• Monday, June 17, 2024
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APC chairmanship: Intrigues that sealed aspirants’ fate

APC Congress: Oyo North candidates cries out over manipulated list

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to go into a National Convention this Saturday to elect national officers of the party, more than a year and a half after the removal of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC).

Barring any last-minute change, the office of the National Chairman will be determined through consensus, with Abdullahi Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa State and current senator representing the Western Senatorial District of the state, already endorsed and accepted by President Muhammadu Buhari and governors on the party’s platform.

The choice of Adamu, according to reports, is at the behest of the leader of the party, Buhari, who impressed it on even the ‘powerful’ APC governors and other leaders to accept the senator.

Adamu, the late entrant into the race of APC National Chairman, was not among the list of aspirants for the exalted seat as at January 31, when he submitted the Interim Report of the National Reconciliation Committee of the party which he chaired.

Over 10 contenders had expressed interest for the APC National Chairmanship including Saliu Mustapha, former deputy national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change; Tanko Almakura, former governor of Nasarawa State; Ali Modu Sheriff, former governor of Borno State; Mohammed Sani-Musa, senator representing Niger East District, and Abubakar Bawa-Bwari, former minister of state for mines and steel development.

Others were Abdulaziz Yari, Isa Yuguda, Kashim Shettima and Danjuma Goje, former governors of Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno and Gombe states respectively; George Akume, minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs; Sunny Moniedafe; Mohammed Saidu-Etsu; and Sani Shinkafi, former national secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

However, with the zoning formula that conceded the seat to the North-central geopolitical zone and other intrigues, only seven aspirants, six of them, including Adamu, were from the zone, except Yari from North-west.

The seven aspirants, namely Mustapha, Musa, Al-Makura, Adamu, Akume, Yari and Etsu, had bought and returned the N20 million worth nomination forms and screened for the race.

However, like what started like rumours that spread like wild fire, the endorsement of Adamu came to the fore about 48 hours to the Convention (March 23,2022), when President Buhari reportedly met with APC governors and the aspirants and told them his preference for consensus chairmanship candidate.

That might have put to rest the earlier refusal by some of the aspirants that they were not aware of consensus arrangement and endorsement of Adamu.

Musa, one of the aspirants, had last weekend said the party leadership had not reached out to any of them over consensus arrangement.

He wondered, “Why did the party sell forms to us? You sold (APC) forms to us. And as far as I’m concerned, there has never been anybody that officially contacted me or any other aspirant. Nobody!”

Yari had also said he was not aware that the office had even been zoned to the North-central, not to talk of micro-zoning and endorsement of a candidate.

Yari is the only contender to the APC National Chairmanship from another geopolitical zone (North-west) other than the North-central zone where the party ceded the position.

He said: “Nobody indicated whether it is South-West, South-East or South-South. The party acting chairman has not come out officially to tell us the chairmanship has been zoned to a particular geopolitical zone.”

Buhari had at the Wednesday meeting pleaded with the APC Governors on the need for the party chose its leadership by consensus, saying it was “consistent with the spirit of democracy, the party’s constitution, and the Nigerian Constitution.”

The President told them: “I have already given my input and other recommendations on the way forward in both my 25th February 2022 meeting with the chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee and my 13th March 2022 letter to the chairman of the APC Governors Forum.

“With the convention only two days away, I implore you to come together and sort out all the remaining party positions so that within the next 24 hours we can arrive at a Unity List which we can take to the convention.

“Finally, all those who have bought forms indicating interest and have been dropped should have their money refunded without delay.”

Apart from Adamu, Ken Nnamani, a former president of the Senate, was picked by consensus as deputy national chairman (South), while Abubakar Kyari is the consensus candidate for deputy national chairman (North).

Read also: APC convention: Buhari, APC Governors reach consensus on chairmanship candidate

The APC Governors agreed to the President’s demands, as their Chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu, said: “Mr President has always urged consensus for all positions because consensus is in accordance with the democratic tenets.
“On the principle of ensuring that we get leadership that will hit the ground running, we are united, and to that extent, who will support any process that will lead to consensus and the emergence of leaders without the need for election.”

However, the other aspirants who have spent millions of naira on consultations and campaigns are yet to make their position known on the call for them to adopt Adamu as the consensus National Chairmanship aspirants.

Abdullahi Sule, governor of Nasarawa State and chairman of the APC Convention Media and Publicity Sub-committee, confirmed this on Thursday when he told journalists: “You said most of the aspirants have already agreed to the consensus request yesterday; they have not made it public to us yet.”

The development seems not to go down well with some party stakeholders who felt Buhari would have allowed a democratic contest and supremacy of the party to reign by not having preferred candidate and method of emergence of national officers.

A party chieftain who does not want to be named told BusinessDay that the President’s action was at variance with democratic norms and principles of party supremacy.

“His involvement in the process at the tail end is not healthy for democracy and party supremacy at all. Giving His Excellency, Abdullahi Adamu National Chairman doesn’t show reward for faithful party members who have paid their dues over the years,” the APC chieftain said.

There is also ill-feeling that having Adamu as National Chairman and Nnamani as Deputy National Chairman (South) is giving the party back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is just a fraction as compared to the Congress for Progressive Change, the Action Congress of Nigeria blocs that formed the party.

While Adamu was a two-term governor, one term senator under PDP and secretary, Board of Trustees of the party; Nnamani was president of the Senate during the PDP era and joined APC in 2017.

APC stakeholders under the agies of APC Rebirth had rejected the endorsement of Adamu as National Chairman and Nnamani as Deputy National Chairman (South) over what they described as signals to return APC to the hands of the original PDP members.

Aliyu Audu, APC Rebirth spokesperson, said that the senator representing Nasarawa West was not deserving of the coveted seat in APC ahead of many other aspirants who have unwavering belief in the ideals of the party and have laboured day and night for its success.

He said, “The lingering and now widespread speculation as to the plan to bring a former member of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the person of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the APC National Chairman in the forthcoming Convention, where loyal, qualified and competent foundation members of the APC are also in the race is not only an aberration but a violation of the established principle of APC which respects long term fidelity to the party and frowns at every vestige of injustice.

“We believe also that Senator Abdullahi Adamu, in his recent assignment as the chairman of the reconciliation committee is a case in hand. Even though he failed grossly in reconciling aggrieved members of our party, particularly from all the states he visited, Senator Adamu failed to accord recognition to the critical mass of young people in the party who are even more aggrieved by the people he consulted during the so-called reconciliation process.

“Additionally, he does not possess the democratic credentials that should be exemplary of a National Chairman in a party like the APC, considering that he was one of the strong proponents of Obasanjo’s third term agenda. If that agenda had succeeded, the beneficiary may be sitting as a lifetime president today, but we wonder if that development would have deepened democracy so much as to have a progressive party like the APC which some interest now want to hand over to Abdullahi Adamu.”

For Nnamani, Audu also said: “While he is known publicly to be a member of the All Progressives Congress, there are several instances where his loyalty to the party has been questioned. Information out there is that he has continued to be a member of APC in the day time and a member of PDP at night, and while this information has not been proven to be true, the APC would be playing safe by refusing to hand over such an important position of Deputy National Chairman to a man whose loyalty once completely lied in the opposition.”