After several intrigues and push for the postponement of the National Convention, the party, through the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), eventually settled for the February 26 date and has already intimated the electoral body (INEC), of its decision.
As at the last count, no fewer than 11 aspirants have expressed their intentions for the plum seat.
They are ex-Governor Abdulaziz Yari; Mallam Saliu Mustapha (Turaki Ilorin); ex-Governor Umar Tanko Al-Makura; Senator Sani Mohammed Musa, and ex-Governor Ali Modu-Sheriff. Also in the race are Sunny Sylvester Monidafe; Mohammed Estu; ex-Governor George Akume; ex-Governor Danjuma Goje; ex-Governor Isa Yuguda and Alhaji Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi.
It was learnt that several moves to extract the disposition and commitment of the President on the protracted race through the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC leadership has, so far, proved abortive.
Speaking, a chieftain of the party, who was a former minister of state, said the likely end point is to have a consensus candidate for the APC Chairmanship seat, adding, however, that the development has created wrangling within the various interests and may lead to an implosion, if not well managed.
“Many stakeholders, including our governors, are on tenterhooks on what direction the convention will take, especially in terms of zoning and who will lead the party into the 2023 election as National Chairman.
“As we speak, nothing is certain, but we heard the idea is to minimise and manage the post-convention crisis from dovetailing into the presidential convention which may happen around August. “Regardless, the unknown stance of President Buhari, who is the revered leader of our party, is putting the APC on the edge ahead of the convention.
“We don’t know where the pendulum will swing or who the president is disposed to working with at the party level and it’s a major concern with less than three weeks to the convention,” he said.
While admitting the level playing field strategy of President Buhari and his men ahead of the contest, the APC chieftain lamented that the seeming reticence of Buhari on the issue has become frustrating.
“The decision by the President to see to the exercise of supremacy of the party based on decisions of organs is commendable, but there is also a required input and leadership style from the leader of the party because a ruling party cannot act or operate in isolation of its leader,” he added.
The APC CECPC, on January 19 during its 19th regular meeting at the party’s national secretariat, adopted the timetable/schedule of activities for the February 26, 2022 APC National Convention.
Meanwhile, another source exclusively said the party hierarchy may have shortlisted former governor of Benue State, Akume; former Nassarawa State governor, Umar Tanko Al-Makura; and Senator Sani Mohammed Musa, as consensus options.
“I can tell you that some party hierarchy members have pencilled down three names for possible consensus options and each of them comes with their merits and capacity. “The governors want one of their own, but the last experience the body had with a former governor in the saddle was a reference point for caution.
“But these three names are the ones on the radar and the party might work with any of them.” Given the horse trading and intrigue, party sources hinted that the incoming National Chairman may emerge from the North Central and it would come through a consensus option being worked out by governors, CECPC and members of the president’s cabinet,” he explained..
Speaking recently, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State said the party expected the president to guide the party in formulating its zoning arrangement of which the national chairmanship is crucial.
Fielding questions in Abuja after a meeting with Buhari, the Ogun governor said: “We have a president in place. We are the party that is in government. Our president is the leader of the party. The president will continue to offer us the guidance that is required and [we] will do what we need to do under his leadership. “I am not sure that I am capable, or have the capacity, to begin to advise the party when I am just a member of the party and a governor, and the party has a leader who is the president.”
Meanwhile, some aggrieved members of the APC under the aegis of the Progressive Youth Movement (PYM) have withdrawn a suit they filed seeking the sack of the CECPC chairman, Governor Buni.
The group led by PYM Chairperson, Princess Zahrah Mustapha-Audu, was at the Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday to formally apply for the discontinuance of the case. Mustapha-Audu said they filed the suit in view of an existing disagreement within the party, which has since been resolved.
“We, members of the PYM, were not happy with some issues within the party, which informed why we came to court. Those issues have now been resolved, using the party’s internal mechanism. That is why we came to withdraw the case. By the notice of discontinuance filed on Monday, the case is formally discontinued,” she said.
PYM had filed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/ CS/1577/2021 in December 2021 in the name of its Chairperson. It named the APC, Buni and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.