• Eagle Square agog for 12,000 delegates
• Keep your eyes on the ball, Buhari tells APC leaders
• Adamu, Akume, Al-Makura and others meet by consensus
• The party prohibits elected politicians from voting at the convention
• PDP instructs INEC not to monitor the APC convention
After two adjournments and haggling that nearly derailed the process, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is now set to hold its national convention.
Eagle Square, the venue for the party’s convention, is in turmoil as party leaders and delegates gather to elect new members of the National Working Committee (NWC) who will steer its affairs for the next four years.
The Square, which sports a new look, will welcome no less than 12,000 delegates who will take part in the elective convention, where sixty-six party officials, including 21 members of the CNO, would be elected.
Itinerant traders were seen yesterday positioning themselves to do brisk business as there was a heavy presence of security personnel, guarding entry and exit posts.
The convention, which is a precursor to the conduct of primaries for party candidates, has a direct bearing on the fate of the party in the 2023 general election.
Members of the protocols subcommittee headed by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje were spotted putting the finishing touches on the settings.
As at 4:00 p.m. yesterday, some delegates across Nigeria arrived in Abuja in their aso ebi, holding APC souvenirs. On Thursday, the party also barred political appointees from voting as convention delegates.
In a statement, the party said: “CECPC has declared that all political appointees, who have been elected delegates to the National Convention scheduled for March 26, will not vote due to the controversy surrounding Article 84 ( 12) of the electoral law of 2022. .
“However, political party appointees can still attend as observers.” Etsu.
At 5:00 p.m. yesterday, the aspirants, who were at a closed-door meeting at an undisclosed location in Abuja, were unable to agree on a consensual deal.
A party source revealed that an official statement would be made available to reporters on the outcome of the talks. Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, who chairs the media sub-committee, expressed optimism that the aspirants would heed President Muhammadu Buhari’s call to settle for a consensus candidate.
Adamu, who ruled Nasarawa State between 1999 and 2007, is reportedly President Buhari’s preferred candidate.
When asked if the aspirants had shown any signs of conceding to the consensus idea based on President Buhari’s request on Wednesday, Sule said, “They haven’t made it public to us yet. What our party has that others don’t is the fact that we have a political leader and a father that everyone who is really a member of this party respects and that is President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong in an interview on Channels Television yesterday confirmed Adamu as the President’s choice for the post of National President.
He also revealed that the long-awaited unit list would not be released until Saturday.
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari urged APC leaders and members to channel their energies to improve the party’s fortunes in the upcoming elections and avoid distractions and discord.
Receiving the National Assembly leadership of the APC yesterday at the State House in Abuja, the President reminded members of the proximity of the election dates set by the INEC, warning that positions should be harmonized with a broader vision victory in elections and good governance.
“As you all know, our party’s National Convention, which we are committed to, is being held on March 26, 2022. And we cannot afford to do anything that will jeopardize the party’s chances in the general election. of 2023. The limited schedule of the INEC calendar leaves us no margin for delay or new quarrels. It is therefore necessary in the light of this reality to constantly keep our eyes on the ball and refuse any distraction.
The president said he met with the party’s governors and national presidential hopefuls on Wednesday, to reiterate the need to enter the convention with a united front.
He said, “That’s the same reason I invited you today. We must all do our part to ensure the success of this convention. It will strengthen us for the campaigns ahead. ‘
Responding to questions, Senate Speaker Ahmed Lawan said that notwithstanding the party hierarchy’s decision to go for consensus, the party will not prevent any member from running for any office.
Senator Lawan raised concerns about why the party allowed candidates to spend money getting nomination forms only to be coerced into a consensual deal.
“On the question of why allow other people to buy forms, I think democracy doesn’t stop anyone from buying forms, what democracy does is give everyone the opportunity to have guiding principles. If a position is zoned, until a consensus is reached, anyone who thinks they have something to offer can go buy the form and also throw their hat in the ring,” he said.
“I think this question should not be asked of us because we are not the party. But because you asked and we are in your territory, we will make an effort to answer it.
“The essence of these commitments is for the party to reach consensus, and consensus is a process. It doesn’t happen that way. So I believe before we go to the convention square on Saturday, by the grace of God, we would have a lot of consensus reached and maybe the kind of document that we call or call the unity list would have should have happened!
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who described the meeting as productive, explained that the idea was to encourage all stakeholders to come together and have a peaceful and very successful convention. .
Some of the leading officers of the Senate delegation were Senate Deputy Speaker Ovie Omo-Agege; the leader of the Senate, Abdullahi Yahaya; Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Ajayi Boroffice; Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu; Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi;
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase; Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado Dogowa; Chief Whip, Mohammed Tahir Monguno; Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, among others.
HOWEVER, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to attend, monitor or oversee the Saturday, March 26, 2022 APC National Convention.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, warned that INEC would step out of its statutory mandate under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the 2022 election by assisting or monitoring the APC. National convention.
According to the opposition party, “INEC, being a government agency created by law, which also draws on the budgetary allocations of the country with regard to the monitoring of electoral processes and the management of political parties, can only supervise and monitor the bodies over which it has a mandate to oversee.This presupposes that any such body must function legally as a political party in accordance with INEC rules and guidelines.
The PDP claimed that “the APC, having disappeared on December 8, 2020 when it dissolved its national, state and local structures, ceases, in the eyes of the law, to be a political party and as such cannot be subject to INEC regulations with particular reference to its supposed national convention.
“To emphasize, the APC Interim/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) was established for the sole purpose of organizing the APC National Convention in 2020. The committee violated the Constitution and the law election by engaging in party administration, organizing congresses to produce officers to the various state chapters as well as delegates to the APC National Convention,” the PDP explained.
He said that “CECPC, by virtue of its composition with a State Governor, Mai Mala Buni as Chairman, is illegal and unconstitutional by virtue of Section 183 of the Nigerian Constitution, which prohibits a sitting Governor to hold “any other executive position in any capacity”. .”
PDP said that if the APC had listened to one of its members, the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, SAN, who had warned that the “competence of Governor Mai Mala Buni to organize the congresses has been undermined cause by the Supreme Court, “he wouldn’t have been in that quagmire.”
The Party has for the umpteenth time warned Nigerians who intend to participate in the electoral process under the APC to be guided as they are on a journey that leads nowhere.