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Fireworks, Intrigues As APC Holds National Convention

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After series of post-postponements, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will this weekend hold its National Convention. MUYIWA OYINLOLA in this report writes about the ongoing permutations ahead of the epoch-making event holding Saturday in Abuja.

Barring any last minute change, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) will on Saturday be agog for a major political activity of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

On that fateful day, about 6,800 delegates will be participating in the elective national convention of the party holding at Eagles Square. As at today, 20 out of the 62 aspirants for various positions in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) would be running unopposed while 42 others would be going for outright election.

The convention is holding at a time some aggrieved party members have yet to be reconciled, pacified or placated by the party,

But Secretary of the convention committee, Senator Ndoma Egba said efforts are ongoing to ensure all pending cases are resolved before the Saturday historic event.

Recall that the crisis within the party came to the open when parallel congresses were held in some states last month.

While speaking recently in Abuja, Egba noted that: “We are hoping to resolve those issues before the convention, especially in states where we have court processes. We are working to resolve them in one way or

the other. This is politics and at the end of the day, you must leave a window open for harmonization and reconciliation”.

There are however, growing concerns within the party over an alleged list of consensus candidates for the various elective posts, which does not go well with some party members.

The list, otherwise known as ‘Unity list’ according to sources is to ensure the National Working Committee (NWC) members opposed to the outgoing National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, do

not return.

It was also gathered that barring any last minute development, governors elected on he party’s platform would today converge in Abuja to deliberate on the said list and decide on the fate of those concerned.

But the party has dismissed the possibility of such list, assuring there would be a level playing ground for all aspirants.

While debunking the existence of such list, a member of the Publicity Sub-committee of the National Convention Organising Committee, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told reporters Monday in Abuja that any such list

is fake.

She made the disclosure shortly after  the APC convention committee met with the various sub-committees, Monday night, to assess the preparation for the forthcoming national convention.

Her words: “The meeting today is about getting set for the convention which is going ahead as scheduled and is taking place at Eagles Square, Abuja. Screening has been done; there are twenty positions that are going unopposed. So, there are 42 positions to be contested.

Some people were disqualified, for example if you are 40 years and going for national youth leader, you know you will be disqualified or you don’t have requisite educational qualification.

“The bottom line is that this convention is going ahead. And we hear of the existence of a unity list. This is not true, there is no unity list. But of course consensus is allowed, affirmation is allowed. And of course as I said, some people are running unopposed. There’s no such list as Unity list, if you see any, it is a fake list. The

election will be held, and it will be free, fair and credible”.

The Plot To Stop Oshiomhole

Out of the four aspirants gunning for the National Chairmanship of the party, former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole appears to be the most favoured and formidable.

The other contestants include Dr. Clement Ebri, a former Cross River State governor; Chief Ibrahim Emolpaire, who is considered as a ‘ new block and Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, who is also a former Edo State

governor.

However, there are indications that there are plots by those committed to the present order, the beneficiaries of the existing order in the party to sustain the leadership of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

Even after President Muhammadu Buhari had given a direction in favour of Oshiomhole, those committed to the present establishment made moves to ensure Oyegun returns to office after the convention but it soon

dawned on them that majority of other party leaders had queued up and fallen in line with Buhari’s body language and pronouncement.

By the time it became obvious that they were losing out, it was gathered that they went for a Plan B, which is to allow Oshiomhole be by reluctantly agreeing for his emergence but to ensure that their own candidates emerge as other members of the party’s NWC. If this alleged plot is achieved, the former Labour leader would either be frustrated out of office or be removed because he would be operating with strange bed fellows.

In that circumstance, Oshiomhole would have to negotiate or play ball, as is commonly said, and have those against him have his way. But that is not the pedigree of Oshiomhole. He is a man of his mind and not a push over. This character perhaps may be the reason Buhari is backing him. The president over time has been said to be interested in a strong party with stronger leadership than what presently obtains within the party

Recall that the president in April held a closed door meeting with some state governors elected on the APC platform where he was said to have canvassed support for Oshiomhole’s candidature.

“The President called this meeting with the APC governors to ask them to back Oshiomhole’s candidature. That’s the purpose of the meeting administration that is the President’s position,” a source had disclosed.

The gang up against Oshiomhole is allegedly being championed by a minister in Buhari’s cabinet who is also a former governor in the Southern part of the country. He is said to have the financial muscle to pull through his mission even though he is said not be in control of the party’s structure in his state.

However, the said minister is believed to have succeeded in garnering support from 16 states, and some ‘satellite states’ where the party is not in control. The minister and his co-travelers want a firm control of delegates, especially those from the South south. Their target according to LEADERSHIP findings, is to ensure that NWC members opposed to Oyegun’s return also don’t return.

The minister and an incumbent governor in one of the Northern states, who is also a major force in the anti-Oshiomhole campaign were said to have commenced efforts to find a replacement for Oyegun since the tenure elongation of the present leadership of the party failed some two months ago.

Reflectively, the tenure elongation failed among others, for two reasons. One, those presently not benefiting from the present leadership of the party want a new leadership where they can be rewarded. Two, there are those who believe that the present leadership of the party cannot deliver in 2019, hence the need for a change.

But the argument of those who key into the idea of tenure elongation, was to avoid a situation where the party would hold two conventions within a spate of a year, because the party will also have to hold a convention to elect its presidential candidate for 2019 general elections.

Whichever way it plays out, the forth coming convention will further provide a clearer direction for the party as it intensifies efforts to sustain its firm grip on power come 2019.



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