19 June 2018

Nigeria: Convention - APC Governors Moves to Avert Crisis, Plan Unity List

Abuja — Ahead of next Saturday's national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC), governors elected on the platform of the party are billed to meet on Wednesday evening in Abuja to finalise decision on a consensus list of aspirants for various positions in the National Working Committee (NWC).

Also, THISDAY gathered that the screening committee headed by Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has completed its assignment and will be submitting the report today (Tuesday) to the Convention Committee.

The planned meeting by governors is coming just as facts emerged yesterday that some other members of the outgoing NWC are facing allegations ranging from financial misappropriation to violation of party's rules.

In addition, there were petitions challenging the propriety of allowing them to recontest for their offices without resigning their positions.

Among the members of the NWC seeking reelection are the National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni; Deputy National Chairman (North) Senator Lawan Shuaibu; National Vice Chairmen, Hilard Etta (South-south); Emma Eneukwu (Southeast), National Organising Secretary, Senator Izunaso, and National Auditor, George Muoghalu.

A top party source who confirmed Wednesday's meeting of the APC governors said the meeting would be hosted by Okorocha at Imo state Government Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, in his capacity as the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF).

It was learnt that the ruling party had reached an understanding that the governors would be given the chance to propose nominees that were zoned to their states.

However, in order to take care of the wider interests of the party and to ensure that those aspirants from non APC states were given fair chance, the governors have accepted to hold an enlarged meeting with the national leadership of party to agree on APC version of the "Unity list".

According to another party source, the essence of the unity list is to be able manage crisis that may erupt at the convention.

But another source raised concerns over a looming crisis in the party due to the desire of most of the governors to get even with their perceived political adversaries.

"These governors have resolved to make sure that those NWC members that have fallen apart with them did not get reelected at the convention and they are going to use their influence on the unity list as a weapon to edge out the unwanted elements," he said.

THISDAY gathered that the governor's meeting has become necessary following the discovery that some members of the party were working on different agenda which may lead to either walk-out by the aggrieved members or total parallel National Convention.

One of the sources close to the secretariat of APC governors' forum said: "The APC governors will be meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) night at Imo State governor's lodge to decide on the final list or what you may call unity list of aspirants that will make it into the new National Working Committee (NWC)."

Those pushing for the unity list are doing it with former governor of Edo State as the arrow head of the coalition so as to produce new party leadership that will work in harmony.

Among those that accompanied former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, to Adam Oshiomhole's campaign office a fortnight were former Osun State Governor, Bisi Akande; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Simon Lalong (Plateau); Tanko Al'Makura (Nasarawa); Ibikunle Amosun(Ogun); Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Umar Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Special Adviser to the President (Political), Hon. S.A. Samani.

Another top member of APC also spoke to THISDAY regarding the tussle between Okorocha and his kinsman, Izunazo.

He said: "Bear in mind that there is an ongoing tussle between the outgoing NWC and the various committee, particularly the appeals committee to decide on the final list of aspirants."

Okorocha who is heading the Screening Appeal Committee had said that 19 aspirants who were dropped by the screening committee were to appear before his committee as well as others who have petitions against them.

The party source said : "As it is now the National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso has seven petitions against him from Imo state, his home stste. Some of these petitions were said to have been sponsored by the agents of the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha as part of the bid to stop Izunaso from seeking reelection".

The governor had earlier accused the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun and Senator Izunaso of being behind the plot to deny his favoured candidates victory during the congresses in the state.

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