Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have commenced moves to patch cracks and strengthen the party’s structure after a resolution of the wrangling within the party.
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention that quelled the leadership crisis in the APC, the National Executive Committee (NEC) had, at an emergency meeting on Thursday, adopted all the recommendations by the president, dissolved the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and appointed Yobe State governor, Mallam Mai Buni, as caretaker national chairman of the APC.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that in a bid to mend political fences and realign ahead of the party’s national convention, the APC governors under the auspices of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) yesterday met behind closed doors with President Buhari at the presidential villa.
But chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, told State House correspondents that they were in Aso Rock to pay a thank-you-visit to the president for resolving the lingering crisis in the party. He noted that in the aftermath of the last APC NEC meeting which resolved the crisis, President Buhari now has less distraction in his bid to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
He said, “This is a thank you visit to Mr President. I have in the delegation the brand new chairman of the All Progressives Congress caretaker and extraordinary national convention planning committee, the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, member of the caretaker and extraordinary national convention committee representing the North-Central, His Excellency, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, the Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and myself.
“We thank Mr President for all he has been doing for the Progressive family, which culminated in the visionary and momentous resolution of party disputes that took place yesterday. Testimonials, news, commentaries, media from across the country are all happy for what he did yesterday.
“He is happy that, at last, we have one less distraction, because Mr President is conscious of the mandate given to him by Nigerians, and even though he bothers a lot about his party, what dominates his daily actions are economy, security, transparency and the progress of Nigeria. So he is very happy.”
Bagudu also dismissed media report suggesting that some members of the former NWC were planning to take the party to court, describing the story as the creation of the media.
He said, “The Media said so many things, but Mr President is very clear on the due legal advice he received. Remember that before the 2019 primaries, Mr President demonstrated to everyone in this country that he will never sacrifice due process for expediency.
“Even when it was convenient to extend tenure of the then executive so that we don’t have a convention and primary at the same time, Mr President said no, no matter how tough it is, we are going to do the correct legal thing. So Mr President will never do anything against the constitutional provisions of the party, talk more of the country.
“At the same time, this is to introduce, once again, the chairman of our caretaker and extraordinary national convention planning committee, who is a very seasoned administrator and politician, the governor of Yobe State, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, and to thank him on behalf of the Progressive Governors’ Forum for deeming it so fit to include three governors in the committee”.
Progressive Governors’ Forum DG DG Recommends Expulsion Of Recalcitrant Members
In same vein, director general of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukeman, yesterday implored the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker/convention planning committee not to hesitate in activating the expulsion clause in the constitution of the APC if members of the dissolved Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee drag the party to court.
He said last Thursday’s inauguration of the committee has afforded the party the needed platform for a shift beyond personalities’ influence.
Lukman further charged members with genuine interest for the unity of the party to discard post-NWC dissolution comments and analysis, adding that members of APC should draw vital lessons from the party’s leadership crisis and eventual resolution.
In a statement he personally issued yesterday, Lukman expressed dissatisfaction with analysis that reduces what happened to winners and losers, which he said ends up distracting or pinning politicians to the same old issues of personality contests.
The DG charged APC leaders, especially those positioning themselves as potential 2023 successors, to imbibe the attributes of President Buhari.
Lukman said, “Most of the public debate around the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of Thursday, June 25, 2020 was more about who was in control, who emerged victorious and what does that mean in terms of so-called 2023 projections.
“Whether in terms of interpreting court orders or provisions of the APC constitution, which would have influenced the decision to convene the meeting and arrive at some of the resolutions, most Nigerians reduced the issues to strategic positioning of preferred APC leaders.
“As a result, most analyses are hardly about finding solutions to the leadership problems facing the APC or emerging lessons. When preferred APC leaders are perceived to be disadvantaged, those APC leaders allegedly being responsible for such circumstances get labelled negatively.
“Consequently, both preceding and after the June 25 APC NEC meeting, the position of most Nigerians is about how key APC leaders stand. We need to go beyond this”.
Rather, Lukman insisted that vital lessons have emerged but were hardly focused because of the approach of reducing everything around the NEC to so-called 2023 projection and what its decisions represent.
He added: “Largely because President Buhari was able to discharge the responsibility of being the moral authority in APC, although members of APC NEC went into the meeting sharply divided, they came out united and resolute to work for the unity of the party. They went with problems and came out with solutions”.
Lukman urged members of the party to commend the leadership of President Buhari, stating that “without attempting to compel or force anyone, he (president) was able to broker peace in the party.
“Instead of displaying authoritarian methods, he followed conventional democratic processes of presenting recommendations and allowing members of NEC to decide. Rather than being a dictator as he is always accused of, he displayed excellent democratic credentials.
“The fact is, the President was able to discharge his responsibility as the moral authority of the party because he freed himself from all the leaders who were the problem. It is only because of that he was able to see the true picture and accordingly make recommendations that can solve the problem.
“These were recommendations that didn’t defeat anyone but favour everyone, which confirms the President’s status as ‘belonging to everybody and belonging to no one’. This is one attribute that can be said to be unique to this President”, he added.
APC Is Waxing Stronger, Says Kogi Gov
On his part, Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, yesterday expressed confidence that the APC will continue to wax stronger, the crisis threatening the soul of the party in recent times notwithstanding.
Speaking when he featured on a Channels programme, “Politics Today” anchored by Seun Okinbaloye, Bello argued that the party will not disintegrate as being insinuated in some quarters.
He said, “APC is waxing stronger. It will not disintegrate. We are going to exercise our resolve in Edo, Ondo, Anambra and Ekiti states. We are stronger than before.
“What existed in the APC in the last few weeks was misunderstanding among members expressing themselves in different ways and the leader of our party; the leader of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari came in and called the children together and has addressed the matter.
The governor debunked allegations that the happenings in the party were a grand plot to scheme out the party’s national leader, Ahmed Bola Tinubu out of 2023 political arrangements.
He stated: “Asiwaju remains the leader of our party; he is the founding member of our party. Nobody no matter highly or lowly placed can undermine the position of Asiwaju in this country.
“He has been playing a fatherly role in Nigeria and that is why you can see that both APC and PDP members are gravitating towards him for counseling and his opinion on national and party issues”.
The governor maintained that President Buhari did nothing wrong by holding the NEC meeting at the presidential villa.
“Mr President doesn’t work alone; he doesn’t work illegally. He consults extensively before taking his action and he has legal advisers”, he noted.
On the possibility of Oshiomhole returning as national chairman again, Bello said it was up to him to decide, adding that the ousted national chairman has already paid his dues for the party.
“Adams Oshiomhole did not offend anyone and no one offended him. He has done very well for the party. He has produced reps members, senators, governors and Mr President. He has served the party and has paid his dues. So, if he decides to run again, it is up to him, and if he decides not to run, nobody will force him”, he said.
Former APC Reps Declare Support For PMB, Buni
Meanwhile, the Forum of APC Former Members of the House of Representatives yesterday expressed unflinching support for President Buhari and the newly inaugurated national caretaker committee of the party under the leadership of governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.
The Forum also congratulated Buhari on the bold and commendable step he took to break the leadership logjam in the party.
In a statement issued yesterday by its secretary, Hon Idris Yahuza Yakubu, the forum expressed satisfaction that the APC is currently weaned off from the awkward dangers of conflicting and discordant communications all in the name of the party.
It said, “Our Forum is profoundly inspired by the sagacious demonstration of Mr. President’s impartial and courageous leadership to arrive at significant and far reaching decisions to stabilize the party and save it from needless crisis and disorder. Undoubtedly, the intervention of Mr. President has provided yet, the much needed lifeline for the NEC to strengthen our party’s internal democratic processes which has resonated well with members across the country.
“We appreciate further, the step taken by the NEC to dissolve the NWC, which is in tandem with our position sent to you in our letter of 22nd June 2020. We pray and hope that other positions canvassed by our Forum will be looked into, in order to strengthen the party machinery, restore discipline, constitutionalism and provide a level playing field for all and sundry.”
Declaring support for Governor Buni, the forum said his appointment was “a testimony to his pedigree and experience in the management of party affairs” which, according to them, “will rebuild confidence and bring stability in the party to face the numerous tasks ahead.
“As loyal party members, we pledge our unflinching loyalty and support to help you drive the needed reforms to reposition our party to continue to soar in greatness. Be rest assured of our readiness to always support you and your team to enable you succeed”, the forum added.
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