Unlike their colleagues in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will not be in prime position to determine, who becomes the national chairman of the party at its national convention.
The 13 PDP governors played a huge role in the emergence of Iyorchia Ayu, a former Senate President, as the national chairman-elect of the party at the recently concluded national convention at Eagles Square in Abuja.
They also ensured that most of the candidates that emerged as members of the National Working Committee (NWC) were produced by consensus.
Attempts by some retired generals and elders in the party to also produce Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Osun State governor as the deputy national chairman (South) was also countered by the governors who backed Taofeek Arapaja, the South-West zonal chairman for the position.
At the end of the contest, Arapaja was declared winner after polling 2,004 votes while Oyinlola could only garner 705 votes.
When asked if that scenario may play out in APC, a member of the party’s Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there is no way APC governors can hijack the convention like their PDP counterparts.
According to him, unlike the PDP where there is no rallying leader, the APC has a leader in President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor, who is the party’s national leader.
He said APC governors cannot take any decision without first seeking the approval of the two and whoever they back for the position will eventually clinch it.
“Yes, it was easy for the PDP governors to have their way because they don’t have a leader. Of a truth, who is the leader of PDP? Some people will tell you it is Governor (Nyesom) Wike, others will tell you it is Atiku Abubakar. Others will tell you it is Aminu Tambuwal, who is the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
Some will tell you retired Generals are the ones in charge of the party. But look at their convention. The retired Generals said they wanted Oyinlola, PDP governors said they wanted Arapaja and eventually, the governors had their way.
“That cannot happen in APC. The two leaders in APC are President Buhari and Tinubu. They founded this party and they are firmly in charge. There are also other leaders like Papa Bisi Akande and Ogbonnaya Onu. If they say, this is the way we are going, what the APC governors can do is to come together and advise them and present their position. But they cannot say we are going in other direction. Never.
“So, what happened in PDP cannot happen in APC. The governors can determine party leaders in the NWC from their states but the position for national chairman will be determined by the leaders of the party.”
Daily Independent also gathered that there are silent moves by the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) camp belonging to President Buhari and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to produce the next national chairman, as it is believed that the person will play a major role in who clinches the party’s presidential ticket.
Our source, who belongs to the Tinubu camp, said, “We are for Asiwaju (Tinubu). We will back whoever he endorses for the position. I don’t know who President Buhari is backing but it is strongly believed that he wants someone from his camp, that is from the CPC faction.
“Those who are frontline runners are Tanko Al-Makura, former governor of Nasarawa State; George Akume, former Benue State governor, who is now the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs; Saliu Mustapha, a former Deputy National Chairman of the CPC: Senator Sani Musa, lawmaker representing Niger East Senatorial district in the National Assembly and Abdulaziz Yari, former Zamfara State governor.
“There may be others but these are the ones who have indicated interest for now. Also, a dark horse that many people may not know may emerge, just like how Iyorchia Ayu emerged in PDP when people had thought the South will produce the national chairman.
“Left to Buhari, he will prefer Al-Makura or Mustapha because of CPC connection but left to the cabals they may persuade him to support Musa, the senator from Niger. For a man in the Senate to come out and say he wants to contest for national chairman, it means some people have given him backing.
“Akume is Asiwaju’s man. They are good friends and were governors from 1999 till 2007. The coast is not clear and we don’t know yet if he is the one Asiwaju will back.”
On why the party has not yet fixed a date for its national convention, he said, “Opposition party usually takes things serious than ruling party. Ruling party is always lackadaisical because they have resources and power. They are not always in a hurry like a party that is seriously looking for power. I think that is what is happening in APC”.
No date has been fixed for the national convention of the ruling party and recently, there were reports that some powerbrokers in the party who want the party’s Caretaker Committee led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State to complete the tenure of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the immediate past national chairman are pushing for the convention to hold in June 2022.
According to them, the Caretaker Committee should be allowed to stay in office till June 2022 so as to complete the four-year mandate given to the Oshiomhole who was elected as national chairman on June 23, 2018, but sacked two years after.