Oppose candidacy of Sheriff, Yari, Ebri, other ex-governors, contestants above 65 years
•Favour North-Central for chairmanship slot
Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
A COALITION made up of 12 governors, influential leaders, Senators and House of Representatives members has emerged in the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the national convention of the party in June.
The aim of the coalition, The Nation gathered, is to enthrone a new generation chairman for the party.
The governors and other stakeholders involved are said to be opposed to anyone older than 65 years leading the party.
The coalition is also seeking the understanding of APC leaders to concede the national chairman slot to the North-Central zone because both the North-East and the North-West have had their fair shares of political offices.
Some of the aspirants who fall in this category include a former chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and former Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari; a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and former governor of Cross River State, Clement Ebri, among others.
The coalition is also not interested in any national chairmanship aspirant who has served in any executive position like governor, deputy governor, permanent secretary, ambassador, director-general or chief executive officer of a ministry, department or agency (MDAs).
They may also resist imposition by APC governors of any candidate as national chairman at the convention.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that members of the coalition tagged Movement for a New Generation of Leadership in APC have met secretly twice in Abuja on their proposed reforms at the convention.
During one of such meetings, they made a case for the North-Central to produce the next national chairman of the party because, in their view, the North-East and the North-West have had a fair share of political offices.
It was learnt that they have started lobbying for the buy-in of key APC leaders and stakeholders on the need for younger elements to lead the party.
According to a reliable source, the same group will soon reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari on its leadership template for APC.
The source said: “We are forming a coalition to effect sustainable reforms in APC. We will not leave the governors alone to lead the initiative of effecting changes in our party.
“We have formed a coalition comprising like minds, including governors, influential stakeholders, senators, members of the House of Representatives and others.
“We have met twice and we have resolved to form the Movement for a New Generation of Leadership in APC. We do not want any aspirant or candidate who has been a governor, deputy governor, minister, permanent secretary, ambassador, director-general or CEO of any MDA to lead the APC.
“We are seeking a clean slate. We will reject old aspirants like a former Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari (ex-governor of Zamfara State); a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff and ex-governor Clement Ebri, among others.
“We believe that those who have held executive positions in the past should take the back seat. We want to try something new in APC.
“Also, anyone from 65 to 70 years and above has no business managing APC. We want a new national chairman without any baggage so that we can run APC like a normal party is run anywhere in the world.
“This is the main agenda we are selling to all APC stakeholders, including governors, in order that the party may outlive all of us.
“We are asking for a new generation chairman because those who have shown interest so far are old and cannot offer anything new to the party.
“Some of these aspirants have started having problems because APC leaders from their states are against their ambition.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “As I speak with you, we have 12 governors behind our demand for a young leader for our great party.
“We will not operate covertly. We will soon address the press to enable APC members know where we stand.
“We are consulting on a fast note and our idea is that we don’t want those who wielded executive powers in the past. We want a national chairman with an unblemished record.”
It was also gathered that the coalition may resist imposition of a new national chairman on the party.
The source said: “We are already encouraging members to come out for registration in order to press for change in the party.
“This coalition will not allow imposition of party leaders as being planned by some governors and a few stakeholders. We have had enough of that.
“We are happy that about 12 governors are backing this agenda. We are trying to get President Muhammadu Buhari to buy into this project for fresh hands and new thinking in APC.”