National Convention: February sacrosanct – Governors
Aanya Igomu, Abuja
The forum of Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress; APC says that February for its party’s National Convention is sacrosanct.
The Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said this while speaking to journalists after their closed-door meeting in Abuja. He added that the party’s National Caretaker Committee would announce the particular date.
“We are one group of stakeholders in the party, and our party respects instructions. The appropriate organ of the party is the National Caretaker Committee that will announce the date.
“We have agreed, and they will announce a date in February. But the announcement comes from the party. It is the party decision. There are other stakeholders they are consulting, and showing respect and institutional limit, we will not overstep our bounds. February is sacrosanct,” Governor Bagudu said.
Governor Bagudu added that the meeting passed a vote of confidence on the party’s Caretaker Committee led by one of their own, the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, with two other governors as members; Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State and Gov Gboyega Oyetola of Osun.
While trying to correct the supposed misconception in the media that the Governors are divided regarding the Convention, Governor Bagudu explained that they were united and unanimous in their decision regarding the National Convention.
“We also passed a vote of confidence on the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party chaired by Governor Mai-Mala Buni and including two other Governors, Abubakar Bello of Niger State and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State who have done an incredible job of running our party successfully, mobilising people into the party and we are pleased with their conduct.
“We discussed our upcoming Convention, which you may recall I had cause to address the press after we visited the President in November 2021 where we expressed that both Mr President and the party have agreed that the Convention will take place in February.
“So, we took inputs about the reviews, and we noted all the misrepresentations in the press that we seek to correct; that the Progressive Governors Forum is one united body as you can see evidently in attendance and our decision is unanimous. We are united behind Mr President, and we thank him. We are also united behind the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee,” he said.
Recall that there has been pressure on the APC National Caretaker Committee to announce a specific date for the party’s national Convention following President Buhari’s approval to conduct the exercise in February.
The issue of the Convention has divided stakeholders across different lines; some insist that it holds in February as earlier fixed, others want it to hold on the same day and venue as the party’s presidential primary election, some want all reconciliation efforts to be made before the Convention holds, some want a new day selected in March to give room for Zamfara and Anambra to conduct their congresses while others want the party to use consensus to select the new National Working Committee. Some members have gone to the extent of approaching the court to obtain an order to stop the Convention from holding in February.
The National Convention is crucial because a new National Working Committee will be elected at the Convention, and this Committee will lead the party through Nigeria’s 2023 General Election.
Those in attendance at the meeting include; the Governors of Borno- Babagana Zulum, Jigawa-Mohammad Abubakar, Ondo State -Rotimi Akeredolu, Niger State- Abubakar Bello, Kaduna State- Nasir El-Rufai, Ekiti State-Kayode Fayemi, Kogi- Yahaya Bello.
Others present were; Deputy Governor of Anambra- Nkemakonam Okeke, Cross River-Ben Ayade, Ogun-Dapo Abiodun, Zamfara- Bello Matawalle, Ebonyi-David Umahi, Osun-Gboyega Oyetola, Lagos State-Babajide Sanwolu, Imo Governor- Hope Uzodimma, Plateau-Solomon Lalong, Kano State-Dr Abdulahi Ganduje and Nasarawa State-Abdullahi Sule.