The doubt over the sacrosanctity of the March 26 date for the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Convention is still in the air.
Not a few party members are unsure of the real date following the recent development in the broom party. But the leadership of the party says the convention will go on as planned.
Mohammed Sani Musa, a serving senator representing Niger East senatorial district, has called on the leadership of the party to ensure that the National Convention is held as scheduled and peaceful too.
Speaking to our correspondent he said he strongly believed that his party was capable of resolving its minor crisis and to come out stronger after the convention.
Amidst the sudden change in leadership last week was the talk about anointed candidates for the national chairmanship of the party.
Although some names are being bandied, strong contenders have remained undisturbed, saying that only the national convention delegates will determine the fate of any aspirant.
Sani Musa, who is one of the aspirants whose optimism has not shaken any bit, said he was the candidate to beat.
When he announced his aspiration December 10, 2021, for the national chairmanship of the APC, not many people gave him a chance given the array of contenders already on parade for the office.
But four months down the line and a matter of days to the scheduled convention, the senator, who chairs the Senate Services Committee, is sure-footed in the race he has chosen for himself and has assured his supporters as well as the entire party that he would deliver good if elected as the new chairman.
Hinging his mandate on visionary, pacesetting and technologically-driven leadership, Musa apparently won admirers when he promised to re-engineer the APC system from bottom-up if elected.
Aptly labeled as a crowded race of heavyweight politicians, the push for the national chairmanship seat of the ruling party has been undergoing different curves and bends.
Aside from Musa, other party chieftains that have indicated an interest in the job include former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff; Sylvester Moniedafe from Adamawa State; former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje; a former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Saliu Mustapha; former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Al Makura; a former governor and serving senator, Abdulahi Adamu; Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, George Akume; former governor of Zamfara and former Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdulaziz Yari.
Many party stalwarts have since endorsed the aspiration of the senator during his consultation visits across the country. A number of governors in the party are also rooting for him.
Little wonder, the major blocs and arms of the APC have thrown their weight behind his aspiration, especially after the chairmanship slot was zoned to his geo-political zone, north-central.
Read also: APC CECPC sacks John James Akpan Udoedehe
The belief, among stakeholders of the APC, is that, Senator Musa, as the next national chairman of the party, besides preparing the party for the 2023 general election, possesses the exposure and experience to deal with enormous issues he will inherit from the outgoing and past leadership and ensure that the party truly live up to its “progressives” credentials beyond just the name.
While the apprehension about the March 26 national convention, primarily fueled by intrigues and ambitions, has been largely laid to rest with the flurry of activities embarked upon by the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), it is cheering that majority of the 22 state governors of the APC are in sync with the convention date.
Signs that the party’s convention will hold as planned included the administering of oath of office on the state chairmen of the party, issuing of notice of the party’s next National Executive Council, among others.
Senator Musa, who already enjoys the backing of his state chapter of the party, has also been endorsed by most APC senators, who are rooting for one of their own to assume the leadership of the party.
The Niger East senator, in a recent interview with BusinessDay, said he had consulted widely the relevant stakeholders and that the feedback had given him the assurance that he is on the right track.
Commending the aspirant and assuring him of his support during the recent visit to Akure, Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State governor and chairman of South West Governors’ Forum, said: “I want to praise your intellectual capacity. You are the kind of leader needed for the party to progress ahead of the 2023 general election. The party needs a national chairman that is energetic, accessible, people-oriented and the capacity to sit down, listen and interact with party members.”
His consultation train had earlier visited Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF); Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; Governor Bello, among others.
In the consultation process, he has also reached out to other arms of influence within the party, including his constituency, the National Assembly. In all, it has been positive feedback for him.
The lawmaker’s fitting response to those who had interrogated his intention to aspire to leave the Senate for the leadership of the ruling party, apparently drew more support base to him, seeing his lofty plans and readiness to reposition the ruling party.
“Before I was elected a senator, I had worked in the public and private sectors. I have been a leader in the APC since 2014 and served as a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) from 2019 to date.
“If you look at the antecedents, you will notice the consistency. As a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria representing the good people of Niger East Senatorial District and Chairman Committee on Senate Services, I have served my people well as a first-term senator, and it has been an amazing experience.
“So, my interest in the chairmanship of our great party, the APC, is another call to national service just like my current position as a senator of the Federal Republic. You must bear in mind that as the national chairman of the APC, I can leverage on my experience here in the Senate to push the manifesto of the party to the National Assembly more efficiently,” he said.
Citing the need to preserve the ideals and legacy of President Buhari as one of the reasons for joining the race, he said: “My leadership of the party will reinforce our commitment to keeping the towering legacy and leadership of our amiable President Muhammadu Buhari, who has given our party an ideology and presence in the international community.
“His democratic ideals and work within the sub-region and Africa; fight against corruption and his efforts at providing security stand him out; hence, the need to have a leader, who will continue to give full support and attention to such progressive efforts.”
The senator further said: “I have a clear vision of where I want to take the party as encapsulated in the three Rs – Reconciliation, Reorganisation and Redirection. I am not just seeking the office of the national chairman of the APC for the sake of it but to reposition the party to win elections and take Nigeria to its pride of place in the world.”
Musa was in 2014, an aspirant for the Niger East Senate candidacy and a gubernatorial aspirant in 2007. He was also an ex-officio of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He developed and promoted electronic voting for the first time in Nigeria. This manifested in the introduction of Card Reader and Permanent Voters Card (PVC), the revolutionary steps is the instrumental to the transformation of election in the country by INEC in 2015 and 2019.
As stakeholders of APC set to break the cycle of former governors from leading the party, it is clear that the Niger East senator is ready for the job going by his commitment, passion, and leveraging all the political and social capital he had acquired over the years on the affairs of the ruling party.
As it stands, all eyes are on President Buhari as he convenes a meeting of all aspirants to agree on a consensus. But Sani Musa told BusinessDay “I am very optimistic about winning the contest. I have what it takes to take our great party to greater heights.”