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Amid lingering crisis, APC sets for February 26 convention

After weeks of uncertainty and speculations, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday, informed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of plans to hold its national convention on February 26.

The APC had forwarded its notification letter, dated February 2, 2022, with reference number APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/022/14, to the Chairman of the electoral body, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu.

The letter was jointly signed by the party’s National Secretary of Senator John Akpanudoedehe and the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Mai Mala Buni.

However, before the party officially informed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its intentions to hold a congress, there had been widespread speculations over the delay by the party in doing so.

Many had blamed the internal wranglings among the party’s leadership on the delay, warning that it could affect the convention preparations and delay the selection of a date.

Some political analysts had projected that the APC would not meet the 21 days mandatory notice to INEC as required by law before the convention.

The National Commissioner on Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, had told reportesr that as of 8pm on Tuesday, the APC had not given any notice to INEC, making rife the rumour that there was a serious crisis in the party.

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He had explained, ”They can give the Commission 30 days notice, but it can’t be less than 21 days”, he told our correspondent.

Meanwhile, the controversy in the APC had centred around the refusal of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party to inform the electoral body of its plan to hold the convention.

But a party source told reporters that while it appeared the members of the Caretaker Committee did not want to leave office, they had no choice but to fix a date since they already promised President Buhari that they would deliver.

The source said, “The committee doesn’t want to go but they have no choice since they have informed Baba (Buhari) that they will conduct the convention in February.”

That delay in fixing a date and informing INEC of the convention also led to rumours that the committee members intended to perpetuate themselves in office and ensure they serve out the tenure of the sacked Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC).

Fresh reporters recalls that the recently conducted membership registration and revalidation exercise, as well as ward, local government and state congresses further polarised some state chapters of the party.

This led to the setting up of the APC national reconciliation committee led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

The mandate of the committee was to reconcile aggrieved members from all quarters of the party in the 36 states but even then, chieftains from various branches claimed the committee was yet to respond to applications sent to it for intervention.

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When it was apparent that the Caretaker Committee was not in a hurry to conduct the February 26 convention, the former Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman in an open letter to the party leadership called on the chairman of the committee, Mai Mala Buni and other members of the committee to resign their position honourably.

Regrettably, the power play from the various interest groups and power blocks eventually consumed Lukman.

Last Monday, Buni claimed that the party has reconciled aggrieved members in Gombe, Ogun, Kwara, and many other states ahead of the February 26 national convention

Buni, who was represented by a member of the committee and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani made the claims while receiving the interim report of the national reconciliation committee led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

Buni said, “The great achievements the party has recorded in reconciling the differences among our stakeholders in Gombe, Ogun, Kwara, and many other states have justified the confidence the party has in your individual and collective capacities. You have truly done us proud.”

However, contrary to Buni’s claim, the faction loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described the purported reconciliation as false.

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The Spokesperson of the faction, Mr. Ibrahim Sharafadeen, warned that Buni’s claims could result in the “continued ruination of the party and provide an exit clause for those anxious to leave.”

Despite the slow pace of the implementation of the schedule of activities leading to the convention by the committee, the party leadership on Thursday after about five hours delay inaugurated newly-elected State Chairmen of the party.

The state chairmen were inaugurated by the party’s secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, without taking the oath of office.

He said, “I’ve been asked to come and issue you certificates of return as duly elected State Chairmen of our party.”

However, state chairmen from Sokoto and Kano states were conspicuously absent from the inauguration, an indication that all is still not well in the camp of the ruling party.

Meanwhile, a frontline aspirant for the National Chairmanship of the party, Mallam Saliu Mustapha has said the inauguration of the state chairmen has further brightened the February 26 convention.

He said, “It is a good thing to see that the path to our National Convention on February 26 has been further brightened with the inauguration of new chairmen at the state level by the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of our party.”

As it stands, the inauguration of the state chairmen has further put an end to insinuation as to whether the February convention will hold or not.



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