The All Progressives Congress (APC) is enmeshed in the crisis of zoning its National Working Committee (NWC) offices and when to conduct its National Convention.
The National Convention is due for June but the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee is yet to start the processes of the Convention. Earlier this week, a list appeared on some social media sites, stating that the party has zoned the presidency to the South, while the National Chairmanship was zoned to the North.
It went on to share other offices between the South and the North. But the Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator John AkpanUdoedehe, described it as speculation. “People who are interested in running for one office or the other can speculate.
As far as I am concerned, the last Caretaker Committee meeting we had, we did not discuss that. That is not what we are concerned with now. What we are concerned with is data collection; how to collect data without making mistakes.”
However, sources within the party told Sunday Telegraph that the Caretaker Committee was planning to complete the tenure of the sacked NWC, led by the former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The Oshiomhole-led NWC would have ended June 2022 but was terminated in June 2020.
By the APC constitution, the tenure of a Working Committee is four years, as Oshiomhole was voted in as APC National Chairman in 2018. The Caretaker Committee that was constituted in June last year with a mandate to conduct a National Convention, but got an extension of its tenure for another six months in December last year.
But a party source said that the Committee is pushing for another extension that would make them complete the tenure of the sacked NWC next June, 2022. It was learnt that some stakeholders are already planning a showdown, as they claim no National Executive Committee (NEC) was in place to grant an extension of tenure to the Committee.
According to some of them who spoke on the condition of anonymity, since the organs of the party have been dissolved, the party has no more NEC, which is in position to grant extension to the Caretaker Committee.
It would be recalled that the Caretaker Committee in December last year presented a proposal to NEC to dissolve all the organs of the party from the ward to the national levels and constitute caretakers committees in all the states’ party chapters.
The stakeholders said the Caretaker Committee did not envisage that there would be need for them to look for another extension when they proposed for the dissolution of the party organs.
One of them said: “They proposed that all the organs of the party should be dissolved and they got that but now they want extension of tenure. There is no NEC to sit to grant that.”
Also, the Progressive Governors Forum’s Director General, Salihu Lukman, warned against the extension of the tenure of the Caretaker Committee, but called for the conduct of a Convention to usher in new NWC.
Another source also revealed that beyond the conduct of the National Convention, the Caretaker Committee was faced with the crisis of zoning the NWC positions.
According to the source, the Caretaker Committee believed that if the National Chairman was zoned to North-East, a former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, would come with the assistance of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The source said the party leadership does not want Sheriff as its Chairman. Sheriff was Acting National Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and he was removed in a controversial circumstance after the party had a series of crises.
The source also said that the party was constrained by zoning the National Chairman to North Central because of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, who has indicated interest for the Presidential ticket of the party.
According to the source, the North Central might get the Vice Presidential slot of the party if the National Chairmanship was not zoned to the geopolitical zone. However, a group from the zone (North Central) recently asked Bello to drop his Presidential ambition, so that the party could zone the National Chairmanship to the geopolitical zone.
Speaking on the tenure extension for the Caretaker, another chieftain of the APC said that the President should be very careful not to attract a legal battle against the party from members.
According to the source, if the tenure of the Caretaker Committee was extended without NEC, people would go to court to challenge it. The source advised that the APC governors should come in and save the party as the only known body of the party for now.
His words: “Let the Progressive Governors Forum meet and address the crisis that is about to erupt in APC. It would be wrong to extend the tenure of Caretaker Committee without NEC or the Committee on their own decides to extend their tenure.
This would attract a legal battle that might jeopardize the chances of the party in 2023.”