Oyegun had scheduled a flurry of meetings between yesterday and today. The meeting’s agenda was not disclosed.
Oyegun met with APC state chairmen and hours later, he met with some NEC members. The last meeting was with the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
Two crucial meetings have been slated for today and tomorrow.
The first meeting, that of the party’s national caucus, will hold at the Presidential Villa, today, at 8:00pm.
The first three meetings, a National Assembly source said, were to “put the position of the party together before the two big meetings.”
Asked whether the party’s leadership relates with Aso Rock, especially on how the party is run, he replied, “the villa is far from the party and our activities. There is uncertainty as to what the villa expects of us. We don’t even understand their body language. Nobody knows what is happening and what would likely happen at NEC tomorrow.”
An APC chieftain, Tijani Abdullah Markafi said Oyegun’s problem could probably have stemmed from his inability to decode President Muhammadu Buhari’s “body language.”
Said Markafi: “President Muhammadu Buhari’s actions or inaction towards core party affairs has not helped matters and could pose a serious problem, if he seeks reelection in 2019.
“It is quite possible that part of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun’s problem is trying to align party decisions and actions with the “body language” of president Buhari. However, while this may be healthy for the administration of the country, this would naturally go against the grains of those with presidential ambitions…”
Last Thursday, the party’s spokesman, Mallam Bolaji Abdullah dropped hints that the national convention may no longer hold this year.
Abdullah said the date of the convention could only be determined by the party’s NEC which will meet tomorrow.