•Stakeholders to determine exact date
The coast appears clear for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to elect a new set of national officers, as President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, gave the party the go-ahead to hold its national convention in February 2022.
But Chairman of the APC National Caretaker Committee, and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, assured that all stakeholders would be involved in the choice of the particular date in February for the convention.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the State House, Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said the issue of national convention, which was also the highlight of last weekend’s meeting of the APC governors, was tabled before Buhari, who gave the party the go-ahead to hold the convention next February.
Bagudu, who was in company with Buni and Jigawa State Governor Abubakar Badaru, said, “Yesterday, November 21, the Progressive Governors Forum met and, as some of you might have seen in press reports, I spoke after the meeting, where, in addition to congratulating and thanking the caretaker committee for a wonderful job of their leadership of the party, thanked Mr. President for supporting them to deliver on their mandate.
“I also explained that the Progressive Governors Forum discussed the issue of national convention of the party and they mandated us to come and discuss with the president, as party leader, to give the inputs of the governors so that the party and the president will consider in agreeing a date for the national convention.”
The governor disclosed that four states were yet to hold their state congresses due to logistic problems. He expressed the hope the between now and January next year, they would have concluded their congresses ahead of the February convention.
Bagudu explained, “Part of the inputs we got was that we still have four states, which are in the process of completing their congresses – Anambra, understandably, because of the election, Zamfara, and two others that because of logistic challenges are yet to complete. Christmas is around the corner, and, then, early January will be very busy with Ekiti.”
Bagudu said, “The governors, based on all that, made an input that we think the party and the president might graciously consider February and the president is favourably disposed and I’m sure the party, because the chairman of the caretaker committee was part of the delegation, he heard that and I’m sure they will conclude between him and the president. But we have made the input of the governors known. It was favourably considered by Mr. President.”
On his part, Buni said wider consultations would be made among stakeholders before picking a particular date for the convention in February.
He stated, “We have to consult widely and part of the reasons why even the governors met yesterday, 20 of the 22 governors attended. So, it is in consultation to that effect. It is a well consulted, well thought out plan.
“We will let you know. We have to work on a timetable, which, of course, has to be. We have to communicate it to our various state chapters for them to be ready for the convention. Like the PGF chairman said, they have suggested to the party and Mr. President has concurred. So, we are going ahead to plan for the convention in February.”
Buni also stressed that he would be glad to return to his state as a full time governor after the ad hoc duty of APC caretaker chairman.
Rejecting suggestions of possible extension of the caretaker committee’s tenure, Buni declared, “Am I a jobless person, who is always trying to extend his tenure? To do what? I have my primary responsibility as a governor, to go back to my state and carry out my primary responsibility. What I’m here to do is ad hoc, and, of course, to reposition the party, and that is exactly what we’re able to achieve.”