APC Appoints Abdulrazaq As Zoning Committee Chairman
Ahead of its March 26 national convention, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has begun to set machinery in motion for the exercise. The latest move was the constitution of an eight-member committee on the zoning of party offices, headed by Kwara State Governor Abdulrahaman AbdulRazaq. National Secretary of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Senator John Akpanudoedehe, disclosed this in a statement, yesterday.
However, Akpanudoedehe hinted, in a telephone conversation, that the leadership of the ruling party had yet to meet over the Electoral Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
But as the convention team readied to get the ball rolling, principal officers of the Senate and some senators of the ruling party, led by President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, his deputy, Omo-Agege said they had endorsed the candidature of Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) for the office of National Chairman.
Nonetheless, former Governor of Borno State and frontline chairmanship aspirant, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, said he was not aware of the alleged endorsement of Adamu by Buhari as the next national chairman of the party.
Meanwhile, in Kwara State, a chieftain of APC and Pro-Chancellor of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Hon. Benjamin Issa Ezekiel, said one of the chairmanship aspirants from the North-central geopolitical zone, Malam Saliu Mustapha, remained the state’s “unity candidate” for the office of APC chairman.
Akpanudoedehe said, in the statement, “The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and Governor of Yobe State, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, has approved the appointment of the Party’s Zoning Committee for the forthcoming National Convention.”
He named other members of the committee to include Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, who will serve as deputy chairman of the zoning committee. Professor Etim Nyong, Dr. MB Shehu, Mustapha Salihu, Senator Teslim Folarin, and Mr. Sadeeq Sule-Iko Sami were named members of the committee, while Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Nkem Okeke, would serve as Secretary.
Akpanudoedehe said the committee was expected to submit its report on March 7.
But some senators endorsed Adamu during a meeting held at the Senate wing of the National Assembly complex on Wednesday evening, with the ranking senator in attendance.
The APC senators, numbering about 10, were said to have resolved to back Adamu in his bid to become the party’s national chairman at the forthcoming national convention slated to hold in Abuja on March 26. Sources told THISDAY that the senators also agreed to engage other stakeholders, including some of the chairmanship aspirants, on the need to drop their ambitions and support the chairman of Senate Committee on Agriculture to emerge as chairman of the ruling party.
One of the aspirants, who is also a serving senator, Sani Musa (Niger East), attended the Wednesday meeting. But THISDAY could not confirm if he had agreed to drop his ambition and support Adamu.
At the end of the meeting, the senators took a group photograph, with Adamu flanking the senate president on the right
Those present at the meeting included Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi; Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu; Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi; and Senator Jubril Barau.
Others in attendance were Senators Bello Mandiya and Opeyemi Bamidele.
Although it was widely believed that Buhari had expressed his preference for Adamu as the consensus candidate for national chairman, THISDAY had reported that APC stakeholders from the South-east pushed for the office of National Secretary, while the South-west, where the office was originally zoned, was still divided over the party position.
During a meeting with the president, APC governors agreed that all the previous positions in the party held by members from the North-west would now go to those from the South-east; all positions that were held by those from the North-east would go to those from the South-west; and all positions previously held by members from the North-central would automatically go to those from the South-south. This meant that the positions of national secretary and chairman had been dealt with.
But, with the setting up of zoning committee by the party, stakeholders would be on the look out for possible changes in the zoning formula, even though a governor, who preferred anonymity, recently told THISDAY that the zoning formula in circulation was not sacrosanct.
Akpanudoedehe, however, told THISDAY in a telephone chat that the party was currently focused on conducting the convention.
He stated, “We have a leader of the party, which is the president. We have stakeholders, governors, senators, House of Representatives members, former governors – it is all embracing. They are critical, legally empowered. We have to consider a number of issues.
We are yet to meet on the Electoral Act. Don’t forget it was signed over the weekend, this is a new week. But we are very focused on the convention.”
Asked if the party would be able to conduct its zonal congresses, convention, and primaries between April 4 and June 3, the secretary said he wouldn’t want to pre-empt the leadership of the party.
He added, “Let me not pre-empt the leadership of the party. Let me not speak as an individual. I’m only holding this position in trust for everybody. I speak the decision of the caretaker committee. The convention is on course.”
Nevertheless, another party source informed THISDAY that the reason Akpanudoedehe wanted to remain secretary of the party was to make it easier for him to get the Akwa Ibom State governorship ticket.
According to the source, “He (Akpanudoedehe) wanted to remain secretary and contest for governor. But the governors took the secretary to South-west and it is micro-zoned to Oyo State. Buni wants to be Vice President. Namani (Ken) wants to be governor.”
Sheriff: I’m Not Aware of Buhari’s Endorsement of Adamu
Former Governor of Borno State and frontline national chairmanship aspirant of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, said he was not aware of the purported endorsement of a former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, by President Muhammadu Buhari as the next national chairman of APC ahead the March 26 convention of the party.
Sheriff stated this while addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, saying the leadership of the party has not communicated to the aspirants that one of them has been endorsed.
The former lawmaker, however, added that if the president, as the leader of the party, anointed anybody, he would withdraw from the race and stand by the decision.
Sheriff said it became imperative to address the press due to some concerns of party faithful regarding the alleged decision and position of the president as well as the party leadership with respect to the national chairmanship.
He stated, “Of late, I have been inundated by insinuations and rumours that President Muhammadu Buhari has zoned and endorsed a candidate for this all-important position in our party’s leadership.
“First and foremost, I am not aware of any official statement or position by Mr. President on endorsement of any particular candidate or/and zoning of the chairmanship position of our great party.
“Mr. President and, indeed, the party is yet to issue a formal statement on these issues. I am in the race for the national chairmanship position of our party APC, because of my strength of character, capacity and competence. My intentions are clear and explicitly for public good rather than self-interest.”
The former governor said as a loyal party member, he would abide by the decisions of the president at any time he made an official position known. Sheriff said he had unequivocal confidence in the president’s capacity to make the right choice for the growth of the party.
While stressing that he was committed to working with anyone to reposition the party towards a resounding victory in 2023 general election and beyond, Sheriff said, “Our guiding principle will be the party’s constitution and manifesto, and I will be committed to it. On Mr. President’s decision, I stand.”
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