With his words carefully chosen and intention unmistaken, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, pleaded with the 22 governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to allow him choose his successor in reciprocity, ahead of the party’s presidential primaries next week. Buhari made the appeal at a meeting in Abuja with the governors, which was also attended by other stakeholders.
The president said the governors should reciprocate the party’s good gesture of allowing outgoing governors choose their successors in their respective states. He assured that his choice presidential candidate would give Nigerians a sense of triumph and confidence ahead of the general election, and promised to sustain ongoing consultations ahead of the primary election.
But a meeting of the governors immediately after the one with the president was deadlocked as they could not agree amongst themselves, whether the president’s choice should come from the north or the south of the country.
The governors, who had met to see if they could resolve and agree amongst them, where the candidate should come from and if actually, they could recommend from amongst them, were still at their meeting in their early hours of today, when this report was being filed.
Buhari’s request, however, came as the simmering crisis in APC appeared to take another dimension, with members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) accusing the APC national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, of rendering the NWC redundant.
In a related development, Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule cautioned members and supporters of APC against unguarded utterances about the party’s primary elections in the state.
Addressing APC governors, under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), at a closed-door meeting at the State House, Abuja, also attended by Adamu and other stakeholders, the president said his desire to determine his successor was in line with established internal policies of the party, especially, as it approached the convention in a few days.
“I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023,” Buhari said in the two-page address.
He said the party had successfully established internal policies that promoted continuity and smooth succession plans, even at the state and local government levels.
The president, who is also the national leader of the party, emphasised that first-term governors, who had served credibly, had been encouraged to stand for re-election, while “second term governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party.”
He declared that APC’s presidential candidate for the 2023 polls would be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence ahead of the general election.
According to him, “Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of candidate must be someone, who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.”
The president further appealed to the governors “to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens and the global community.”
He assured them that consultation would continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders were brought on board right through to the convention, and anxieties were effectively brought under control.
Buhari charged APC governors to ensure that the forthcoming convention to pick a presidential candidate reflected all the values and virtues of the party.
He stated, “The processes for the 2023 general election have commenced in earnest and I note that the most successful political parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes. Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation.
“As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the party, I recognise the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.
“Such leadership is required so that the party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the centre, hold the great majority in various legislative chambers, and also gain additional number of states.
“In a few days, the party will be holding its convention during which primaries would take place to pick the presidential flag bearer for the 2023 general election. This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership.”
Speaking on behalf of the governors, the Kebbi State governor, and Chairman of PGF, Atiku Bagudu, said the party must build on the success of its recent elective convention, and the primaries conducted so far, “and come up with a candidate, who will walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country, which Mr President has shown. We will support Mr President to have a very successful convention.”
Adamu Has Rendered NWC Redundant, Taken Unilateral Decisions, Say Members
Members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC), yesterday, accused the party’s national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, of rendering the NWC redundant and taking unilateral decisions. They warned that henceforth, any unilateral decision taken by Adamu or any other party functionary, which required the approval of the NWC, as enshrined in the APC constitution, would be considered as illegitimate and an infringement on the jurisdictional scope of the NWC, unless otherwise confirmed as validly approved decisions of the NWC or any other legitimate organ of the party.
The NWC members said no one was elected at the March 26, 2022 national convention to warm seats or offices at the national secretariat.
In a statement titled, “APC and the Need for Vigilance: Urgent Call for Intervention”, and jointly signed by National Vice Chairman, North-west, Dr. Salihu Lukman, and National Vice Chairman, South-west, Mr. Isaacs Kekemeke, the NWC members lamented that within two months in the life of the Adamu-led leadership, critical decisions about the affairs of the party were being taken unilaterally by the chairman.
They expressed worry that all efforts to get the national chairman to respect the authority of the NWC had proved unsuccessful, adding that they are compelled to issue the statement following postponement of the scheduled NWC meetings twice within 48 hours. The party chieftains noted that they were convinced that the rescheduling was a deliberate attempt to foist a fait accompli on the NWC on fundamental issues that affect the party.
The statement said, “Within just two months in the lifespan of the new leadership of our great party, APC, led by His Excellency, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the NWC, organ of the party vested with the power of managing the day-to-day affairs, including implementing decisions of the National Executive Committee (NEC), as provided in Article 13.4 of the APC Constitution, has been rendered redundant.
“The national chairman takes decisions unilaterally. When it suits him, he invokes the name of our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, to blackmail NWC members into accepting his decisions.
“Every effort to get the chairman to respect the authority of the NWC, as elected by the March 26, 2022 APC National Convention, is proving very difficult, if not impossible. Note that NEC’s donation of its powers was to NWC and not to the national chairman or any individual.
“The national chairman must be properly reminded to recognise that the business of managing the day-to-day affairs of the party is the responsibility of the NWC, as provided in provisions of the APC constitution.
“He is free to consult any party leader(s). Such consultations will not represent decisions of the NWC or any organ of the party unless and until it is adopted by a properly constituted meeting of the NWC or organ in question according to the letters and spirit of the APC constitution.
“As a party, we have suffered enough judicial embarrassments arising from clearly avoidable leadership breach of our party’s constitution and spelt out rules. No NWC member is elected at the March 26, 2022 national convention to warm seats or offices in the national secretariat.
“We, therefore, call on all our colleagues in the NWC to rise to these challenging situations by joining hands with us to save our great party and return it to its founding mission of moving Nigeria forward based on honest, fair, just, and selfless commitment to party building. God bless our party!”
Sule to APC Members: Stop Unguarded Utterances on Primaries
Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule, yesterday, cautioned APC members and supporters in the state against making unguarded utterances regarding the party’s primary elections in the state. Sule said this against the backdrop of a negative impression being created in the media by party members who had expressed dissatisfaction with certain sections of the delegates list used for the primaries.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ibrahim Addra, Sule said, “It is important to state that the list of delegates used for the governorship primaries was not tampered with at all and the party’s complaint was not in reference to the state’s delegate list.
“The noticeable changes of concern to the party leadership were only in respect of some wards in seven out of the 13 local government areas of the state. The party leadership at all levels will work together to find an amicable resolution of all issues of concern.”
The governor said the insinuations and propaganda by some individuals that there was a dispute with the national secretariat of the party was unfortunate and far from the truth.
He stated, “It is worthy of reiterating that the primaries in most of the constituencies in the state were adjudged as transparent and peaceful. As a united APC family, we are confident that these minor internal issues will be resolved in no time.
“Party members should, irrespective of the results of the primaries, endeavour to close ranks and work for the unity and success of the party.”
‘APC Convention Shouldn’t Be Another Dollar Rain’
A chieftain of the ruling APC, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, warned that the party had a high responsibility not to allow its presidential primaries and convention to become “another dollar rain and a trading platform for the highest bidder.”
In a statement from his media office in Abuja, yesterday, Olawepo-Hashim explained “that our country is neither a commodity to be traded, nor a property to be auctioned and sold to the highest bidder,” adding, “Nigerian presidency has never been for sale and should not be for sale now.
“The PDP has demonstrated that it has learnt nothing, but as a party, the APC cannot follow her inglorious example. The next president of Nigeria must not be a Mafioso leader. Our president must not be a gangster. As a party in government, the APC has a sacred and patriotic duty to guide a disciplined transfer of power not one left in the hands of the god of mammon.”
As the party of the sitting president, Olawepo-Hashim argued that a lot was expected from APC in terms of direction and leadership, adding that the government still has a lot of leverage and political enforcement mechanisms beyond money.
The former presidential candidate noted, “National interest is what should guide the choice of the APC and some of the urgent national imperative should include shortlisting a candidate that will heal the wounds of division in the country and finding also a vice that will complement him/her in this national objective.”
Dowells: Any Attempt to Zone APC Ticket to North Suicidal
An APC chieftain in Akwa Ibom State and Coordinator, Movement for Better Nigeria (MBN), Dr Paul Dowells, warned against any attempt by the ruling party to zone its presidential ticket to the north. Dowells, at a press conference in Uyo, yesterday, said such decision would seriously imperil the party’s chances at the polls next year.
Speaking against the background of speculations that the leadership of APC was considering a northern presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential race, Dowells stressed that giving the ticket to a northerner was not a yardstick for winning elections. Rather, he said, it was the pedigree and charisma of the person carrying the party’s flag that would determine his acceptance.
Dowells argued that if APC wanted to win the 2023 elections, the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, should be considered.
He said, “Zoning the presidential ticket to the north because PDP has a northerner as a presidential candidate does not make sense. If APC wants to win the 2023 elections, Professor Yemi Osinbajo should be given the ticket either by consensus or nomination, otherwise, retaining the Aso rock may be an illusion.”
Culled from THISDAY