After series of back and forth, the ruling All Progressives Congress APC has finally announced February 26 for its national convention.
Chairman of its Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Gov. Mai Mala Buni disclosed this Tuesday in Abuja at a women conference organised by the party.
Noting that APC is the most friendly women party in Nigeria, he assured that the party will continue to support women to realize their political dreams.
The disclosure came as Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC of the APC was locked in a meeting at the party’s national secretariat to decide on the various sub-committees to be saddled with putting in place a hitch-free national convention next month.
Top party sources told Vanguard that a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode is being tipped to head the Publicity Subcommittee while the Commissioner of Information in Kogi state, Evang. Kingsley Fanwo would serve as Secretary.
Equally, the Kogi state Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is to head the Security Subcommittee, same role he played during the 2018 APC National Convention.
The meeting could not however finalize discussions on the composition of all the sub-committees and was therefore adjourned.
Party sources said the adjournment was necessitated by the need to re-examine some membership of the sub-committees with a view to satisfying all interests.
“We look forward to having more women contesting in the forthcoming National Convention of the party on February 26, 2022, and the general elections.
“As we approach the convention, and draw closer to the general elections, I wish to remind you of your Progressives roles and supporting progressive minded leaders aspiring for various offices for the betterment of our country”, he stated.
According to the Governor, APC has over 41 million registered members, saying “this figure has asserted our position as Africa’s largest political party and of course, Nigeria’s leading political party.
“With this, we are confident of winning the 2023 general with huge success”, he declared.
Osinbajo’s Women demand ticket
Meanwhile, hundreds of women from across the country on Tuesday stormed the Abuja International Conference Centre, venue of the All Progressive Congress APC National Women’s Conference to demand the actualization of a Prof. Yemi Osinbajo presidency in 2023.
With an emphatic presence, the women’s coalition which included market women, farmers, traders, artisans and professionals chorused demand for Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to become the APC Presidential Candidate in 2023.
They urged the party’s caretaker committee to strictly ensure that delegates to its national convention are not hijacked by those who have participated in looting state or federal resources in the past.
Leader of the Steering Committee of Women’s Coalition for Osinbajo, Hajia Rabi Dauda who addressed journalists at the venue emphasized that women’s assessment of the current line up of presidential aspirants across various political parties indicates that Osinbajo is the best option for Nigerian women.
“We are rooting for Osinbajo, not because there are no other aspirants but because he is the most qualified and the one with the most easily predictable disposition towards development issues that are of utmost concern to women.
“Nigerian women trust Osinbajo more than any other presidential aspirant and he already has an idea of what the specific challenges of governance in present times really mean.
“We believe that Osinbajo can consolidate upon whatever good foundation that Baba Buhari has laid and Nigerian women are more optimistic about prospects for a better future under an Osinbajo presidency.
“At this APC National Women’s Conference and beyond here, we are urging all Nigerian women to actively mobilize support for Osinbajo in the interest of generations yet unborn because 2023 elections will leave very enduring impact on the fate of Nigeria,” she said.
Speaking in a similar vein, Madam Scholastica Dominic who led a group of market women to join the women’s coalition for a peaceful rally at the International Conference Centre stated that it was a voluntary demonstration of support.
“He is healthy, youth-friendly and women-friendly and he represents positive change.
“Besides, Osinbajo has demonstrated keen disposition towards seeing things from the perspective of market women and he can make things easy for us; indeed, we believe that he has great capacity to move Nigeria forward”, she said.
Also, Evangelist Ochoja who is a member of the inter-faith group within the women’s coalition expressed women’s confidence in Osinbajo’s preparedness to justify the nation’s collective hopes, adding that many people like her who cannot be swayed with money prefer to back Osinbajo in view of demonstrated capacity to serve with empathy.
Stakeholders slam Govs
Also, concerned stakeholders of the APC under the aegis of APC Rebirth Group have slammed governors of the party for instigating the resignation of the erstwhile Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman.
The stakeholders in statement signed by Engr. Aliyu Audu said there was nothing progressive about the action of the progressive governors.
According to him, the stakeholders received with sadness, the news of the resignation of Mallam Lukman, who they said was a moral compass for the party.
“While we hail Lukman for his decision to tender his resignation as the honourable thing to do in the present circumstance, we are not unaware of the fact that the governors of the All Progressives Congress at their meeting on Sunday orchestrated the resignation over his position on the state of affairs of the APC, and particularly his calls for the conduct of the national convention which is long over due.
“Our disappointment is in the fact that a party that prides itself as a progressive party, more so governors elected under its platform, would be so intolerant to opinions that are not in agreement with their desires.
“We are however not in the least surprised. When we started our campaign for the rebirth of the party as a way to address the obvious nosedive occasioned by the way past and current handlers were managing affairs, we were not only barred from using the party secretariat for any of our activities, members of the group were barred from entering the secretariat.
“Only recently, attempts were made to dissuade invited guests from attending the APC Stakeholders Summit we held at the Shehu Musa Yaradua Centre in Abuja. Where that failed, they sent no less than 20 hoodlums to the venue to disrupt the event. In any case, they failed again”, he stated.
He said just like the APC Rebirth Group, Lukman shares a deep concern about the state of affairs of the party.
“Not only has he courageously and consistently identified the problems, he has made far reaching recommendations on how best to navigate the booby traps set before the party, but rather than heed his calls, the governors of the APC mounted pressure on him to throw in the towel. It is illogical that the attempt to stifle freedom of expression is being promoted by elected executives in a democracy, more so in a party that is said to be progressive. This is not only a sad reminder of our anti-democratic experiences, it also points to the need to elect individuals with requisite intellect and maturity who are able to embrace opposing views and extract the substance therein without recourse to any manner of witch-hunt. Without gainsaying, there is nothing progressive about the actions of our present leaders in the APC who are behind all the plots to silence constructive opposing views”.
Having now resigned his appointment, the group said Lukman has freed himself from the shackles the position of the Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum placed on him.
“He is now at liberty, more than ever before, to continue his constructive engagement on behalf of millions of APC members who count on the bravery and fair mindedness of people like him. The governors and leaders of the party on the other hand have exposed their lack of principle as progressives, their inability to embrace opposing views or even the capacity to make substance from them”.
Since inception, the APC has been in serial violation of an important provision of its own constitution with regards to holding its national convention to appraise its state of affairs and make necessary adjustments.
Specifically, Article 25 (A)(i) of the APC constitution stipulates that the National Convention of the Party shall be held once in two years at a date, venue and time to be recommended by the National Working Committee and approved by the National Executive Committee subject to the giving of the statutory notices to the Independent National Electoral Commission and at least 14 days notice given to members eligible to attend.
The Convention is used to ratify policies and programmes of the Party; Elect or remove the national officers of the Party; Elect the Presidential Candidate of the Party; Amend the Constitution of the Party from time to time as the need may arise among other issues.
After its national convention in October 2014, the party should have held another one in 2016 but it did not do so until June 2018. By implication, a mid-term national convention should have held in 2020 but despite the ouster of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee NWC and the constitution of a Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, the hopes of having a national convention have been constantly deferred until now.