The Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has announced the indefinite postponement of the party’s national convention early planned for October this year.
In a letter dated July 6, 2021 to the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, with referenced number APC/NHDQ/19/021/39, the CECPC informed the commission of its intention to postpone the convention.
The letter, which was jointly signed by CECPC chairman, Mai Mala Buni and Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, stated: “We refer to our letter reference number APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/021/20 dated 10th June, 2020 on the above subject and wish to inform the commission that the party has rescheduled its congresses and national convention to a later date, which will be communicated to you.
“This serves as a final notification pursuant to the provision of Section 85 of the Electoral Act (2010) as amended.”
Although the APC leadership did not disclose reasons behind the indefinite postponement, The Guardian gathered that certain contentious issues, particularly zoning of national offices and the 2023 presidential ticket of the party were behind the move.
The postponement comes against the background of apprehensions within the CECPC that controversies over the zoning of the APC presidential slot for the 2023 general elections could plunge the party into fresh crisis.
It would be recalled that during the recent multi-party 17 Southern Governors’ meeting in Lagos State, the state governors resolved that the 2023 presidential slot should be zoned to the South for fairness and equity.
But, sources within APC disclosed that the Southern Governors’ stance exacerbated the zoning controversy, with some of the Northern governors alleging that the pronouncement amounts to be a clear blackmail against the party leadership.
However, a chieftain of APC, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, rebuffed insinuations that that the ruling party was at loggerheads over zoning, saying, “to the best of my knowledge, the deferring of the dates of congresses and national convention has nothing to do with zoning.”
“My understanding is that it (postponement) was the outcome of Mr. President’s insistence that he would not deploy Federal Government monies to fund the APC,” he added.
Okechukwu, who is also the Director General (DG) of Voice of Nigeria (VON), said as a ruling party, “we may complain, but in the long run, it would be a good lesson that party members should fund their parties and own them.”
Okechukwu said future presidents and governords would emulate President Muhammadu Buhari and desist from using monies meant for social and physical infrastructure to fund political parties.
“We should fund and own our great party. It is the surest route to entrench internal democracy,” the VON DG stated.
Meanwhile the APC has insisted it would conduct its congresses in line with laid down rules and regulations. In a statement, it expressed shock how a letter it wrote to the INEC on leaked to the public.
Akpanudoedehe maintained that the document in circulation did not imply the postponement of the congresses.
“How it leaked from INEC is strange. It is to cure the legal land mine occasioned by Section 85 of the Electoral Act on the issuance of 21 days notice bearing in mind that the earlier date we released was not sacrosanct.”