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APC meeting ended in deadlock as president Buhari and party governors clashes

The differences between All Progressives Congress, APC,
governors and President Muhammadu Buhari over the structure
and future of the party widened, yesterday, after a reconciliatory
meeting on the issues ended in a deadlock. President
Muhammadu Buhari; Govenor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State;
Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State; Governor Shetima of
Borno State and Governor Atiku Bagudu of Adamawa State during
the meeting between the President and members of the APC
Governors Forum at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi
Adeshida 03/04/2018 Several governors, who attended the
meeting with the President, came out wearing angry faces
reflecting their bitterness over the President’s last-minute
withdrawal of support for the extension of the tenure of executives
of the party across board. President Buhari, it was also learned,
will formally declare his interest or otherwise in a second term
after the resolution of the increasingly protracted dispute.

The stalemate in the Villa came as the embattled National
Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, yesterday,
inaugurated a technical committee to recommend a way out of the
imbroglio over the extension or not of the tenure of the executive
structures. 21 governors, including Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi
State, who came on crutches after he had a foot injury last
weekend, were present at the meeting. The closed-door meeting in
the council chamber of the Presidential Villa earlier scheduled to
start at 2.00 p.m. did not start until 2.15 p.m. a situation that
further stretched the governors. The President, nevertheless,
apologised for his lateness to the meeting, saying “I apologise for
coming a bit late.” The meeting came against the background of
the uncertainty thrown into the future of the party’s structures
upon assertions by President Buhari at last week’s meeting of the
National Executive Committee, NEC, where he turned against the
earlier decision to extend the tenure of the Odigie-Oyegun-led NEC
and similar executive committees at the zonal, state and lower
levels.

Majority of the governors and state chairmen, according to
Vanguard findings, were supportive of the decision as it would
allow the governors most of who have control of their state
structures to supervise the conduct of the primaries for the 2019
elections. All attempts by correspondents to gather information on
the proceedings at the meeting were futile as one of the governors
said there was an agreement not to divulge information to
journalists. Vanguard, however, gathered that the extension of the
tenure of the party’s executive committees took centre stage.

Also part of the informal agenda of the meeting was a proposal for
the governors to adopt a structure for the President’s re-election
campaign. It was gathered that the meeting was very stormy with
the governors expressing their opposition to the President’s
assertion on the illegality of an extension of the executive
structures. One source said that at a point, the President excused
the meeting for the governors to come up with another date for
further deliberations. Governor Abdulazeez Yari, Chairman of
Nigerian Governors Forum, was said to have proposed April 9 and
10 but was countered by a strong supporter of the President
among the governors on why he picked those dates.

The challenge may have been because the pro-Buhari governor
may have been earlier informed of the President’s trip to the
United Kingdom. Many of the governors wore long faces as they
emerged from the meeting, reflective of the deadlock. Some of
them put their fingers to their lips, indicating they were not going to
comment. One of the governors leaving the venue of the meeting
was heard telling his colleagues, “some people who think they are
tall, think they can control us, it will not work.” Earlier, before
President Buhari entered the Council Chambers for the meeting, the
governors had formed a circle around Governor Rochas Okorocha,
Chairman of the APC Governors Forum, as they engaged one
another in a heated debate. Some were overheard saying “what
they are bringing to the table today, we will not allow it to stand.
This is a coup, and we will not allow it to stand.” One was
overheard saying angrily in Hausa language, “ba zamu yeda ba,”
meaning, “we will not agree.” Another governor was overheard
saying that they would not allow themselves to be controlled by
anybody.

At least, 21 governors were present at the meeting which also had
in attendance Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the
President, Abba Kyari, and Deputy Chief of Staff to the President,
Ade Ipaye. Sources at the meeting also disclosed that the dispute
may have put forward the schedule of Buhari’s public declaration
of his second term bid. “Baba will come out to speak about
whether he will run or not after the resolution of the tenure
elongation issue,” a source said last night.

Oyegun inaugurates 10-man technical committee Meanwhile, the
embattled National Chairman of the party, Chief Odigie-Oyegun,
yesterday, inaugurated a 10-man technical committee to fine tune
a way out of the political logjam. Odigie-Oyegun gave the
committee, headed by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State up
till this Friday to come up with a report. The committee, which was
established upon a recommendation of the NEC, is to also “assess
all the information available and recommend a course of action
consistent with the provisions of the party’s Constitution, the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all relevant
laws,” Odigie-Oyegun said in a letter of appointment to the
committee members. “As this issue is of utmost importance and is
extremely time sensitive, I look forward to your report by Friday the
6th of April 2018”, Chief Odigie-Oyegun signed off in the letter
obtained by

The technical committee also has as members, Boss Mustapha,
Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Abiola Ajimobi,
Governor of Oyo State; Nasir EI-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State;
Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State; Senator Ben
Uwajimogu; Kabiru Ajanah; Elisha Kuroh; Prof. Dakas C. J. Dakas;
and Dr. Muiz Banire, the party’s legal adviser who will serve as
secretary. Inaugurating the committee yesterday, Odigie-Oyegun
said the issue in contention was a constitutional matter but with a
lot of political implications. “Therefore, your job is to bring these
two together and advise us on the way we can implement our
activities in the next few weeks and months in a way that is
politically advantageous to our party, the APC. “We must observe
the law and at the same time emphasize that we try to do things
that will be advantageous to the party. We will furnish you with all
the documents like the resolutions of NEC, the party constitution
and the Nigerian constitution to help you do a good job. “You are
also at liberty to request for additional materials like the statement
of Mr. President during the last NEC meeting and every other thing
to guide you achieve the task you are about to undertake. I am
praying, hoping that this is the kind of thing you can accomplish in
about three to four days. “Getting answers from you is crucial
(and) time sensitive and depending on which way you advise, we
may have to put in motion very serious activities in the party
virtually within a week of getting the report and taken decisions. I
thank you for accepting this onerous assignment and wish you the
very best of luck.” Not about Tinubu— Lalong Governor Lalong in
his speech, was quick to dismiss insinuations that the work of the
committee centered around the national leader of the party,
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is opposed to tenure elongation.

“The discussion there was not anything against Tinubu. Tinubu’s
name was not mentioned in that discussion.
The discussion was a NEC decision on the way forward on the
position of the President who is also a member of the NEC, and
that was subjected to discussion. “So, the issue of whether it
satisfies somebody is not there. Our decision is not going to be
final. We will only advise the NEC on the issue,” he said. We didn’t
extend Oyegun’s Tenure On his part, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of
Ondo State said the controversy was needless since NEC never
extended the tenure of the Odigie-Oyegun led NWC and party
officials across the country. “Let me let everybody know that the
issue has nothing to do with tenure elongation. You journalists are
the ones to advise or lead in the discussions. By law, nobody can
extend their tenure. The usage of that word is wrong. There was no
time at our NEC that we took the decision to get their tenure
elongated.” He, however, added “but we can have them work in an
acting capacity or work as a caretaker for some time, not over 12
months. That, on its own, is not tenure elongation. It is not the
intention of APC to elongate anybody’s tenure.” ROLL CALL
Governors who attended the meeting yesterday included Yahaya
Bello (Kogi), Jubrilla Bindow (Adamawa), Badaru Abubakar
(Jigawa), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Rotimi
Akeredolu (Ondo), Abdufattah Ahmed (Kwara). Others were
Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Tanko Al-
Makura (Nasarawa), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Rochas Okorocha
(Imo), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Abubakar
Sani Bello (Niger), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Abdulaziz Yari
(Zamfara), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Nasir
El-Rufai (Kaduna) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).

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2 Comments

  1. Yeah that is how it starts

  2. Ok

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