There is uproar in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over alleged plots by some party bigwigs to extend the timeline allotted to the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and shift the party’s national convention beyond June.
There are concerns that 44 days to the expiration of the interim committee’s timeline, it is not yet ready to organise the national convention and congresses to elect a new crop of leaders at various levels.
The Buni-led committee was inaugurated on June 25, 2020, and given the mandate to administer the affairs of the party for six months within which to organise a national convention.
This followed the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) over alleged abuse of office.
The National Executive Committee (NEC), which is the second highest decision-making organ of the party, later in December 2020, extended its timeline by six months.
But a statement issued by the Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe yesterday in Abuja, indicated that the party was not planning to release its schedule of activities for congresses and convention any time soon.
There were reports in some quarters that the committee would release the timetable this week.
But reacting, Sen. Akpanudoedehe said, “The CECPC is focused and is delivering its mandate to recover, rebuild and reposition the APC as well as achieve peace-building, true reconciliation and to give a sense of belonging to every member of the party.
“On Monday, 17th May 2021, the APC National Secretariat resumed from the Sallah break and will also resume work on several ongoing and important party activities. As usual, we will promptly communicate the outcomes of these activities through official channels when available.
“We have never lied on our party activities and we simply have no reason to. The consultative party leadership style instituted by Governor Mai Mala Buni as Chairman of the CECPC has institutionalised the APC as a party of processes and internal democracy.”
But party stalwarts who spoke with newsmen last night expressed concerns that the party would hit the rocks if the convention is not held in June, citing legal issues.
A chieftain of the party, Barrister Abdullahi Jalo who spoke with our correspondent last night advised the caretaker committee to be mindful of legal issues.
“If the convention is not going to be held in June, it means there will be some legal issues in the APC as to its entire political legislation, because the convention has to go in tandem with the timetable of INEC.
“There will be legal issues; that is my fear. A convention of the party is not just like a fashion affair. It is something that is mandatory and compulsory to be done. But there must be a framework.
“So whatever they are doing, they should look at the legalities; why the convention is going to be held in June, and if it is not in June, what are the legal implications?” he said.
Similarly, a stalwart of the party from the South, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo said yesterday that many party leaders were looking for a fallback option because the convention “would spell doom for the party” hence the delay.
“The national reconciliation they are talking about is not to reconcile all members of the APC. It is to reconcile those people that belong to just one political bloc in the APC.
“Even among the people that are controlling the party now, there is a problem between them over zoning. Some governors are pushing for various interests and these are the people that push Oshiomhole out. Pushing Oshiomhole out means they have pushed Bola Tinubu out.
“So the party is dead; the APC is dead. That is why they are playing along to shift the convention and shift again. They are just shifting the interment day. But whenever they are going to do the interment they will bury the corpse.
“So if the PDP is very serious all of us will join later. But for now, we are all at the burial ground of the APC,” he said.
An elder statesman and former presidential candidate of the United Progressives Party (UPP) who is now in the APC, Chief Chekwas Okorie also advised the caretaker committee to be meticulous in the scheme of things.
“The statement credited to the secretary is not clear enough. It only denied what was published, but it has not stated what the party intends to do with the time given to it by NEC.
“But it is important that it is done because the party is big and anything that will introduce confusion or ambiguity should be avoided. Anything that will open the party to litigations should also be avoided because PDP is standing by the corner to catch in on any confusion,” he said.
Special Adviser to Borno State Governor on Trade and Investment and former national legal adviser of the PDP, Barrister Bashir Maidugu, however, said, “We should continue to abide by the rules and regulations of the party and the caretaker committee is still within its mandate.”