National convention: Ex-PDP members now in charge of APC

Uneasy calm has pervaded the All Progressives Congress (APC), as a vast majority of former members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have taken charge of the leadership of the governing party as members of the National Working Committee (NWC).

The implications may not be obvious just yet, but as the party heads towards party primaries for the 2023 general elections, it could become clearer that all the president’s men have lost out in the future of the party and probably future governments in the states and the federal level.

A unity list released by the party at Eagle Square, venue of the national convention, yesterday showed that apart from the two deputy national chairmen of the party (North and South), former members of the PDP dominated key positions of the party, with former Nasarawa State governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, from North Central and Otunba Iyiola Omisore (Osun) emerging as national chairman and national secretary of the APC.

LEADERSHIP Sunday checks revealed that though party bigwigs, stakeholders and the delegates at the convention were persuaded to abide by the unity list following negotiations at the convention ground yesterday, there are fears among members of the legacy parties that came together to form the APC that former members of the PDP who defected to the governing party will likely to take control of the party after the national convention.

The three opposition political parties that dissolved into the APC were the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) while the two factions came from the the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the n-PDP which pulled out from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Adamu was picked as the party’s consensus candidate in a meeting between President Buhari and governors elected on the platform of the APC at the presidential candidate.

The six other chairmanship aspirants who had vehemently opposed the consensus arrangement eventually stepped down for President Buhari’s candidate, Adamu, on Friday night.

They announced their decision to quit the race yesterday in a letter dated March 25, 2022 and signed by one of them and minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume.

The letter of withdrawal from the race which is addressed to chairman the APC election sub-committee of the national secretariat had the names of chairmanship aspirants, including Senator Tanko Al-Makura, Akume, Abdulaziz Yari, Senator Sani Musa Muhammed, Etsu Muhammed and Turaki Salihu Mustapha.

The letter reads: “May I kindly refer to the appeal by Mr. President for the chairmanship aspirants of our great party to agree to a consensus arrangement wherein our colleague, H.E., Sen. Abdullahi Adamu is made our consensus candidate for the chairmanship position and forward letters of withdrawal from the under listed aspirants to wit: Senator Tanko Al-Makura, Akume, Abdulaziz Yari, Senator Sani Musa Muhammed, Etsu Muhammed and Turaki Salilu Mustapha.”

The other consensus candidates in the unity list were declared elected through voice votes last night at the convention ground.

Chairman of the election sub-committee of the convention and Jigawa State governor Abubakar Badaru, who read out the unity list, asked the delegates to declare yeah or nay for the candidates.

Other former PDP members who clinched key positions in the party’s new NWC are Barr Festus Fuanter (Plateau State), deputy national secretary; Muazu Bawa Rijau Niger State, national vice chairman (North-Central); Mustapha Salihu (Adamawa State), national vice chairman (North East); Barr Ahmed El-Marzuk (Katsina State), national legal adviser; Uguru Matthew Ofoka (Ebonyi State), national treasurer; Senator Abubakar Maikafi (Bauchi State), national auditor, Dr Betta Edu (Cross River), national women leader; Barr F.N. Nwosu (Abia State), national welfare secretary, and Nze Chidi Duru (Anambra State), deputy national organizing secretary.

The two offices of the deputy national chairmen (North and South) are occupied by members of the party form the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Senator Abubakar Kyari and Chief Emma Enaukwu respectively.

The National Unity List was signed by APC Governors and leaders, while zonal lists were signed by governors from the respective zones.

The APC constitution was also ratified at the national convention of the party yesterday.

As a result of the delay in getting the delegates to agree with unity list, President Buhari did not arrive at the venue of national convention of the APC until 8:25pm, hence stalling the formal commencement of the event.

The president, according to the programme of events for the convention, was supposed to arrive at the Eagle Square venue of the convention by 3pm.

There was no formal explanation on why the president had not arrived at the venue.

Earlier, there was pandemonium at the entrance gate. Delegates, journalists and other guests were teargased by security operatives as they tried to gain entrance into the venue.

PMB Warns New NWC Members Against Imposition Of Candidates, Moneybags

Speaking at the convention, President Buhari warned the new members of APC NWC to beware of imposition of candidates and moneybags who would want to influence the party.

He enjoined the new NWC members to promote internal democracy and equal opportunities and ensure that party primaries are not influenced by “highest bidders” going into the 2023 elections.

He urged party members to remain united and strong and also support the incoming leadership of the party.

Speaking at the venue of the national convention of the party, the president said: “This Convention is coming at a crucial time when we prepare for another round of a general election. Therefore, the need to remain strong and united for the Party to exploit the rich and abundant potentials at its disposal cannot be overemphasized. We appreciate the right to hold different opinions and aspirations; however, such differences must not be to the detriment of the Party.

“l passionately appeal to you all to support the incoming National Working Committee (NWC) to promote unity and avoid sentiments that are capable of causing disaffection and disunity. For those aspiring for party and public offices, your failure to realize such aspirations for Party offices or to fly the party’s flag should not be a basis for a campaign of calumny against the party. We should have the spirit of sportsmanship and always support the party to succeed.”

He commended the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee for steering the ship of the party this far including; reconciling aggrieved party members, purchasing a new party secretariat and launching an aggressive membership drive that saw three governors defecting into the APC, among others.

“I want to congratulate us all for being part of this history-making event and to specially appreciate the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) which has been on a rescue mission under the leadership of His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, the Yobe State Governor, for successfully piloting the affairs of the Party in the last 18 months and organizing this Convention to elect a new National Working Committee that will take over from the Caretaker Committee.

“I am glad the Party under the Caretaker Committee has bounced back to life with the reconciliation of several key and critical stakeholders and groups who had hitherto left the party or were on the verge of leaving the Party. The reconciliation process gave the aggrieved stakeholders a true sense of belonging and assurance.

“It is gratifying that the Party recorded massive and unprecedented defections under the Caretaker Committee administration. APC received three sitting Governors, a Deputy Governor, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and State Assemblies, and other key officials from opposition parties who defected along with millions of their supporters.

“I am impressed to learn that the membership registration and revalidation exercise undertaken by the Caretaker Committee, has recorded over 41 million members. This has proved that we are indeed Nigeria’s leading and largest political party. It also exhibits our numerical strength and the potential to win elections at all given times fairly and squarely.”

The president, who gave reasons for his recent intervention in the affairs of the party, assured that it was not intended to muzzle dissenting voices.

“Recently, l had cause to intervene in the leadership crisis which was about to cause confusion in the Party. Such internal disputes are common in young democracies such as ours, but we must avoid overheating the polity and not allow our differences to tear and frustrate the Party.

“Like I said earlier, it does not do anybody or the Party any good, when we, as leaders, go down so low and resort to backstabbing and name-calling in the media.

“We should learn how to resolve our differences without jeopardizing our personal relationships and the fate of the Party. I want to thank the Progressives Governors’ Forum for heeding to my advice and suggestions in settling the leadership dispute,” the President said.

President Buhari called on all politicians and the electorate to abide by the new Electoral Act “to promote the process of election, enhance transparency, fill in existing gaps and add value to Nigeria’s democracy for our democracy to thrive.”

APC has made statement, says Lawan

On his part, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said for successfully conducting its convention, the APC has made a statement ahead of the 2023 general election.

Speaking at the convention venue, Lawan said many people had thought the party would never hold a convention, adding that people said the party would disintegrate.

“APC has made a statement today. We have done well and we will continue to do good to Nigerians. They said the convention will never hold; it held,” Lawan said.

According to Lawan, the convention was a convention of unity since many offices were fielded by consensus.

“This is a night of unity. This unity is exemplified. As the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum said, almost all aspirants have agreed through consensus. That is why I said it is a night of unity.

“Our caretaker committee has done well and deserves commendation. They have achieved so much and today, we are achieving the climax of this convention and we have ushered in new leadership of the party.

“We have been together for over seven years as a party and as an administration. We can compare our achievements with any other party in the world. PDP did not achieve what we have achieved in seven years,” Lawan said.

APC going through rebirth – Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, said the APC and the country was going through a rebirth.

He however charged the party not to forget the ideals of the founding fathers of the party.

Gbajabiamila who stated this during the national convention added that the party has traveled a hard road to arrive at the convention.

“I believe that for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, our best days are ahead of us. Our party, like our country, is going through a process of rebirth. We have the power and opportunity to build a political party that can stand the test of time and lead our country to a future of abiding peace and universal prosperity. We have answered that call and must now work together to make ourselves worthy, and by so doing, write our names, each and together, in the good book of history for all generations to come. “

He congratulated the party for overcoming its recent leadership crisis, adding that the convention shows the sacrifice of party members to remain united.

He said the House of Representatives under his watch has passed impactful laws.

“We tend to revisits the issue of women gender law because “Our is a party of inclusion “

They have to write their names in the good books of history for years to come

He congratulated the President Buhari, the party leadership and founding fathers of the party for toiling day and night to make the party a reality.

With 41m members, APC will remain in power – Buni

The outgoing chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mai Mala Buni, said with a 41 million membership base, APC will remain in power beyond 2023.

Buni stated this while giving his speech as the interim chairman of the party at the Eagle Square venue of the 2022 APC national convention ongoing in Abuja on Saturday.

According to Buni, his leadership helped in rescuing the party from collapse and improved its fortune.

“We have collectively rescued the party and improved its fortune. President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership style helped in building the party.

“We are also grateful for the support of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, National Executive Committee (NEC), the Governors and the National Assembly caucus. We enjoyed tremendous support from other party men,” Buni said.

According to the Yobe State governor, some of his achievements included visits to critical stakeholders that were in crisis, adding that it helped in resolving the crisis without some media publicity.

He added that for every extension of time for the committee, they brought new things to the party including registration and revalidation of party membership, which helped members to register as legitimate members.


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