After five days of marathon discussion coming from the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progress Congress leading to the approval for conducting congresses and a national convention for the election of an elective official at the ward, local government, state and national levels, fresh crisis seems looms towards the proposed convention
Checks revealed that a timetable drawn up by some National Working Committee (NWC) members for the ward, council, state and national convention has raised suspicion of some party members, who alleged that it was done in such a way that elections would not be possible, thereby leaving the party no choice than to go for affirmation and extension of the tenure of those in office.
Urban express news gathered that in line with NEC’s resolution to hold elective congresses and national convention, the John Oyegun-led NWC submitted a timetable to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about two days ago.
Findings revealed that in the timetable, ward congresses are scheduled for May 2, councils May 5 and states on May 7, with the national convention slated for around mid-May.
Going by what is involved in the conduct of congresses, including logistics and funds, some members of APC are kicking against the timetable, alleging that was “hurriedly” put together to achieve an objective.
According to them, the sole intention of those who drew up the timetable is to cause a stalemate and therefore leave the party no option than to affirm the continuation of those in office.
A member of the national working committee who spoke with urban express news-online on condition of anonymity said: “It is true that the timetable has been forwarded to INEC, but most of us have no idea how they came about it. What we are hearing is that they want to release it close to the election dates, so that, in the end, they will come up with excuses that there are no logistics to go ahead with the congresses and, therefore, the party should opt for affirmation.
“The moves to have us go for affirmation is simply to return all the members of excos, which, to some of us, is getting tenure elongation through the back door. I say so because if we do transparent congresses and convention, most of these people cannot return. And they know it.”
Asked if affirmation was not part of the party’s constitution, the source further said it can only come in where there are no other contestants for such offices.
“But in this case, we have contestants to those offices, including that of the national chairman. So, why contemplate affirmation? If you must be in Lagos by 9am, it means you must board a plane that will leave Abuja by 8am. But you can’t tell me you want to be in Lagos by 9am and you just got the news by 8.30am; even if you have your private jet, you cannot make it. That is what some of our leaders in APC are doing, as regards our congresses and national convention.”
Another NWC member, however, thinks otherwise. He dispelled the alleged moves to foist a fait accompli on the party, saying those peddling the speculation were opposed to the return of Oyegun as the party’s national chairman.
He revealed that party members who want Oyegun back have gone far in their plans and are ready to face their opponents at the poll.
He said: “You are a Nigerian. You cannot claim not to know what the various tendencies within our party represent. What you are seeing is a political war between two groups: those opposed to Oyegu and the current exco versus those who want them back.
“I can confirm to you that we are set for congresses and convention. Anybody that says anything contrary is not telling the truth. I agree that in view of the waiver, we have to remain in office and supervise the electoral process’ our opponents will have difficulty dislodging us. I think that is the reason for this fresh concern.”
Confirming the above scenario, another chieftain of the party, who is a serving lawmaker, told urban express news yesterday that while he agrees with the waiver canvassed by President Mohammadu Buhari on behalf of APC party executives at all levels, such a waiver should only have been granted toward executives of the party, whose tenure expires next week.
According to him, party officials at councils, states and national executives still have “ample” time to resign before recontesting.”
He further argued that granting members of the NWC waiver was like making them judges in their own case, insisting that the party would have set up congress and convention committees to take over the affairs of the party.