Barely two months after the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was elected into office, a fresh crisis may tear the committee apart over Adamu’s leadership style, THISDAY has learnt.
This is coming as President Muhammadu Buhari may unveil the consensus presidential candidate of the party this week, just as indications that former President Goodluck Jonathan may emerge as the president’s preferred candidate have unsettled the other presidential aspirants of the ruling party.
As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) concludes its presidential primary today in Abuja, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has restated its opposition to zoning the presidency to the North. Indications of the looming crack in APC’s NWC emerged following a letter by the party’s National Vice Chairman, North-west, Salihu Mohammed Lukman to the National Chairman, Adamu, which THISDAY sighted in Abuja yesterday.
In the letter dated May 27, 2022, titled: ‘Rebuilding APC: Need for new Initiatives,’ the former Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) stressed the need to take every measure to avoid past pitfalls.
In the letter, Lukman alleged that the new NWC under Adamu is gradually toeing the old path of the leadership style of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Hon. Mai Mala Buni where decisions were left unimplemented and NWC members not carried along.
“Under your leadership, the current NWC is gradually snowballing into similar circumstances whereby decisions taken are allowed to lay bare and, in some instances, changed without necessarily taking needed steps to carry members along,” he wrote.
Lukman also frowned at what he described as the old approach of dropping President Muhammadu Buhari’s name as the sole determinant of crucial activities in the party.
He argued that the approach was not only unfair to the president but an attempt to use his name to give excuses for failure.
“Presidential aspirants are yet to be screened. The official explanation is that you are awaiting final consultation with President Buhari. At the risk of sounding agitated, this is unfair to President Buhari because to the best of my understanding it is an attempt to use the president’s name to give excuses for failure, if it happens, which should not be the case.”
The three-page letter read: “It is now two months since we came into office and you have so far raised a lot of expectations given that some of the problems, which undermined the support base of previous leadership, would appear to have been minimised.
“For instance, meetings of the NWC are now held almost every week. Members participate actively and where necessary engage and contest issues. It is to your credit that you accept the positions of members even when you disagree. This is a remarkable departure from what was obtained in the past where the National Chairman conduct meetings of party organs as Chief Executive and to that extent, therefore, exercises prerogatives and overrules members.
“The big challenge is ensuring that decisions taken are faithfully and implemented,” Lukman said.
According to him, the inability of the party under Oshiomhole and Buni to implement decisions taken was partly responsible for the leadership crisis that confronted the party.
He advised Adamu to avoid taking unilateral decisions, describing the setting up of the transition committee to take stock of what the NWC inherited as a singular initiative.
“The report of the committee was, to say the least very shocking. Apart from the fact that there were more than 200 employees in the party’s National Secretariat, most of whom without valid letters of employment, there were no standardised conditions of service. Statutory requirements for taxations, pensions and insurance benefits as provided by relevant labour laws are not being respected. There were claims by legal firms about liability owed for legal cases handled without valid contracts.
“All these were partly responsible for why many of the party’s bank accounts were blocked by subsisting court judgments, most of which copies are not available at the National Secretariat, which with your guidance the Party’s Legal Department can resolve,” Lukman explained.
“At the rate, we are going, we are walking back to the old spot of over-centralised implementation of party decisions around the national chairman.
“Your Excellency, I wanted to meet you to discuss these matters. Unfortunately, it has proved difficult, and I feel very strongly about these matters,” Lukman added.
Buhari May Unveil Consensus Presidential Candidate This Week
Meanwhile, indications have emerged that Buhari will meet with all APC presidential aspirants this week to inform them of the consensus arrangement ahead of the party’s primary election.
A presidency source who did not want to be named told THISDAY that the aspirants would be informed individually that the ruling party would adopt a consensus arrangement that would produce a consensus candidate for the party in the 2023 election.
“APC will not do what PDP is doing today. There won’t be all of those delegate elections and all that. But the delegates will come. Just that it is going to be a consensus and all that.
“They (aspirants) have been informed. Once the president is back in the country, he will have a meeting with all the presidential aspirants,” the source explained.
Jonathan Option Unsettles Other APC Presidential Aspirants
Meanwhile, the alleged plan to adopt former President Jonathan as APC’s consensus presidential candidate at the June 6 -8 presidential primary has continued to unsettle other presidential aspirants.
THISDAY gathered that the postponement of the primary election from May 29-30 to the new dates has heightened anxiety among the aspirants over the alleged plan to adopt Jonathan as the candidate of the party.
Though the former president has neither confirmed nor denied his intention to contest for president on the platform of APC in 2023, a strong indication had emerged that he submitted his form to the National Chairman of the party, Senator Adamu.
Jonathan’s chances to be on the ballot in 2023 brightened after a Federal High Court in Bayelsa State on Friday ruled that he is eligible to contest the 2023 presidential election.
Reacting to the alleged plan to adopt Jonathan, a presidential aspirant and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, had while featuring on The Good Morning Show on ARISE News Channel, said he was not aware that the former president is a member of the ruling party.
On its part, Tinubu Support Group (TSG) said a national leader of the party and a frontline presidential aspirant, Senator Bola Tinubu was ready to contest with any aspirant at the party’s primary.
The Head of Media of the group, Mr Tosin Adeyanju told THISDAY that all they are demanding is a free, fair and transparent primary election.
He stated: “We wait and see. As of now, he is not a member of our party and we will deal with such issues when it arises. Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu is a democrat and ready to face any aspirant at the primaries. All we want is a transparent process and let the popular person win which is the hallmark of democracy,” he said.
“Our eyes are on the ball and we keep counting our numbers. The extension will further help us to reach out to more delegates in southern parts of Nigeria during the week. We are confident of victory “.
Also, reacting, the Osinbajo Support Group told THISDAY that foisting Jonathan on others as a consensus candidate would be a huge risk and it might be the end of APC.
The Spokesperson of the group, Badmus Olawale insisted that the former president would not make the screening process.
He noted: “I am not worried in any way. Jonathan will not make the screening process of the APC. We cannot afford to take the path of technical risk that can jeopardise the victory of the APC 2023 presidential elections.
“The law is clear that a person cannot take the oath of office of the President of Nigeria more than twice.”
Olawale noted that despite the court ruling in favour of Jonathan, the ruling party would be at risk until the Supreme Court decides.
The Director of Media, Governor Yahaya Bello Campaign Organisation, Ms Yemi Kolapo, however, told THISDAY that the alleged plan was mere speculation.
“I don’t know anything about this. People are just speculating wildly. Those driving the affairs of APC are men of integrity and their sound experience is not in doubt. At any point in time, they would not do anything against the interest of the party,” she explained.
Zoning Presidency to North Unacceptable, Clark, Adebanjo, Other Leaders Insist
In a related development, the SMBLF yesterday restated its opposition to the zoning of the presidency to the North by any political party and urged the delegates to cast their votes for only credible aspirants from the South.
The leaders warned that the unity and peace of Nigeria could be jeopardised if the consent of the delegates to the unwarrantable determinations were being paraded.
The leaders in a statement signed by Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark; Afenifere Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; President-General of Middle Belt Forum, Dr Pogu Bitrus and President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador George Obiozor, further warned that it would be unacceptable for the major political parties in the country to choose candidates from the North as flag bearers for the 2023 presidency.
This, they said, is given the fact that the northern part of the country would have fully enjoyed the Presidency of the country for the full statutory period of eight years by 2023, under President Buhari.
They argued that the next President of Nigeria should come from the South, particularly the South-east.
The SMBLF cautioned all persons from Southern Nigeria not to accept, on any justification, the position of Vice President, adding that this will be a dishonourable legacy for them and generations after them.
SMBLF added that it would also be tantamount to slavishly mortgaging the political future of the people of Southern Nigeria.
“It bears reminding the political class that the basis of any viable democracy, especially in a diverse and complex country such as Nigeria, is fair and even sharing of power, accordingly, we restate our call on all lovers of peace and equity in Nigeria, particularly our people of Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt region, to reject any political party that fails to zone its presidential ticket to the South,” SMBLF explained.
Culled from THISDAY