*Buni NWC cannot restructure Party – APC Chieftain
*We’re not in a hurry to conduct Nat Convention –Udoedehe
*State Chairmen divided over tenure elongation
By Ezeocha Nzeh
Fresh crisis could be looming within the ranks of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) following rumours of a second tenure elongation plot by the Mai Mala Buni-led National Caretaker and Extra Ordinary Convention Planning Committee
The caretaker committee which was inaugurated in June 2020 at the party’s emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting was given a six months mandate to conduct an elective National Congress that would usher in new NWC members for the party. It was at the same meeting that the NWC leadership of former Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole was formally sacked.
The committee however had its tenure extended for another six months, ending in June for it to complete its activities and hand over to a new NWC.
Party stakeholders have however raised concerns and fears, alleging underground plots by the Committee to secure another six months elongation.
Some of the stakeholders who spoke to The AUTHORIY accused the Buni-led Committee of trickily carrying out projects which are not within the Committee’s schedule with the intent to buy more time and secure the members sympathy for another tenure extension.
The Committee has upon its inauguration commenced the process of reconciling aggrieved members with committees set up to actualize that.
It also commenced a huge project of membership revalidation and registration exercise which was extended for the second time on Thursday. Another was setting up a 61-man Contact and Strategy committee for the APC which was recently inaugurated with Jigawa state governor, Abubakar Badaru as chairman. There is also the Constitution Review Committee which has Professor Tahir Mamman as its chairman.
The stakeholders, who pleaded for anonymity, accused the Caretaker Committee of carrying so many projects at the same time, despite the fact that they were no part of the mandate, just to lobby for another tenure elongation.
“All these are projects that are not supposed to be handled a by a caretaker committee of a party. They are not within the schedule of the Committee; their major task was simply to hold the party together and organize a national convention that would usher in a new National Working Committee (NWC).
“Much as we can argue that the setting up of the caretaker committee was illegal as it was against the party’s constitution, we allowed them to be because of the crisis situation the party found itself then, (and) also because that was the position of our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari who intervene to save the APC from collapsing in the hands of Adams Oshiomhole. We are not surprised that the committee has given itself more powers than they got from our party’s NEC.
“What our party needs now is an elected National Working Committee (NWC) because caretaker committee cannot restructure party. The continued stay in office of the caretaker committee will spell more doom for the party ahead of the upcoming elections,” a ranking member of the party warned.
However, the chairman of the newly constituted All Progressives Congress (APC) Contact/Strategic committee, Governor Abubakar Badaru, had at the inauguration of his committee said that the June date fixed to conduct the party’s National Convention was still feasible.
Speaking on the sideline after the inauguration of the Committee, the Jigawa State Governor, assured that his committee will do their best to increase the party base and contacts.
Badaru, who was responding to questions over the rumoured tenure elongation plot as against the June date for national convention, said “It is very feasible. I know the national Caretaker Committee (members) are committed to delivering in June. And we will support them and do whatever it takes to make sure we deliver by June.”
But in a swift reaction to Governor Badaru’s claims, national secretary of the caretaker Committee, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe ruled out the possibilities of conducting an APC national convention in June
Udoedehe argued that the Committee was too busy for now with projects and may therefore not meet up with the June proposal for a national convention.
The National Secretary, who noted that the party is not in a hurry to hold the national convention, argued that rushing into its congresses could lead to a repeat of past mistakes and fuel fresh litigations and factionalisation which he noted is what the committee is guarding against.
While insisting that the committee is determined to meet its dateline, Udoedehe argued that it would not be proper for it to release the timetable for the party’s congresses as expected in some quarters until the nationwide registration and revalidation of members are concluded.
State Chairmen reject another tenure elongation: demand for National Convention
Meanwhile the Forum of APC State Chairmen, who were recently converted in caretaker committee at the states, following the dissolution of all organs of the party by the NEC has demanded an immediate conduct of the party’s congresses to pave the way for the national convention to usher in a new National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
The party chairmen, who spoke through their chairman, Hon. Ali Dalori, of Borno state, during a press conference in Abuja insisted that the caretaker committee must abide by the mandate of NEC to hold the national convention in June, after the conclusion of the membership revalidation and registration.
Dalori said: “Thus, after the conduct and conclusion of membership registration/revalidation exercise, we urgently call for the immediate conduct of congresses and convening of the national convention; and to allow for the completion of all other tasks assigned to the committee by NEC within the time frame.”
Dalori, who expressed his groups satisfaction with the ongoing revalidation and registration exercise stated that the ruling party had witnessed tremendous turnout of Nigerians and a massive increase in the party’s numerical strength in the last few months, adding that members have seen the need for an extension to accommodate the second stage of the exercise in view of the mass turnout of Nigerians.
The exercise, which started on February 9 was scheduled to terminate on March 31, 2021, before it was extended for the second time for additional three weeks.
The latest extension is the second time the national leadership of the party would be extending the exercise.