To Save APC From Implosion, Pro-Oyegun Govs Surrender
It became evident last night that the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) billed to hold today would be rancour-free, as state governors elected on the party’s platform who were in favour of the contentious tenure elongation for the party executives may have caved in to superior arguments.
That as at yesterday evening, there was a congruence of opinion among the pro-Oyegun governors that any form of grandstanding and stubborn defense of position at today’s NEC meeting may spell political disaster for the party ahead of the 2019 general election.
To save the governing party from implosion, the APC governors who had hitherto pushed for tenure extension for the party’s leadership at the national and state levels have resolved to throw in the towel for peace to reign.
Speaking with our correspondent last night, a source close to the pro-Oyegun governors said, “They are also considering the fact that President Buhari who is the leader of the party would have foreseen the danger ahead and that must be why he is insisting on the convention to avoid anyone from accusing the party of illegality”.
Corroborating this, Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, also revealed that the governors are united in favour of the elective convention being advocated by the president.
Ganduje said that the earlier decision of NEC, which favoured tenure extension, will be reversed at today’s NEC meeting.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja over the weekend, Governor Ganduje also revealed that today’s NEC meeting is expected to decide on the date and timetable for congresses and the national convention of the party, which will bring in new set of leaders at all levels.
He said, “Yes, there was controversy on this even though yesterday we were able to put it at rest. But let me tell you the issues involved. Those who are advocating for tenure elongation are advocating on the premise that when we hold congresses and convention, according to their own perception, there will be a lot of problems and that problem will linger into election period. Well, that is a perception; it could be that way and it could be that some people wanted to retain power. Therefore that reason is bias.
“However, I don’t belong to that school of thought. The constitution of our party has made a provision for four years and at the end of it we have to hold congresses and convention. The constitution of Nigeria has also provided for that. So, we have no reason whatsoever.
“If you are saying that there would be some problems, problems are part of ingredients of politics. There is no way you can practice democracy in a developing country without having some problems. There must be problems; there must be divergent views and disagreements. There will never be a time that things will be 100% normal. So, even if there is problem, that is part of democracy and we will be able to move forward.
The governor continued: “For those who thought they would be able to continue, we said no and I think Mr President finally hit the nail on the head by saying that he is not in favour of any tenure elongation.
“Tenure elongation is undemocratic, it may lead us to litigation which will not be good for the party and we are happy that we have convinced the few governors that were for the elongation and on Monday we hope to have our NEC meeting where the previous decision will be reversed and by then, timetable will be out for congresses at the ward level, at local government level, at the state level and finally convention at the national level.
“I think that is the situation and I am happy to say that the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum issued a statement; the chairman of the APC governors Forum also issued a statement and the national chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun, made a statement as well to say that all is well.”
APC Non-NWC Members’ Forum Backtracks, Supports PMB On Tenure Extension
Meanwhile, ahead of today’s NEC meeting of the ruling APC, a forum of non-National Working Committee but NEC members of the party have withdrawn their initial support for the controversial tenure extension, which they had endorsed for the party leadership.
The forum had earlier expressed support for the current NWC led by Chief John Oyegun to be given another 12-month tenure extension.
But at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, the spokesman of the forum, Jock Alamba, in company of other members, expressed support for President Buhari’s position on the issue of tenure extension.
The forum, however, called on all APC members and supporters nationwide to disregard “a news headline from one of our national newspapers to the effect that ‘Governors move to stop plot to use chairmen against Buhari.’
Alamba said, “There is no such plot and no chairman is against Buhari; we are all behind Buhari. We share Mr President’s unalloyed commitment to the rule of law and tenets of internal democracy, as well as the firm beacons he is laying to deepen our fledgling democracy.
“He has in different fora, as a convert democrat, demonstrated his commitment to democracy as exemplified in the gubernatorial and senatorial elections, which opposition political parties won in states like Anambra and Rivers under his watch. A stark difference from mid-term and other election results under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 16 years of do or die politics.
“President Buhari’s concern for due process is legendary, that we could not underrate his concern that since the law is an ass, our most likely 2019 presidential and other electoral victories should not be toyed or placed in jeopardy with legal niceties or put in harm’s way of fortune hunters.
The forum further said, “Our position is reaffirmed after a careful survey, which shows that 99% of the entire membership and governors of our great party are in support of Mr President’s second term bid. It is a common position that for the overall interest of our great country that Mr President should complete the critical infrastructural foundations he is laying.
“This means that with all hands on deck, we can avoid the risk of rancourous and conflict-ridden intra-party elections, which made majority of our leaders to clamour for one year elongation of tenure in the eve of 27 February, 2018 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.”
“Accordingly, our forum has the fervent believe that APC like in the 10 December, 2014 presidential primary and other primary elections will work together as a family and disappoint naysayers who are hoping for Armageddon.”