Governors elected on the platform of Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, met Sunday night and resolved that the party’s convention must hold in February.
The APC has been unable to hold a convention and elect new national leaders since its former leadership, led by Adams Oshiomhole, was sacked in 2020. The party has since been led by an interim management committee led by the Yobe State Governor, Mala Buni.
At their meeting Sunday, the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), an umbrella body of APC governors gave assurance that the party’s national convention will hold in February.
Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and Chairman of the PGF gave the assurance while speaking with journalists at the end of a closed-door meeting on Sunday night in Abuja.
Mr Bagudu, who did not give a specific date for the event, said the February date as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari was sacrosanct and still feasible for the conduct of the event.
He added that the APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), as an organ of the party, was in the best position to announce the specific date for the convention.
“We are one group of stakeholders in the party and our party respects institutions. The appropriate organ of the party that will announce a date for the national convention is the CECPC,” he said.
Mr Bagudu said the meeting passed a vote of confidence on the Buni-led CECPC and two other governors, Governor Muhammed Bello of Niger and Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun.
He noted that the governors had done an incredible job of running the party successfully and had mobilised people into the party fold, saying that the PGF was very happy with their conduct.
“We discussed our upcoming convention which you may recall I had cause to address the press after we visited President Buhari in November 2021 where the president and the party agreed that the convention would take place in February.
“We took inputs about the reviews and we noted all the misrepresentations in the press that we seek to correct that the PGF is one united body as you can see evidently from the attendance,” Mr Bagudu said.
He explained that the forum’s decision was unanimous, adding that it was united behind the president and the party’s caretaker committee.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that there has been immense pressure on the APC Buni-led CECPC to fix a specific date for the party’s national convention following Mr Buhari’s approval that the event be held in February.
Some of the party’s critical stakeholders had in the last few weeks engaged the caretaker committee over the delay to announce the venue and exact date for the convention.
Salihu Lukman, the PGF director-general, recently called on members of the committee to resign their positions if they would not be able to conduct the party’s national convention in February.
New members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) are expected to be elected at the convention to manage its affairs which are currently being managed by the CECPC.
Those in attendance at the meeting included the governor of Borno, Babagana Zulum; Jigawa, Mohammad Abubakar; Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu; Niger, Abubakar Bello; Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai; Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi; and Kogi, Yahaya Bello.
Others were the governors of Cross River, Ogun, Zamfara, Ebonyi, Osun, Lagos State, Imo, Plateau, Kano State and Nasarawa.
Significance of Convention
The APC convention is significant for the party and Nigeria as those elected at the convention will largely determine the direction the party will go in the 2023 general election.
The party has been in one form of crisis or the other since it assumed power in 2015, defeating the then incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP.
However, with President Muhammadu Buhari concluding his second term in office, the party now has to choose a different presidential candidate, a factor that is believed to be at the heart of the party’s inability to hold its convention.