Worried by the lingering crisis in the governing party, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met behind closed doors with governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to map out plans to tackle the situation.
The meeting which held at the presidential villa is coming barely 24 hours after the president met with the Senate president, Ahmed Lawan, on the rancour in the party.
The buildup to the APC governorship primary election in Edo State had ignited a leadership crisis culminating in a battle for the national leadership of the party after the affirmation of the suspension of the party’s national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, by the Court of Appeal.
The crisis also led to the defection of Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting with the president yesterday, chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, said they presented the position of the APC governors to the president on ways to resolve the crisis.
Bagudu who was accompanied to the meeting by his counterparts from Jigawa and Plateau States, Abubakar Badaru and Simon Lalong, hinted that a national executive committee (NEC) would be convened to resolve the crisis in the party.
He said, “The reason for our visit is to discuss with him (president) as our party leader, and as the leader that millions of Nigerians trust to discuss party issues and the position of the progressive governors to support all steps to unify and bring about peaceful resolution in our party, the APC.
“Mr President listened attentively and discussed with us as a father and as a party leader, and he gave us all the assurance we needed to know that resolution of contentious issues will soon be arrived at”.
Bagudu also gave insight into why the president does not constantly intervene in party affairs, noting that political parties are not perfect assemblies devoid of issues.
He stated: “At all times, Mr President has shown that he is a democrat, he is not running the party. Yes, he is the party leader, he allows party organs to do and decide what should be done.
“He is very hesitant to use his standing even as party leader, talk less of his authority as resident of the country to direct things, but at all times, he has been alive to the issues”.
On the removal and replacement of the party’s deputy national secretary, Victor Giadom and the protest at the party’s headquarters yesterday, the Kebbi governor said people should be allowed to express dissenting views.
Noting that APC is a party that believes in dialogue, he added that “contentious issues arise when you are dialoguing and we will recall that because of the sanctity which President Buhari attaches to constitutionalism.”