*Few hours to voting, governors still struggling with Unity List for other NWC positions
After several months of intense fighting, over 5,000 delegates from across Nigeria will today gather at the Eagle Square, Abuja, to endorse former Nasarawa State Governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Abdullahi Adamu deal was concluded last Wednesday after President Muhammadu Buhari summoned the 22 governors of the party to a meeting and decreed the adoption of consensus candidates for all the offices of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. Thereafter, he nominated Adamu for National Chairman.
As at last night, all the chairmanship aspirants had withdrawn from the race in line with Buhari’s directives.
The Unity List for other NWC positions of the party was not decided during the governors’ meeting with Buhari. The President told the governors to meet and agree on this; that refunds of money spent on purchasing forms be made to all the aspirants unable to make the Unity List.
Unfortunately, as at last night, just a few hours before voting began, the governors could still not agree on the Unity List. So, no list had been sent out.
One of the positions still in dispute is that of the party’s National Secretary. Some governors want Iyiola Omisore, former deputy governor of Osun State, while some others want Ifeoluwa Oyedele, a 2020 governorship aspirant of the party in Ondo State.
The choice of Waziri Bulama (Borno State) as National Organsing Secretary by the governors is also in dispute. Some top party members, including Governor Babagana Zulum prefer Senator Abu Kyari for the job.
Those looking good to make the Unity List are Ken Nnamani (Enugu State) as Deputy National Chairman, South and Adamu Farouk (Jigawa State)) as Deputy National Chairman, North.
However, if the governors are able to resolve the Unity List and send it out this morning as indicated by another source, it means the election today would be a mere academic exercise.
It would also mean that any aspirant still bent on contesting is free to do so, but once outside the Unity List, it is surely going to be a losing game, as the governors control the delegates who will vote at the convention.
Governor of Nasarawa State Abdullahi Sule, who is Chairman Media and Publicity sub-committee for the National Convention, refused to comment on the delay in the release of the Unity List at a press briefing yesterday, but simply said the list would still be released and would be used today.
On the issue of political appointees voting at today’s convention, Governor Sule said: “Our delegates’ list is actually statutory. So, if you have a former president as a political appointee, if you have a former Senator as a political appointee, these are already automatic delegates, you know. So, let us not confuse the two because being an appointee does not necessarily take you out of being a delegate, because our delegates are classified clearly.
“So, most of the lists that we submitted, if you are talking of the ones who have submitted now, we don’t have commissioners, we don’t have advisors, we don’t have all those unless if somebody particularly was a former this or former that, in that case, you know, just being an appointee doesn’t completely exclude such a person from being a delegate.”
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Thursday expressed optimism that most of the new NWC members of the APC today will emerge by consensus.
“The next two days are so important to us that we must get everything spot on so that we don’t allow anyone to cause any problem. Thank God we are reaching consensus all over the states and zones and by the time we go into the convention ground, I’m sure there will be very few elective offices that will have to be voted for. Most would have been achieved through consensus,” Lawan said.
Lawan adds: “We, as a party, feel that this is a moment that is so critical to the existence of APC in Nigeria. We need to get the convention right. We need to have a very successful, peaceful convention where we elect our leaders that will run the affairs of the party for the next four years. Therefore, every hand must be on deck and what we have done is to come and say our hands are available to be on deck as always.
Programme of Activities
Eagle Square, venue of today’s convention, was sparkling yesterday, while virtually all the delegates had arrived.
According to the convention programme released by the APC, accredited delegates are expected to start arriving at the Eagle Square by 10 am. Members of the National Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) will arrive by 1:30p.m.
APC state governors, National Assembly members, ministers and other party leaders are expected by 2:p.m. The President of the Senate and the Speaker, House of Representatives, will arrive between 2:10p.m and 2:20p.m.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo will arrive by 2:45p.m while President Buhari will arrive by 3:15p.m. The convention will then kick off.
There will be goodwill messages by Youth Wing, Women Wing, People Living with Disability (PLwD) and Diaspora Wing between 3:40 and 4:50p.m.
Remarks by the Chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Representatives of Governors’ from each of the six geo-political zones will take place between 4:50 and 5:20p.m.
Remarks by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate will be between 5:25 and 5:35p.m.
Remarks by the Vice-President follow between 5:35 and 5:40p.m, while Special Remarks by President Buhari will be between 5:40 and 5:55p.m
After the welcome address by the CECPC Chairman, there will be a presentation of two motions.
These are the motion for the approval of Constitution as amended and the motion for the ratification of all activities carried out by CECPC.
Elections into Zonal and National Offices of the APC will then follow. Then, there will be the declaration of results and swearing in of the newly elected executives. The newly elected National Chairman is expected to make an acceptance speech.
Altogether, 21 NWC positions and 33 non-NWC positions are expected to be filled today.
APC Governors, Ministers Present Scorecards
Governors and Ministers of the ruling APC yesterday in Abuja presented a seven years’ scorecard to the party, to back their performance status over the former ruling PDP as they march towards 2023 campaigns.
The scorecard was presented at the party’s Pre-Convention Conference with the theme: Consolidating Democratic Change: Scorecard, Impact and the Road Ahead at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
At the event, governors and serving ministers on the platform of the APC took their time to chronicle the events leading to the formation of the party and the successes, challenges, and achievements made by the party, both at the state and national levels in the last seven years.
Present at the event were: Governors Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Fayemi Kayode of Ekiti, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said the APC government social investment programme was yielding good results as Nigeria had emerged the nation with the fastest growing social investment programme in the world.
Zainab also disclosed that Nigeria’s economy was now fully diversified due to different economic intervention strategies introduced by the Buhari-led APC government.