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In this report Paul Uwadima writes on how the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Convention Committee conducted a successful convention in Abuja recently, despite fears to the contrary.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention may have come and gone but the outcome has continued to reverberate across the country. The convention, which has been adjudged a huge success by most stakeholders, was not expected to be a success at the outset due to fears that aggrieved members may walk out on the party.

There were no walkouts as anticipated by some opposition parties especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). What turned out as a success story started with a hitch. Recall the resignation of the secretary of the APC national convention committee, few weeks before the convention.

The former secretary, Benjamin Uwajumogu, resigned for personal reasons due to the change of date of the convention which no longer tallies with his programme.

While addressing a news conference in Abuja, Mr Uwajumogu officially announced his resignation as the secretary of the National Convention Committee, to attend to some family matters.

He said when he accepted the appointment, he had believed that the convention would hold on May 14, saying the new date of June 23 would clash with his long term ambition to attend the graduation of two of his children from universities in England.

In Uwajumogu’s place, the APC appointed the chairman of the board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Victor Ndoma-Egba, as its new national convention committee secretary. Victor Ndoma-Egba is a tested and trusted politician. He was a three-term Senator, representing Cross River Central of Cross River State in the Nigerian Senate from 2003 to 2015.

He was Deputy Leader of the 6th Senate (2007-2011) and Leader of the Senate (2011-2015). He returned to his law practice as Senior Partner in the Law Firm of Ndoma-Egba, Ebri & Co in Abuja after the 2015 general elections. In July 2016, he was appointed chairman of the NDDC by President Muhammadu Buhari. He came in with a lot of organizational and political experience alongside a legal mind as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). With his legal background he was well equipped to handle any issues that could arise and to also mediate between different groups still smarting from acrimonies that arose from the APC wards and state congresses in some states.

As the secretary of the committee, Ndoma-Egba was the coordinator of the various committees of the APC national convention, who ensured synergy among them for a successful convention. While the chairman ofthe APC national convention committee and Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, who moderated the election process at the convention, has deservedly received a lot of accolades for his delivery on his mandate, it is also important to recognize the key works done by the secretary of the committee and others to make the June 23 national convention the success it turned out to be.

It was a united party made possible by the works done by Governor Abubakar, Senator Ndoma-Egba and others, that listened with rapt attention as the former chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, read his valedictory speech on Saturday June 23, 2018 at the Eagle Square and rightly noted that though naysayers thought the party was on the verge of implosion, the crowd at the convention showed the party is stronger and believes in its vision.

“When I look to my left and right, I feel a deep sense of fulfillment. If you read the stories on the social media, you will think that the party was at the verge of implosion. That it had divisions within it that were fatal. But you look around and see one happy family,” Oyegun said.

In his speech, the Leader of the party and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari appealed to aggrieved members nationwide to keep faith with the party.

The President, however, told the 6,800 delegates from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), that crisis in some chapters was a price the party was paying for its electoral
victory in 2015.

“I want to assure everyone here that despite a few lingering issues with the congresses in some states, our great party will emerge stronger after this convention. The unresolved cases we have are the price we have to pay for success, as everyone wants to be associated with a winning team. I am imploring all those with grievances to keep faith with the party until we put things right.

”I have been following the preparations leading to this event and I must commend this Convention Committee under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Badaru Abubakar for providing a level playing field and instilling confidence in both aspirants and delegates with their thorough approach and adherence to transparency,” he said. ”May I, therefore, appeal to all to put our great party ahead of personal considerations and to accept the outcome of the exercise in good faith. You are all important to our party’s progress and all must come together to ensure success in the forthcoming polls so as to enable us to continue the good work we have been doing for our fellow Nigerians”, he added.

The convention later affirmed former Governor Adams Oshiohmole as the National Chairman. The convention also affirmed the election of 19 other officers.

Impressed by the success of the convention, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated the immediate past national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun and other party members of the APC, on the successful outing at the National Convention held in Abuja.

The President also congratulated Chief Oyegun and other party members for their conduct and show of maturity, understanding and shelving personal ambition for the overall party’s interest against all odds. He said the results of the convention shows that the party has always been united and the new leadership of the party is one that is sure of leading the party to victory upon victory, and one that is fully ready to serve Nigeria and Nigerians.

He also calls on aggrieved party members to keep faith with the party, as the party is working to put things right with the new leadership headed by the new chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The Peoples Democratic Party apparently surprised that the APC did not implode as they had expected, instead of congratulating the APC for its successful convention as many other parties did, rather asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognise the newly-elected national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

It said that his emergence by affirmation was in violation ofdemocratic requirements of direct voting by delegates.
The PDP national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, made the position of the party known while receiving party leaders from Kabba/Bunu area of Kogi State at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

But the PDP did not reckon with the secretary of the convention committee, Senator Ndoma-Egba, SAN, who responded in equal measures and more by challenging the PDP to go to court and stop whining.

Reacting to the position of the PDP, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba said the APC did not violate any section of the Electoral Act in the conduct of its convention. Ndoma-Egba said if PDP felt strongly about violation of the Electoral Act, the party should approach the law court. He said: “Our party’s constitution is very clear. The electoral act is clear very and when the national chairman was announced unopposed, the question was put at the convention, so we believe that we satisfied every legal requirement.” That is the kind of self-assured response that you get when you have someone with the pedigree of Senator Ndoma-Egba superintending over any affairs. Nigerians are now watching whether the PDP will take the Ndoma-Egba challenge or they were merely grandstanding.




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