•Members express fears over delegates’ list, court cases
•Party working to address issues from congresses –Ndoma-Egba
John Alechenu and Success Nwogu
Leaders and governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress are poised for a showdown over the control of the party’s structure at the national level, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
It was gathered in Abuja on Saturday that while most of the governors had their way at the ward, local government and state levels, they had planned to take control of the party structure at the federal level to guarantee their return tickets in 2019.
There are also party leaders who are bent on reclaiming the party and setting it on what they call the right path.
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that the party had, at its last National Executive Committee meeting, agreed to retain national party positions in the zones, or where there is an agreement, the states where they were located.
This informed the decision for Edo State to retain the position of the National Chairman of the party, with former state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, as the preferred candidate.
However, this simple agreement is said to be currently under threat as some governors have decided to rock the boat because they are said to be not only interested in retaining positions zoned to their states, they are scheming to take charge of their zones.
A governor of a state in the North-West is said to have sponsored persons to replace: the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu; the National Vice Chairman (North-West), Inuwa Abdulkadir, and the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.
However, these officers are believed to still enjoy the support of their state governors who are interested in retaining these positions and their current occupants.
A different scenario is however playing out for the positions of National Woman Leader and the National Treasurer, positions currently occupied by Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani and Mohammed Gwagwarwa, respectively.
It was gathered that Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, though his powerful Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja, was pushing for a change of guard for the position of the woman leader.
The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, is reported to be uncomfortable with Gwagwagra whose loyalty remains with Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
A source, privy to these intrigues, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said, “A governor from the North-West has been going round trying to convince people that his main aim is to secure control of the party for President Muhammadu Buhari against predators in 2019. However, you and I know that this governor is only interested in feathering his personal political nest.”
The position of National Secretary, currently occupied by Mai Mala Buni from Yobe State, has also become contentious.
It was learnt that a prominent party leader from the South-West is pushing for the emergence of Kashim Imam from Borno State as Buni’s replacement.
However, most governors from the North-East are said to be uncomfortable with this.
The governors from the zone, it was learnt, argued that Imam’s closeness to former factional Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sherrif, could be counterproductive.
A prominent member of the outgoing National Working Committee of the party, who did not agree to speak on record because he was seeking re-election, said the decision to jettison “our gentleman’s agreement is causing unease, but we are also not sleeping.”
The situation is also said to be becoming more complicated as there are allegations that the delegates list might become another bone of contention.
Although the party’s NWC, empowered by the party’s constitution to oversee the congresses which produced delegates for the convention, has concluded its assignment on the delegates’ list, there are fears that the last has yet to be heard about the list.
The NWC inaugurated only executives which emerged from congresses conducted by committees it set up. Some party chiefs, who conducted parallel congresses in their states, are still said to have remained adamant about the authenticity of their executives.
The factional Publicity Secretary of the Kwara State chapter of the APC, said to be loyal to the Minister of Information, Mr. Kayode Oyin-Zubair, announced that three members of the faction had been appointed as members of the organising committee of the national convention slated for June 23.
He gave their names as Alhaji Abdulganiyu Olododo, (member, elections committee); Alhaji Raheem Olawuyi, (member, security committee) and Ayoola Obisesan (member, venue committee).
Oyin-Zubair described the development as a reward for loyalty, steadfastness and respect for party supremacy.
He stated, “It is therefore, an opportunity for them to tell the world that an average Kwaran is dedicated to duty, truthful and accountable.
“This is a pointer to the fact that the journey may be rough but we will surely get to the desired destination. We must remind ourselves that our sacrifice to entrench internal democracy and respect for party supremacy in the state is beginning to yield results.
“We must remind our teeming members and admirers that they should never be swayed by the raging noise – we are very close to the promised land.”
A high-ranking member of the party’s leadership, who also spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardise ongoing peace efforts, said, “The level of desperation of these individuals is laughable. What they are celebrating is an innocent gesture extended to them by the chairman of the convention committee, Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru.
“A party leader from the state personally approached the chairman and pleaded that these three persons, whom he wanted to assist, should be accommodated in the committee.
“This is normal because most party leaders made similar requests and they were obliged. I wish you had the delegates list so that you can cross-check if these people are delegates. This is a non-issue, quite honestly.”
The Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State Governor, Petra Onyebule, said, “We have a candidate for the position of the national woman leader in the person of Salamatu Baira. His Excellency, like every Kogite, is supporting her aspirations. I have an issue with the word ‘sponsor’. We are supporting her because we know she is capable.”
The National Secretary of the convention committee, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, told one of our correspondents that the party was working assiduously to address the issues which emanated from the state congresses.
He said, “We are doing everything to resolve issues arising from the state congresses; we will resolve them before the convention.”