Olusola Fabiyi and Olalekan Adetayo
The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress has called for an emergency meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee to discuss the dates for fresh congresses of the party.
Sources close to the party told our correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday that the meeting would also consider the report of the party’s technical committee headed by Governor Simeon Lalong of Plateau State on tenure elongation for the executive members of the party.
The National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke with journalists after a meeting between members of the National Working Committee of the party and some governors at the party national secretariat in Abuja, however, declined to give the direction that the Monday meeting would take.
He mentioned that the party resolved to hold another NEC meeting on Monday where report of the technical committee would be presented and decision would be taken on it.
But our correspondents gathered that the Monday meeting would ratify the decision of the governors to hold fresh congresses across the country to elect new officers for the party from wards to the national level.
Odigie-Oyegun said, “Today, the governors and the National Working Committee of the party decided to sit and look at the issues that are seemingly dividing us.
“I want to say to you with absolute satisfaction that all the issues you have been commenting about in the last two days have been completely resolved.
“We are back in business as one united and happy family. I also want to say that yesterday (Tuesday) we set up a technical committee as ordered by NEC and the members have been working because their report was time sensitive.
“It is sensitive because we have already sent out notices for the meeting of NEC which will hold on Monday. I am glad to say that the chairman of the technical committee has said his report will be ready this evening (Wednesday) or tomorrow (Thursday).
“This report will be placed before NEC on Monday, April 9, and appropriate decision will be taken.”
Also speaking with journalists after the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said it would be early to pre-empt the report of the technical committee.
He said, “It is left for the NEC to decide and if the committee recommends that the position of NEC should be maintained, then there will be no need for an elective convention.
“But if the committee recommends that congresses should be held; then NEC will consider the report and at the same decide whether to reverse itself.”
Among the governors at the NWC meeting on Wednesday were Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Simon Lalong of Plateau and Deputy Governor of Niger State, Mohammad Ketso.
APC governors bow to pressure, back Buhari
Earlier, some APC governors had met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa where they told journalists that they had resolved to support the President’s position on tenure elongation.
Buhari had told the party at its last NEC meeting that it would be unconstitutional to elongate the tenure of Odigie-Oyegun and other officers of the party whose tenure would expire in June this year.
The governors, at the meeting, resolved to back Buhari’s position that elongation of tenure would be illegal.
A similar meeting between the President and all the governors had ended in a deadlock on Tuesday.
Those who met the President on Wednesday included governors of Zamfara, Plateau, Imo, Kano, and Ogun.
At the end of the meeting, Yari told journalists that after the Tuesday meeting with Buhari, the governors again met “late in the night and decided to round off with another consultation with the President.”
He said all the 24 state governors on APC platform agreed that elections of party officials should hold at all levels.
Yari said, “We consulted and all the 24 governors of the APC are on the same page with Mr. President that we are going to respect our party’s constitution, and respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Therefore, we collectively agreed that we will have congresses at all levels – local, state and national.
“The committee set up by the National Secretariat of our party headed by the governor of Plateau State, is presenting its report later today (Wednesday). The governors are also meeting with the working committee so that we can come up with convention committee names, as well as the timetable for the election.”
Okorocha, on his part, insisted that despite the development of the last few days, there was no crisis in the party.
“The issue is that some people believed that we did not have enough time to organise party congresses and also organised for elections. Some people felt that tenure elongation was a good idea, but if we do that, we will be contravening both our party constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“That is the major issue we have and that is what they called crisis.
“We have met with Mr. President and resolved that there must be congresses at all levels. To this effect, the convention committee will be set up and it will be announced,” he said.
Okorocha also explained that the decision to hold congress and convention did not mean that those who have so far held those positions have done badly, adding that outgoing officials could re-contest.
“So we are one family and we are set to go for 2019 elections in victory,” he added.
Lalong also said he would be submitting the report of the technical committee he headed to the party leadership on Wednesday (yesterday).
APC passing through death throes – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party says the APC is passing through death throes and pre-election traumas, adding that its leaders are in frenzy over the baggage of “an unpopular presidential candidate” ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The PDP noted that the confusion, backstabbing and vicious scheming in the APC was a tragic testimony of a party that had become politically decapitated by the “evident dishonesty, greed, selfishness and lust for power by its incompetent leaders.”
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday said it was clear that the APC remained an ideologically empty movement and a special purpose vehicle put together by “egoistic strange bedfellows just for the purpose of winning political power and not for the good of Nigerians.”
He said, “We call on Nigerians not to be deceived by the sudden law-abiding stance of the APC, as it is merely cosmetic and meant to cloak their hidden but soon to be manifested plots to manipulate the laws to push a self-succession plan of their incompetent candidate.
“It is evident that APC has never had anything to offer Nigerians other than confusion, disagreements, economic recession, bad national image and painful bloodletting.”
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