By Ezeocha Nzeh
Ahead of the search for a new national chairman of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) some South South stakeholders of the party have warned that any attempt by the party’s leadership to take the national chairmanship slot away from the zone will cause more crisis in the party ahead of the 2023 presidential elections
The APC NEC recently sacked the Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee, after series of crisis and litigation that rocked it. It also put in place a Caretaker committee, headed by Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, with a six months mandate to conduct an Extra Ordinary Convention to elect new NWC members
Party sources told The AUTHORITY at the weekend that intense politicking has begun over the successor of the sacked NWC national chairman, with groups lobbying for a fresh four year term for the incoming NWC members that would lead them into conducting the party’s next primary elections for the 2023 polls
It was further gathered that while the serving APC Governors have begun the search for a candidate who would protect their interest ahead of their 2023 political ambitions, othe leaders of the party may have commenced lobbying for a chairman from either the South East of North East, to pave the clear for their presidential ambitions in 2023.’
The APC constitution mandate NWC members to serve for a period of four years renewable term. With that provision the South South which produced the national chairman for two terms, with former Edo state Governors John Odigie – Oyegun and Adams Oshiomhole are yet to complete its second term, following the sacking of the Oshiomhole led NWC which still has two years to complete its four years term,
The Oshiomhole led NWC was elected at the party’s National Convention in June 2018.
The AUTHORITY gathered that both the APC governors and party leaders have commenced the lobbying of President Muhammadu Buhari to approve a fresh four year term for the incoming NWC
But former governor of Cross River State, Clement Ebri has
warned members of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee not to go beyond the scope of their assignments.
Ebri noted in a telephone chat that APC was already in a hole as some decisions of the Committee might amount to digging the party deep into more crisis.
Ebri, while speaking on the alleged Presidential ambition of some FEC members said such ambitions were distractions to President Buhari and his administration, stressing that it is too early in the day for any cabinet member to be nursing or working for his or her Presidential or vice Presidential ambition, while he is a member of the Federal Executive Cabinet.
He advised that any cabinet member so desirous to pursue such ambition should be asked by the President to quit the cabinet.
Speaking, he said, “the President should try as much as possible to get members of his cabinet to shun politics of 2023 at least for the interest of the polity and any of them who openly gets involved, he should not hesitate to ease the person out because it is too early in the day. They should all join hands to build the nation and get us out of the present situation. The amount of time they would be wasting on politicking on their ambition should be channelled into governance. That should be an admonition to all of them.”
The former governor warned that rezoning the National Working Committee positions or dissolving any of the existing party structures were not part of the terms of reference to the Committee.
On the caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Committee, he said, “it is like they are planning it in a way that NWC members who will be coming in would do four years mandate, instead of completing the remaining two years of the dissolved NWC.
“They should leave the current zoning the way it is and allow the zones to complete their tenures. In 2022, we will have a proper convention with the zoning that would take another 4 years. For somebody to come out and say they would look at 2023 from this time around and start a fresh four year tenure for NWC members is unacceptable.
“The implications of this is that all the officers of the party who are not NWC members would be dissolved. They have a four year tenure and they are still there. So, what would be their fate if you say you are going to rezone and turn it into 4 years.
“We are already in a hole, we should stop digging but reconcile as much as possible. Reconciliation cannot be 100% but as long as you make some progress, just as they have started by reaching out to some persons. They should continue by going to some states and try as much as they can to bring healing to the party. Not to go now and start dissolving structures because a lot of people are waiting to bring in their people and when this happens it would be another crisis and it is bound to distract them and it would erode on the objectives in which they were set up. So, they should concentrate on conducting a Convention that would complete the tenure of the dissolved NWC members.”
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the caretaker Committee, Yekini Nabena has described the purported zoning arrangement for the planned National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as fake.
Nabena in a recent statement called on party members, supporters, stakeholders to disregard the fake news, adding that the meeting of committee did not discuss any zoning arrangement.
‘The inaugural meeting of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CEONCPC) which held at the APC National Secretariat on Monday did not discuss or issue the fake zoning arrangement for the planned National Convention.
“The meeting only unanimously adopted a six-point working document aimed at repositioning the party.
“If and when a zoning arrangement is made for the planned National Convention, it will be officially communicated and publicised,” he stated