John Alechenu and Raphael Ede
Leaders of the All Progressives Congress are considering either to appoint an acting National Chairman or set up a caretaker committee to steer the affairs of the party until a national convention is held, The PUNCH has learnt.
One of our correspondents gathered in Abuja on Monday that the two options are among those to be considered at the party’s National Executive Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17.
A top-ranking member of the party’s NEC, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity said, “We are aware that there are so many vacancies in the National Working Committee and we will want to follow our constitution in filling them up.”
“We are not oblivious of the schemes by those who want the status quo to remain. We are fully aware of their plans to scuttle the NEC meeting but I can assure you it will hold.”
In a related development, the acting National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, resumed work at the party’s national secretariat as he stepped into the secretariat compound at 10.55am, amidst tight security.
Entering the party’s National Secretariat was strictly controlled. Security officials at the main entrance were given a list of staff and journalists who they handed out tags to before being allowed in.
In another development, some APC leaders from the South-South geo-political zone have distanced themselves from reports credited to the party’s South-South National Vice-Chairman, Hilliard Eta, just as they called for immediate removal of the suspended national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
They equally expressed support for the NEC meeting slated for March 17.
The Convener of the South- South APC stakeholders, Dr Ray Murphy, and the Secretary of the forum, Dr Bruce Ugbode, said views expressed by Eta were personal because they did not represent the views of the majority.
Murphy said, “Some people are saying that the entire South-South is with Oshiomhol, that is not correct.
“We are not satisfied with what is going on in the last elections that we took part in. Akwa Ibom was there. Delta and Cross River states were there and many other places. We lost so many states just like Zamfara and others because of the inability of the people who run the party to carry along other people.
“Primaries were shoddy. Credible people who are capable of winning elections were shut out due to shoddy primaries.
“This is not a matter of 2023 as my brother Hilliard Eta has said. It is about the survival of the party.
“We support the call for the NEC by the acting Secretary, Giadom, because that is the only way we can give opportunity to the party to regain itself.
“Since our brother (Oshiomhole) took over from our elder brother, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, it has been topsy-turvy; one crisis after another generated by the simple inability to run a party with tact.
“It is not a pugilistic activity to be national chairman of a political party and we are extremely dissatisfied with the way he has carried on in the last two years since he became our national chairman and we lend ourselves seriously with the activities of those who suspended him right from his ward because he has not been carrying on the way we sent him.”
APC chairmen, secretaries pass vote of confidence in Oshiomhole
However, state chairmen and secretaries of the 36 states of the federation including Abuja, have passed a vote of confidence in Oshiomhole.
Members of the group under the auspices of ‘Forum of Chairmen and Secretaries of APC,’ passed the vote after a meeting in Abuja on Monday.
In a communique which was signed by its Chairman, Ali Dolari and Secretary, Dr Ben Nwoye, the chairmen and secretaries said all parties should seek political solutions by returning to the “reconciliation committee set up by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, and led by our founding national chairman, Bisi Akande.”
The communique read in part, “We the state chairmen unequivocally state that the party is bigger than the inordinate ambition of any individual.
“We appeal to all those involved in the court disputes to withdraw the cases for the sake of our grass-root supporters and for the sake of all those who paid the ultimate price to install this government at the federal level and in various states.
“Removal of our indefatigable national chairman will not improve the conditions of our supporters or the generality of Nigerian people. It will only satisfy the vindictive tendencies of a privileged few.”
‘We’re not factionalised’
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress has said the party was not factionalised.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said this in a statement in Abuja, on Monday.
He said, “In a political organisation such as the APC, contestations are not unusual and are not necessarily intractable.”