The Power blocs within the ruling All Progressives Congress have intensified their lobby for a better grip of the party’s structure ahead of the 2023 general elections.
It was gathered in Abuja, on Friday, that governors and other interest groups within the party had started reaching out to one another ahead of the final approval being expected from the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for the national convention.
An intense lobby for an acceptable zoning formula by the various power blocs especially among the party’s governors is in top gear.
A member of the APC National Caucus, who spoke in confidence to joutnalist for fear of retribution, said, “Although we are yet to agree on a specific date for the convention because we have to deal with congress first, we must tell ourselves the truth; we cannot hold the national convention earlier than September if we are to do a good job.
He further said, “The reality on the ground is, we are yet to complete the data capture of the raw data we collected from the states during the just concluded membership registration/ revalidation.
“We need to capture the data at the National Headquarters in order to produce a credible register needed for not just our congresses, but also for the convention.
“Some states are yet to submit their reports as we speak. The data capturing is ongoing here in Abuja.”
In response to a question on the comment made by the President to the effect that he was expecting a report from Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/ Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee by the end of June, the party chieftain described it as the normal procedure.
He said, “The committee will present its report to the President; if he is satisfied with their recommendations, the report is then presented to the caucus and the National Executive Committee for ratification before the congresses leading to the convention are held.
“If he is not convinced, he has two options. One, ask the committee to review the schedule of activities or ask another committee to do it.”
The party’s governors under the aegis of Progressives Governors Forum met on Wednesday to review a tentative timetable for the congresses as prepared by Governor Buni.
This was confirmed by the Chairman of the PGF, Abubakar Bagudu, who spoke to reporters after an emergency meeting of the forum in Abuja on Wednesday.
Bagudu said, “There is a proposal before Mr President and once he approves it, the National Caretaker Committee will announce the date.
“We considered the timetable and we have made some inputs particularly to comply with the Electoral Law and the party’s constitution. Remember, we, governors, are just one organ of the party.”
A timetable that was released by the Buni panel last week, but later withdrawn, indicated that ward congresses would begin on July 10th, while local government congresses would follow on August 6, 2021. State congresses were scheduled for September 3 and zonal congresses for 30th September 2021.
In response, members of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change, one of the three legacy parties which formed the APC, have started reaching out to other members to consider a former CPC member for the position of National Chairman.
Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, who is the lead voice in the advocacy, had recently said, “When you advise that the party should be fair to the CPC in choosing the next APC National Chairman, you now start the campaign. I think we have gone beyond advice now.
“So, I’m campaigning; I have done the consultation at different levels of the party; I have been in contact with all the major stakeholders of the APC and we strongly believe that what we are asking for is fair.
“What we are asking for is not too much for the party to do; what we are asking for will actually keep the party together and that is what we have been saying. I have gone beyond just making a plea. I have gone to the stage of making consultations.”
However, the spokesperson of Concerned APC Members, a pressure group within the party, Abdullahi Dauda, said, “The CPC bloc cannot claim it is marginalised.
“With all due respect, our President was a member of the CPC; if you look at it that way, the CPC took the highest prize in the APC.
“What is wrong with having somebody from Action Congress of Nigeria or All Nigerian Peoples Congress bloc? What we should be doing now is to rebuild our party.”