• ‘Efforts to reconcile aggrieved chieftains inconclusive’
• We will carefully study interim report of committee, Nnamani assures
Doubts that the proposed national convention of governing All Progressives Congress (APC) would hold on February 26 as earlier scheduled were, yesterday, raised by the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led Reconciliation Committee, which sought for an extension of time.
Chairman of the nine-man committee, Adamu, said it was left for the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to determine whether to adhere to the committee’s recommendations or not before going ahead with the convention.
Speaking with reporters after submitting his committee’s interim report, Senator Adamu, who is also a former governor of Nasarawa State, disclosed that more work needs to be done to reconcile aggrieved party faithful across the country. He said the committee has requested for an additional week to explore avenues of achieving total reconciliation of aggrieved members, stressing that they are able to consider no fewer than 47 petitions filed by aggrieved party faithful from various parts of the country.
Adamu, however, said the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee of the party is at liberty to decide whether to adhere to the recommendation of his committee or not before the conduct of the national convention billed to hold February 26.
According to him: “Reconciliation is a work in progress. Until we get the final report from the national secretariat, we cannot say it is successful. We cannot declare our own work successful. We will be more deceitful if we do so. For us, we can say our work is inconclusive.
“As of today, we still have petitions coming in. People are still trooping in to come and see us. And we cannot in all fairness stop them. Nobody can pronounce with certitude on political conflicts that are based on ego, in some cases, perception. None of us have control over that.”
In his response after receiving the interim report, a member of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Senator Ken Nnamani, who stood in for the chairman, Mai Mala Buni, expressed gratitude to Adamu and his committee, stressing that the committee’s findings will contribute in no small measure to ensure a successful convention and the general election.
He gave the assurance that the CECPC will carefully study the report and ensure it is faithfully implemented to improve the unity and strength of the party. He further disclosed that the party now has over 41 million registered members, making it “Africa’s largest party.”
He said: “As you are aware, the party conducted a successful membership registration and revalidation exercise and now proudly has over 41 million membership making APC Africa’s largest political party and Nigeria’s leading party. With this numerical strength, APC remains the party that can confidently win elections with a landslide victory in all the national elections.”
Members of the reconciliation committee, who accompanied Adamu to the APC secretariat, include Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo, who served as secretary; former Benue State governor, Senator George Akume; former Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime; former Jigawa State governor, Ali Sa’ad Birnin Kudu; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Suleiman Argungu; former deputy governor of Lagos State, Dr Oluranti Adebule and Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr Beta Edu.
HOWEVER, a chieftain of the party, who spoke to The Guardian on the development, said the committee’s demand for extension falls in with plans by some entrenched forces in the CECPC to abort the February 26 date for the convention.
Pleading not to be identified, the source stated: “You can now see why the Director General of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, was asked to go? He blew the whistle on this apparent plot to keep postponing the convention until we are forced to combine it with the Presidential primary.
“Those who thought Orji Kalu’s letter was not a subterfuge would now see that all these things are well planned to achieve a set agenda. Now, the CECPC would have to meet to consider the application for extension of time for the reconciliation committee. By the time the request is granted, we are already in the middle of February.”
He lamented that the committee’s report was not made public, stressing that it would not be surprising if the committee advised against the holding of the convention based on the nature of grievances from petitioners.
Recall that the party had last week announced a schedule of activities in the run up to the convention, which began with the submission of the reconciliation committee report yesterday, followed by consideration and adoption of reports of state congresses on February 2, and inauguration of the state executives on February 3.
The inauguration of the state executives became imperative due to the fact that delegates to the national convention would be nominated from state chapters of the party.
Sales of forms to all aspirants vying for national offices will commence on February 14, while submission of completed forms and accompanying documents at party secretariat holds on or before February 19. Publication of sub-committees is scheduled for February 19, while screening of all aspirants vying for national offices holds between February 20 and 22.
Screening appeals, to hear and resolve complaints arising from the screening exercise, is slated for February 23, while accreditation of all statutory and elected delegates to the national convention is scheduled for February 24 and 25.
But with the request for one week extension by the reconciliation committee, the schedule of other activities may be affected should the CECPC accede to the committee’s demand, leading to unease over speculations that Buni may not relinquish control of the party anytime soon.
Buni, former national secretary of the party, took over the helm of affairs of the APC after the National Working Committee (NWC), led by Adams Oshiomhole, was dissolved in June 2020.
APC’s National Executive Committee (NEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, appointed Buni’s committee to plan a convention as “soon as possible” but nearly two years after Oshiomhole was sent packing, the party still does not have a substantive NWC.
According to a former national officer, the CECPC chairman is only pursuing the composition of a zoning committee, which is just one of the several panels that need to be in place before the convention is held.
“If he announces only the zoning committee, which he is likely to do this week, it will only cause more confusion as all committees are supposed to be named and pre-convention work is supposed to start immediately.
“Buni is definitely up to something — he wants to inaugurate the state executives this week and we are hearing he wants them to use a voice vote to say he should continue in office. This will only create more friction and confusion.”