- Its countdown to the much-anticipated event of the ruling party, the national convention of the All Progressives Congress scheduled hold on Saturday, March 26
- Ahead of the day, the president and major stakeholders of the party are in contention over the preferred candidate vying for some key post in the party and other crises erupting from within
- Meanwhile, the APC administration so far headed by President Muhammadu Buhari has received a lot of criticism recently, but the nation's leader maintained the government has fared well in the last seven years
In a bid to save the All Progressives Congress (APC) from collapse at the national convention, which is slated to holds on Saturday, March 26, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, March 24, held a series of meetings with governors, party leaders and APC members in the National Assembly.
The Punch reports that some governors and chairmanship aspirants of the APC were still against the imposition of Senator Abdullahi Adamu by the president as of Thursday night.
As of press time, some of the APC chieftains at the Presidential Villa were a former interim chairman of the party, Bisi Akande; national leader, Bola Tinubu; Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbomnaya Onu; Senator Rochas Okorocha, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau and Senator Aliyu Wamako.
The President is expected to meet all the 23 APC governors jointly today Friday, March 25.
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It was gathered that chairmanship aspirants held long meetings in Abuja over the President’s demand and were expected to issue a joint statement.
Aspirants disagree with the president's decision
One of the aspirants said:
“We met with the President on Wednesday night and he made it clear that he wanted all those vying for offices to emerge through consensus. In essence, he wants the entire convention to be a mere formality for affirmation. He wants Senator Adamu as the next chairman.
“The President also promised to return the money spent to procure the N20m form. So, we are currently holding meetings and we will issue a joint statement.
“Sincerely, none of us is happy about this. If they knew this was what they were going to do from the start, they should have said so. At least we wouldn’t have wasted money on adverts, mobilisation, logistics and transporting supporters to Abuja from our states. This is disappointing for a party that calls itself progressive.”
A deputy national chairmanship aspirant, Sunny Moniedafe, said he would not be stepping down, adding that everything would be settled on the field of contest.
“I’m not playing religious politics, but Nigeria is a diverse country. Let us take all these into consideration. I don’t agree with what they are doing and I hope they have a rethink. I am an Urhobo man but from the North.”
Confirming Buhari’s position on Adamu, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger state, who is a member of the APC caretaker committee, said in a recent interview that the president had asked the 23 APC governors to ensure that Adamu emerges the chairman at Saturday’s convention.
“At the moment, we are looking at Senator Abdullahi Adamu based on the suggestion by the President for whatever reasons. But I believe that this is a democratic system. If the other contestants do not key in or buy this idea, it is their legitimate right to contest, but we hope that this matter will be resolved within hours or the next few days."
Also speaking in a recent programme aired on national television, Plateau state Governor, Simon Lalong, said the president remained the leader of the party and had the right to insist on his preferred candidate.
Lalong added that it was not a case of imposition but consensus.
When reminded of the fact that those who choose to step down must indicate by writing, Lalong said there was ample time to get all the aspirants to do so.
However, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, said he was not aware of Buhari’s endorsement of any candidate.
“If his candidate wins, fine; if his candidate loses, well, he is going to have to live with that.”
In a related development, the president met with APC stalwart and presidential hopeful, Tinubu; and a former chairman of the party, Akande, as part of efforts to ensure that the convention goes smoothly.
Akande was said to have kicked against the plan of the governors to impose his estranged ex-deputy governor, Senator Iyiola Omisore, on the party.
Buhari meets APC chairmanship aspirants, insists on Abdullahi Adamu as preferred choice
Legit.ng had earlier reported that President Buhari hosted to dinner, the aspirants contesting for the national chairmanship seat before meeting with the governors.
Mai Mala Buni, the caretaker committee chairman of the APC and governor of Yobe state, was in attendance.
Others at the meeting include the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
President Buhari harps on party discipline in speech addressed to APC governors
While speaking to the governors, President Buhari had said it will be disastrous if the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) returns to power in 2023.
He specifically told the governors to put the interest of the APC ahead of theirs in a bid to ensure that the party remains in power beyond 2023.
The president said the APC had done considerably well in the last seven years despite the economic challenges.