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APC Crisis: Govs Move to Retain Oyegun

By Shola Akingboye

 

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may still be far off from resolving its internal crisis over the  control of  the soul of the party as some governors elected on the party’s platform  have vowed to resist any attempt at   arm-twisting them to dump the present leadership of the party, DAILY ASSET learnt at the weekend.

Specifically, the governors, it was learnt, have resolved to do whatever was possible to retain the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun whenever the party holds an elective convention.

For over a month, the party has been embroiled in crisis that centred on the tenure elongation for the National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun and members of the NWC by some governors.

The National Executive Committee of the party had in its meeting on February 27, passed a resolution extending by one year, the tenure of the party’s national executive committee members, a move that was believed to be the product of a consensus of the governors of the party.

However, in a sudden twist, President Muhammadu Buhari in yet another NEC meeting on March 26, raised the alarm over the previous NEC decision saying the earlier decision was not only illegal, the party risked a legal challenge from the opposition. President Buhari requested the party chieftains to have a rethink on the alleged illegality in order not to jeopardise its chances in the 2019 general elections.

President Buhari’s seeming patriotic viewpoint however did not go down well with some senior members of the party especially some of the governors who thought he was working out a scheme to assuage the party’s national leader, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has been all along against Odigie-Oyegun’s continued leadership of the party as national chairman.

However, DAILY ASSET learnt that some governors and chieftains of the party have resolved not to be intimidated by President Muhammadu Buhari under the guise of  complying with the party’s constitution and by extension that of the of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The governors among them Simon Lalong (Plateau), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa);Kashim Shettima (Borno); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo)  are said to have argued that the tenure elongation was an exigent option, if the party must remain in power beyond the 2019 general polls, even though the proposal did not go down well with the President and other  stakeholders particularly from the southern part of the country who are loyal to Tinubu.

The pro – Odigie-Oyegun governors, it was learnt were  worried with President Buhari’s volt-face in the March 26 NEC meeting, claiming the decision if implemented would be illegal against the party’s constitution and 1999 constitution of the country as amended.

It was on this premise that the governors advised the national chairman to appoint a technical committee to take a second look at the president’s, position a source close to one of the governors told DAILY ASSET.

Although the technical committee led by Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong submitted its report on April 5, details were not made public as at the time of this report.

DAILY ASSET however, learnt that the Lalong committee may have made recommendations that were at variance with President Buhari’s earlier position, fuelling speculations that the report will be unpopular with those who wish to see Odigie-Oyegun out of office.

Political watchers have queried what prevented the Edo-born Odigie-Oyegun from setting up a committee to review the legality or otherwise of elongating his tenure and that of members of the NWC  while he was quick at setting up a committee to review the President’s position.

Odigie-Oyegun’s critics even accused him  of playing the ostrich in the whole game, using some governors to   challenge President Buhari over his preference for due process and constitutionality in handling the contentious matter.

Angered by the on-going crisis, some governors may have adopted absolute silence and neutrality, DAILY ASSET learnt at the weekend. 

In the last meeting the governors held inside the Aso Rock Council Chambers with Buhari on April 2, which started from 2.15pm and ended about 3.30pm, the governors reportedly stormed out of the session with long drawn faces, refusing to speak to newsmen at the Villa.

But it was later learnt that some governors, including Nasiru el-Rufai, Rotimi Akeredolu, Yahaya Bello and Simon Lalong expressed concern at the meeting why the tenure of the NWC should not be extended by one year.

According to the governors, they had individually stood up to rationalise the tenure extension, claiming that whatever the NEC does is legal and would not in any way undermine the APC victory come 2019 general elections.

They reportedly warned that holding party congresses and national convention as proposed by some stakeholders could further divide the party.

It was also widely believed that the removal of Odigie-Oyegun at the helms of national affairs would enthrone the dreaded domineering regime of the APC national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and reduce the incoming NWC as his stooge.

However, some APC chieftains still maintain that there was no crisis in the party. But Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna central took exemption to the   situation.

“It is going to be a tragedy if he fails. This is what I know and I can speak in parables,” said Sani.

The lawmaker said point blank that avoidable doom awaits the APC if it fails to put its acts together in the states where there are unresolved personality clashes among the major stakeholders.

Pundits nevertheless, told DAILY ASSET as the APC leadership works towards  hosting its belated national convention, the festering crisis may make or mar the ruling party depending on how it is resolved.

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