Leaders and chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are worried that the much anticipated national convention of the party may not hold anytime soon following the vote of confidence passed in the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) by governors elected on the platform of the party. [/b]
Kebbi State governor and chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Senator Atiku Bagudu, while addressing newsmen last week had said the caretaker committee had performed creditably well by reinvigorating the party at a critical time .
“The vote of confidence is imperative to encourage the leadership of the party to continue its strides in piloting her to its next level. It will be recalled that the CECPC of the party under the leadership of Gov. Buni was put in place to strengthen the ruling party in the face of some challenges.
“The Yobe State governor and his CECPC members have succeeded in attracting serving and former governors, senators, House of Representatives members as well as other notable opposition figures to the party. They have also helped in stabilising the APC and midwifed a successful membership drive to make the party the biggest in Africa,” the governors said.
Checks by our correspondent revealed that many of the party members, especially state chairmen felt that the endorsement by the governors was to extend the tenure of the Buni-led caretaker committee by another six months, a situation many of them who have been clamouring for a substantive National Working Committee (NWC) are not comfortable with.
The caretaker committee had few days ago rolled out time table for the conduct of party’s congresses from the ward to zonal levels. The time table was, however, silent on date of the national convention of the party.
A time-table which was released, but later withdrawn indicated that ward congresses would begin on July 10, while local government congresses would follow on August 6, 2021. State congresses were scheduled for September 3 and zonal congresses for September 30, 2021.
The Buni-led caretaker committee which first came into office in June 2020 following the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC was charged with the responsibility of reconciling aggrieved members of the party and organising a national convention.
However, the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) in December 2020 extended the tenure of the Buni-led CECPC which will lapse this month end.
Our correspondent also gathered that even if the national convention will hold, the APC governors who are already comfortable with one of them as the caretaker chairman will want the trend to continue by ensuring that they determine the next national chairman.
When contacted, a member of the CECPC, who does not want his name in print, said it is wrong for anyone to assume that the vote of confidence passed by the APC governors in the Buni-led committee is an endorsement aimed at extending their tenure.
“The vote of confidence by the APC governors in the CECPC is just an act of solidarity and nothing more. The governors are just showing solidarity with one of them (Buni) who has been effectively combining his work as caretaker chairman with his position as governor of Yobe State”.
Also speaking with Daily Independent, a former senator from the South-West, who spoke on condition of anonymity, dismissed the allegations that the governor can on their own determine the next national chairman of the party.
“The governors are powerful and influential, no doubt. Naturally, they would want to influence the choice of the next chairman but they can’t solely determine the choice”.
On the claim that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s national leader, was losing grip, he said, “I doubt if that is true. Most of the governors who are with Asiwaju are still with him. And these people, whether you like it or not are in charge of their party structures in their respective states.
“Unless the governors who are with him dumped him, then the issue of Asiwaju losing grip of the party structure or his influence waning does not arise.
“He has more northern governors on his side than southern governors. If you notice the crowd that welcomed him in Maiduguri when he visited, those in charge of the party in the state made it possible. Borno is one of the states with Asiwaju till date”, he said.