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Intrigues, Fears, Loom Over APC Convention

By James Anaana:

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The governing All Progressives Congress (APC), may be in for difficult times as deft political moves, maneouvres and manipulations by different power blocks within it may implode the party unless the contending forces exercise restraint, DAILY ASSET investigations have shown.

The internal bickering and suspicion between major stakeholders may have led to the party’s inability to hold a national convention, which has been postponed severally without any concrete official reason.

It was learnt that the much postponed (mini) National Convention, was a result of the prevailing intrigues and plots by the various groups to safeguard their interests,  DAILY ASSET’s investigations further revealed.

Top party sources disclosed that the ruling party was weary of the likely fallouts should a mini-convention hold now as being muted by some leaders of the party.

Since emerging victorious in the 2015 elections in which the party displaced the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC has been unable to hold a convention which is long overdue according to the its constitution.

Even the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, which is constitutionally mandated to meet on a quarterly basis, has never met even once since 2015.

DAILY ASSET gathered that a number of power blocs within the party alleging marginalization and ill treatment from the national leadership, have been spoiling for war and indeed plotting to use either the NEC or the planned National Convention to force certain decisions through the party.

Before now, one of the issues in contention was the appointment of Chairman of Board of Trustees for the party, a post in which former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was said to have indicated interest.

However, loyalists of President Mohammadu Buhari,   opposed to Atiku’s Chairmanship of the BOT were said to have influenced the several postponements of the NEC and National Conventions so as to deny the former Vice President the opportunity to vie for the post.

Among the President’s loyalists are Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Muhammed Waziri Tambuwal, Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, some ministers and other elders of the party.

The manipulation of the party machinery to edge Atiku out is said to be part of the frustration of the Political strategist and his recent outbursts against the party.

Atiku, in widely publicized comments on  September 8,  claimed he was sidelined and not being consulted on any decision by the party nor the government after having  contributed immensely in finances and materials to the electoral victory 2015.

Loyalists of the president who had  a strong suspicion that Atiku  might  leave the APC for another party to actualize his presidential ambition,  were said to have  influenced the delay in the convention until Atiku decamps to another party.

“The Party is not comfortable with Vice President Atiku. He wants to leave so let him leave with his people before we reorganize our party,” a top party official told DAILY ASSET in a phone interview.

Apart from the fear of Atiku, our sources said the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, was equally not sure of his seat if a convention were to hold..

The National Chairman has been engaged in a running battle with the National Leader of the Party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom sources said would not hesitate to  move against National Chairman at the slightest possible opportunity.

Odigie-Oyegun is said to have incurred the wrath of the wealthy political tactician when he stood against his (Tinubu’s) interests in the governorship primaries in Ondo and Edo states which the APC eventually won.

Tinubu was said to have been embittered because the developments denied him  the opportunity to further extend his political influence and control in those states.

The National Leader was said to have equally expressed disappointment over the National Chairman’s alleged poor handling of the election of principal officers of the National Assembly, at the onset of the administration, a situation which led to the election of principal officers not sanctioned by the party.

Our sources further maintained that Odigie-Oyegun had fallen out of favour with APC Governors and leaders in the South who feel he  has severally failed to protect their  interests in addressing what they called lopsided appointments in favour of the North by the president.

The Governors and some elders, DAILY ASSET learnt, were putting forward the former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as a possible successor to Odigie-Oyegun, a move they planned to execute at the National Convention.

“If the National Convention holds today, I can tell you that Oshiomhole will emerge as our National Chairman,” one of the sources   maintained.

Hopes that the National Convention will hold soon were dashed last week, when the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi came with a rejoinder  to media reports that  the much canvassed mini-National Convention was postponed indefinitely.

In an interview with DAILY ASSET on phone last Friday, the APC spokesman maintained his earlier submission that only the NEC had powers to announce a date for the National Convention, adding that the NEC was to meet early this week to decide on the matter.

“There is no truth in the said reports which quoted me as saying that the convention will now hold in the first quarter of next year

“At no time did I make the statement which the Journalists attributed to me to validate the purported postponement of the convention” his press statement read in part,” Abdullahi said.

Our Sources who are familiar with the politics of the convention explained that the national secretariat was embarrassed with the pre-emption of the decision in the media, adding that he National leadership of the party was truly not in favour of a National Convention this year.

“It not possible to hold a convention this year. The leaders of the party need more time to sort out some internal issues before the convention,” one of them said.

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