The All Progressives Congress (APC) has constituted a 68 member committee for its planned elective national convention with governors dominating the list.
The composition of the committee which was announced on the newly hoisted official website of the party and its official Facebook page which was made public on Sunday morning confirmed week-long speculations that the Governor of Jigawa state will head the convention committee.
The Committee headed by Jigawa state governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar has the Governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu as deputy Chairman while Senator Ben Uwajumogu who served in the APC Technical Committee that put a final nail tenure elongation is to serve as secretary of the convention committee.
Also listed as members of the committee are Governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Bindo Jibrilla (Adamawa), Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Godwin Ibaseki (Edo).
The committee also include both former and serving senators, former and serving members of the House of Representatives, representativrs of women and youth as well as persons with disability and APC coalition groups.
The announcement of the convention committee was signed by the National Organising Secretary of the party, Senator Osita Izunaso.
The announcement was silent on when the committee will be inaugurated as well as when the convention is expected to hold, but the tenure of the present National Working Committee the party is expected to end in June this year.
Attempt to make the current members of the National Working Committee to continue in office acting capacity was truncated when President Muhammadu Buhari raised objections to it, saying the idea contravene the constitution the party and the Nigerian constitution.
The President’s rejection the tenure elongation plot led to the setting up of the Governor Simon Lalong led Technical Committee which recommended that the national convention be held to elect new leaders, while members of the National Working Committee should be given waiver to seek reelection instead of resigning their position first as provided for in the party constitution.
The technical committee also recommended the retention of the current zoning formula apparently to allow the current occupants to seek re-election into their various offices.
It was however not clear when the party will constitute similar committee to conduct congresses into the ward, local government and state executive committees which has already expired.
The Technical Committed recommended that “The conduct of congresses is preferable provided that constitutional and legal conditions requisite to the conduct of a valid elective congress and convention as contained in the road map are met.
“In the event that it is impossible to fulfill the constitutional and legal conditions requisite to the conduct of a valid elective congress and convention, the party may, as a last resort, leverage on the NEC resolution of 27th February 2018 which in our view is lawful in the circumstances.”
The committee said further that “There is apprehension that the holding of congresses and convention may exacerbate the crisis that led to the setting up of the reconciliation committee headed by Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the first instance and may eventually lead to factionalisation of the party and or the emergence of parallel bodies within the party. Such scenario may jeopardize the interest of the party in the oncoming general election.
“Beyond this, should the factionalisation , rightly or wrongly be taken to the national level and subject to court action, cross carpeting may become the order of the day in the party.
“It is in the above situation that the National Executive Committee considered upon which it took the decision to create caretaker committees out of the present Executive and other organs of the party as same is necessary to protect, advance and consolidate the gains and interests of the party.”
It also acknowledge the fact that the reconciliation committee set up by the President which was yet to conclude its report, stressing “It is also important to note that the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu led reconciliation committee is yet to conclude its work and present a report to the President or the party on the reconciliation of aggrieved members.
“The committee recommend that the reconciliation committee expedite and conclude its assignment.
“The committee recommend the retention of the existing zoning formula to enable the present officers who are desirous of re-contesting to do so and thereby avoid needless crisis or division in the party.
“From information at the disposal of the committee, conducting congresses may now be fraught with logistic challenges, especially due to paucity of fund. The committee advises the party to explore all means to overcome this challenges.”
National Publicity Secretary who confirmed the decision taken at NEC said it was only a stop gal measure, pointing out that there is nothing constitutional about it and dismissed insinuations that the leadership may leverage on that to ensure that congresses and convention does not hold.
He said “I can assure you that we are preparing for congresses and convention. The congresses and convention will hold and so, there is nothing like anybody leveraging on that to ensure that congresses does not hold so that some people will remain in office”.