20 April 2017

Nigeria: APC Governors, NWC Meet Thursday Over Conflict, Poor Funding

Abuja — The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will Thursday's meet with its 24 state governors to find solutions to some conflicts and financial problems facing the party.

The meeting with the governors comes on the heels of accusation by the Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, is opposing his administration due to his governorship ambition.

The governor who spoke to journalists on Tuesday evening, shortly after a project inspection in the state, said that the national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has scheduled a meeting with the governors in Abuja.

Although the governor did not give details of the agenda of the meeting, THISDAY gathered that the national chairman would intimate the governors with plans for the forthcoming National Executive Committee meeting and efforts to reconcile discontented members of the party.

While speaking on his relationship with the party structure in the state and national levels, the Bauchi State governor said that as far as the relationship with the party at the national level was concerned, everything was cordial.

He said: "Yesterday in the afternoon I was at the multipurpose hall for the closing ceremonies of the veteran badminton championship that attracted 34 teams from all over Nigeria, when the national chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, called me and said, 'my governor, please I have decided to call for an emergency meeting with the governors for Thursday, please call your colleagues around you.' I think that is an indication of some measure of confidence between the leadership of the party and myself."

The governor said that the party in the state was intact and behind his government, adding that there was no problem whatsoever with the party.

On his frosty relationship with Dogara and some Bauchi State legislators in the National Assembly, the governor said the criticisms by the lawmakers were politically motivated and not based on any realistic assessment of his performance so far.

He explained that apart from clearing all outstanding salaries of workers, the state government had embarked on several development projects, some of which had been completed.

"In one word, ambition is what is fuelling opposition against my administration. But my argument is that now is not the time for that. This is the time to come together and work for the people of Bauchi State. By the time we are ready to begin politics, everybody is free to come and aspire to any office. And we are not the only state that have that crop of lawmakers in Abuja but none of them is behaving the way our own is behaving, so it is essentially ambition.

"I have tried as much as possible to be transparent in the running of the affairs of this government and to deliver on my promises despite the crunchy economic situation that we are in. When we took over the first thing I was confronted with even before was I sworn-in as governor was that Labour was on strike because they were being owed four months salaries," he said, adding that he was, however, able to pacify the workers and got them to go back to work.

On the allegation that the government got a loan without approvals, he said that he requested and obtained the approval of the House of Assembly to secure N4 billion loan to take care of the immediate needs of the state.

He explained that the state government paid one month salary of workers, procured 10,000 metric tones of fertilizer, which was distributed to every ward in the state and the financed hajj operations from the loan.

The governor also gave account of the utilization of the N8.6 billion bailout fund granted by the Federal Government for the payment of outstanding worker's salaries.

"We used the N8.6 billion, less N88 million, at the initial stage to offset the outstanding salaries. Labour, both state and national, wrote me letters of commendation," he said, explaining that the remaining N88 million was used to settle outstanding salaries for staff of the state-owned university.


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