• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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APC chair: Musa roots for elective convention, rejects consensus

APC chair: Musa roots for elective convention, rejects consensus

After suffering several postponements in the past, all is set for Saturday’s National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The convention is expected to witness about 4,000 delegates from across the country where new national executive members of the party will be elected to manage its affairs.

Following the leadership tussle which had rocked the Governor Mai-Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention planning Committee (CECPC) in recent weeks, there has been anxiety amongst members of the party across the country that the much-publicised March 26 date may not be feasible.

Although there have been various permutations on the reasons for the postponement the convention has suffered, sources, within the party said that part of the reasons is that the APC governors, who in most cases, call the shots in the party, have been divided on the convention with others wanting the exercise to hold as planned and others insisting it should be shifted to give room for the resolution of contending issues topmost of which is consensus.

Another reason deduced for the frequent shifting of the convention is the disagreement over zoning of the seat of the national chairman as the permutations that the seat be zoned to North-central is not totally welcomed by stakeholders.

Interestingly, Saturday’s convention would be the first time that the contest for the APC chairmanship position would be thrown open since the party’s formation in 2014 through a merger of four political parties: the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) led by President Muhammadu Buhari, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) led by Ogbonnaya Onu, a faction of All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) led by former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha and the then crop of disgruntled members of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which called itself nPDP led by Kawu Baraje, the ruling party has never had an elected national chairman.

Recently, at a well-attended meeting of key stakeholders of the APC held in Abuja, key positions were zoned with chairmanship positions zoned to North Central. The meeting also agreed to zone the office of National Secretary to the South-South; Deputy National Chairman (South) to the South West; Deputy National Chairman (North) North West; National Treasurer (South East) and National Financial Secretary (North East) respectively.

In the last few weeks, there have been insinuations that President Buhari has endorsed one of the aspirants for the race; that is Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa State who ruled the North Central state from 1999-2007.

However, other aspirants have also publicly signified their interest for the chairmanship position and purchased the N20 million form through their emissaries, to be in the race.

Those that purchased and returned their forms at the weekend were Mohammed Sani-Musa,
Senator representing Niger East District; Saliu Mustapha, former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC); George Akume, former Governor of Benue State; Tanko Al-makura, former governor of Nasarawa State; Abdulaziz Yari, former Zamfara State Governor; Abdullahi Adamu, former Governor of Nasarawa State and Mohammed Saidu-Etsu.

Out of the lot, six contenders are from North-central where the position has been zoned with only former governor of Yari, Zamfara coming from North-west.

There were reports that power brokers in the party were planning a consensus arrangement for the National offices, especially the National Chairman, and it was the reason sales of forms could not start on time to avoid ill feelings amongst aspirants who would purchase forms and later be asked to withdraw.

Read also: Convention: APC governors, NASS leadership, meet Buhari, Wednesday, Thursday

“The Caretaker Committee under the Chairman, Mai-Mala Buni is trying to avert the anger that would ensue if all aspirants obtained forms and they will tell them to step down for consensus candidate(s) especially for the Chairman. You know the money is non-refundable,” a credible source in APC told BusinessDay on the condition of anonymity.

Last weekend, a former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff who is from the North East announced his withdrawal from the chairmanship race.

Sheriff, who spoke at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja, said he withdrew from the race to respect the party and President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to zone the position to the North-central.

According to him, “I am sure that most of you have been following the trends of activities of our party, the APC, within the last 10 days or so. The party has taken a position that the position of its national chairman should go to the North Central, meaning it is exclusively zoned to contestants of the zone.”

However, sources said that despite the array of aspirants in the chairmanship race, the odd favours Senator Sani Musa. It was gathered that 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. Checks by our correspondent revealed that the major blocs and arms of the APC have since thrown their weight behind his aspiration, especially after the chairmanship slot was zoned to his geo-political zone, North-Central.

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 leadership.

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, stressing that he would reposition the party for success.

According to Musa, “If given the opportunity to lead the party, I will completely re-engineer its internal structures and workings. I will be adaptive to a participatory work style that will usher visionary and pacesetting leadership for the party. My reform agenda for the party is expressed in what I call the three Rs for success. That is, Reconciliation, Reorganisation and Redirection.

“We need to immediately reconcile aggrieved members of the party on a sustainable basis. We need to reorganise the party in such a manner that it is able to effectively mobilise all segments of the country from youths to women groups for elections. And thirdly, we must redirect our efforts towards winning elections and nation building and not wrangling.”

The lawmaker’s fitting response to those who had questioned 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.

According to him, “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.”

On the issue of consensus, Musa told journalists after submitting his form at the APC Secretariat that the party leadership had not reached out to any of them over consensus arrangement.

He insisted that the APC needed a vibrant leadership that would change the status quo and that was why he was offering himself for National Chairman and dismissed the purported endorsement of an aspirant for the position.

“Why did the party sell forms to us? You sold (APC) forms to us. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s never been anybody that officially contacted me or any other aspirants. Nobody! And the spokesperson to Mr. President, Femi Adesina had said it that there is no endorsement.

“So, we want a vibrant leadership. We want leadership that will change the status quo. What are we talking about; the endorsement I want is your (people’s) endorsement. I want the endorsement of 43 million APC members. That is what I need. The APC needs a leader that will be able to build concession between all dividing organs,” he said.