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APC governors seal Oyegun’s fate, shop for new party chairman

By Ismail Omipidan; Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja on 05/04/2018

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•Embattled APC National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun
•Embattled APC National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun

After days of going back and forth, governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may have resolved to begin search for a new party chairman that would lead the party to next year’s general elections.

By the provisions of the party’s constitution, the tenure of its current national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and all members of the National Working Committee (NWC) would come to an end by June this year.

Already, 15 governors elected on the platform of the party, who are disposed to having Odigie-Oyegun retain his seat, after failing to further convince Buhari to renounce his latest position, it was gathered, are narrowing their search beyond Edo State and even the South-south.

According to one of the sources, the pro-Odigie-Oyegun governors for now have just two options: to push for his re-election or get a candidate outside of Edo and even the South-south. A North-West governor is the leader of the pro-Odigie-Oyegun group, while a governor from the South-east leads the nine anti-Oyegun group.

Efforts to get Odigie-Oyegun’s reaction as to whether he would present himself for reelection did not yield any positive result as at press time yesterday.

But a source close to the party chairman said: “I can’t say for now if he would re-contest. He is yet to discuss that with me. I will not, however, be surprised if he decides not to run. What I can also tell you is that Chief and his supporters may work to throw up a candidate different from the one we all know for now. We are yet to micro-zone; if and when we do, a South-easterner may end up emerging as the new party chairman.”

Former senate president, Ken Nnamani is being considered as option ‘B’ by the pro-Odigie-Oyegun group, another chieftain of the party volunteered.

Speaking in a similar vein, a chieftain of the party from Kaduna said they were unanimous in their decision to push for Odigie-Oyegun’s replacement, adding that “we want anybody but Oyegun.”

Asked if President Buhari was disposed to having the immediate past Edo governor, Adams Oshiomhole as a replacement for Odigie-Oyegun, he said: “If you observe very well, I think Buhari has made up his mind to go with Tinubu on this project. And Adams is Tinubu’s project for now. The governors in the end will have no choice but to support whatever Buhari wants, because they won’t want to be seen challenging Mr. President.

“I am not aware that anybody from the South-east is being considered for the position. But again, politics is dynamic. We can wake up tomorrow now and the story changes.

“As at this (Wednesday) night, however, Adams is the favourite. Look, ask around, Baba (Buhari) has been favourably disposed to having him as chairman shortly after he left office.  But Oyegun turned down the ambassadorial appointment he was offered. That was why the change could not be effected before now,” the source added.

Meanwhile, five of the governors who met again with the president barely 24 hours after a meeting to resolve the tenure elongation issue was deadlocked, rose from another meeting, yesterday, with a resolve to abide by the party’s constitution and hold ward congresses.

Buhari had at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of March 27 in Abuja, said the National Working Committee (NWC) tenure extension decided at NEC’s meeting on February 27 was illegal and unconstitutional.

The NEC had extended the tenure of the Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC and other executive committees of the party across all levels in the country by one year, starting from June.

The president had explained that the decision was already causing acrimony within the party as some of its members who were not comfortable with the matter had taken it to court.

Following the president’s rejection of the extension, he called a closed-door meeting with the APC governors. After the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday, most of the governors wore long faces when they emerged from the meeting which lasted for close to two hours. The declined to comment on the outcome of their meeting when State House correspondents approached some of them.

But after the reconvened meeting, yesterday, governors of Zamfara, Abdulazeez Yari, Plateau, Simon Lalong, Imo, Rochas Okorocha, Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje and Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun who briefed State House Correspondents said the 24 governors have agreed to go with the president.

According to Yari, “Gentlemen of the press, you know yesterday we left you in the dark after the meeting and today we have seen so many captions that there is disagreement between the governors over the issue of party chairman or about the party leadership.

“No. We had a meeting with Mr. President yesterday (Tuesday), and we extended the meeting tonight and we followed up with the consultations with the President now.

“We consulted and all the 24 governors of the APC are on the same page with Mr. President that we are going to respect our party constitution, we are going to respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So therefore, we collectively agreed that we will have congresses at all levels – local, state and national.

“And the committee set up by the National Secretariat of our party headed by governor of Plateau State, is presenting its report later today. The governors are also meeting with the working committee today so that we come up with convention committee names as well as timetable of the election.

“So, there is no deadlock in our meeting, we have progressed and very soon you will have the names of the convention committee members as well as the timetable.”

Okorocha on his part, added: “I just want to let you know that there is no crisis in the APC at all. And we want to use this opportunity to advise the media operatives to stop spreading rumors of crisis in APC. There is no single crisis in APC.

“The issue was one of people who believe that we did not have enough time to organise a party congress and run election. Some people felt that it was a good idea but the most important thing is that, if we do that we will be contravening both our party constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is the major issue that we have that they call crisis. We do not have virus. This morning, we met with Mr. President to fine-tune issues, one regarding the congress and we have resolved that the congresses at all levels and the chairman of the elongation committee, is also fine-tuning the arrangement in the same line. To this effect, the convention committee will be set out, it will be announced.”

Meanwhile, NEC will on Monday hold emergency meeting to deliberate on the report of the Governor Simon Lalong-led technical committee and take final decision on the contentious extension of the tenure of the national and state executives.

Chief Odigie-Oyegun, who briefed newsmen after the meeting between the NWC and the governors that lasted for several hours at the party headquarters insisted that all the disagreements party have been resolved.

Also, the ruling party has concluded plans to formally write to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to notify it of the new schedule to conduct congresses into the wards, states executives.

•Sourced from Daily Sun. 


Source News Express

Posted 05/04/2018 12:13:41 PM


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