Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will tomorrow fix a date for the party’s national convention after a meeting of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF).
Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, who disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, said the president is still insisting that there must be an immediate convention.
The caretaker committee chairman of the APC and Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, also met with the president in Aso Villa yesterday.
The delay in picking a date which led to President Buhari coming out publicly to give a stern warning, culminating in the governors and party leaders running from pillar to post to decide on an immediate to hold the national convention confirms the story by our sister publication, LEADERSHIP, on Thursday that the governing APC was not ready to hold it’s the exercise billed to produce its national chairman and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) on February 5 as earlier scheduled.
The flagship paper had exclusively reported that bowing to pressure from some party big wigs, the party leadership had planned to push the date forward to a time when it would be appropriate for it to simultaneously conduct national a convention that would produce new national chairman of the party and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and a presidential candidate at the same time.
But apparently rattled by revelations in the said report about the ongoing intrigues in his party, President Buhari, in an interview with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), cautioned APC leaders to put their house in order so that they can retain power in next year’s general elections.
He warned against the persistent differences, disunity, and lack of agreement, which he said could put the party in jeopardy during the election and pave way for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to reclaim the presidency in 2023.
LEADERSHIP had also reported exclusively yesterday that the APC governors will meet tomorrow, Sunday, in Abuja to discuss their next line of action on key issues, including the party’s national convention.
The meeting of the Progressive Governors’ Forum billed to hold at Kebbi Government Lodge, with the forum’s chairman, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi, playing host, will among other things discuss the party’s national convention, its zoning arrangement and the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which has been sent back to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting with the president yesterday, Governor Lalong noted that the governors are working assiduously to hold the party’s convention next month.
He said President Buhari is still insisting that there must be an immediate convention.
He stated: “Yes, I agree that all the time there are meetings, especially on taking final decisions on the party. I’m always part of it and part of it was also why I visited the president and the president still stands committed that there must be an immediate convention.
“You know, when a convention is coming there are fears here and there. Some people will tell you it will work, it will not work. I don’t want to jump to a conclusion, but the visit to the president has already assured us and you know that there is already a notice that all the governors are meeting on Sunday (tomorrow).
“By Sunday we will tell you when we’re doing the convention. We’ve taken a date already. I think before Christmas we said we’re going to do a convention in February and we are still working for the convention as far as I’m concerned, except things change from another angle. But as far as I’m concerned, we’re working for our convention in February.
“These are things that the president was raising his fears about, but we have already given him assurances that nothing will stop us from having a very peaceful election. Some parties have done theirs; the PDP did their own. Nothing will stop APC from doing their own.
“So, all the fears that we are talking about, which the president also re-echoed, is also telling the governors, ‘please do more and keep the party alive’. So, by God’s grace, we are going to put our party alive.
“Well, these are things we’re going to discuss, but I’m not drawing conclusions. I always tell you that a political party is an accumulation of interests. The interests may be the same and they may not be the same, but at the end of the day, what we’ll do is that we are going to elect people who are going to represent you.
“People will come with different interests and so when you are preparing like this, you have different interests and those different interests will be aired in different ways.
“But I just want to assure you that in so many ways when we meet we’ll harmonise all interests and we’ll come out as one APC and that is what we are hoping for.
“I have a very great hope that at the end of the day, our goal is to elect people who will take care of our party because that will be the beginning of the process towards electing those who will take over from this present government”.
Members Drag Buni To Court, Want Exercise Stopped
Meanwhile, some aggrieved members of the APC have dragged chairman of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State and the committee members before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over plans to hold the party’s national convention in February.
The applicants are seeking an order of the court restraining the Buni-led caretaker committee from going ahead with the convention.
Already, the governors elected on the platform of the APC, under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum, have concluded plans to meet on Sunday in Abuja to fix a date for the convention.
According to the chairman of the forum and Kebbi state governor, Atiku Bagudu, top on the agenda of the meeting is the national convention of the party fixed for February 2022.
There had been clamour for a change in date of the scheduled national convention.
The plaintiffs in the suit dated January 4, 2022, are Suleiman Dimas Usman, Muhammed Shehu, Samaila Isahaka, Idris Isah and Audu Emmanuel.
Joined as defendants in the suit are APC, chairman of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/3/2022, the plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Olusola Ojo, prayed the court for an order stopping the convention on the ground that state congresses are yet to be completed in all the 36 states of the federation.
The plaintiffs raised five questions for the court to determine and also sought eight declarative reliefs.
Some of the reliefs the plaintiffs prayed the court for include an order restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants from organizing and conducting the national convention of the 1st defendant (APC) unless state congresses of the 1st defendant are first concluded in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“An order of this Honourable Court directing the 1st and 2nd defendant to first conduct state congresses of the 1st defendant in Anambra state and Zamfara state before the national convention of the 1st defendant can be scheduled and conducted.
“An order of this Honourable Court restraining the 3rd defendant from giving approval effect to any action of the 1st and 2nd defendant to organize and conduct national convention of the 1st defendant unless state congresses of the 1st defendant are first conducted/concluded in ALL the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.”
No date has been fixed for hearing of the case.