APC Govs Forum slams Buni, alleges delay tactics

DIRECTOR General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has again slammed the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC for making excuses as to why it cannot conduct its national convention as scheduled until certain conditions are met.

Citing media reports which alleged that the convention could be shifted to June, Lukman, in a statement, yesterday, picked holes in the CECPC’s statement that it would conduct the convention after addressing some critical issues.

He faulted claims that the CECPC was waiting for APC governors to decide on convention date, and lamented that failure to conduct the convention was hurting the party’s preparation for the 2023 general polls.

He said: “Shortly following the news of the alleged postponement, the Secretary of the CECPC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe issued a statement of rebuttal, calling on the general public to ‘completely disregard fake news on the reported suspension of the planned National Convention’.

“The statement further informed the public that the CECPC ‘is already embarking on consultations with party stakeholders to prepare the ground for a rancour-free National Convention.’ Sadly, the statement, like previous ones from the CECPC didn’t announce any date and venue for the National Convention. Very disappointingly, the statement said ‘sub-committee on budgeting and other substructures will be set up in due course.’ 

“This is a slap on the faces of Nigerians and an insult on party members. How can a statement from ‘a focus-driven, process-oriented political party’, make such a scandalous statement allegedly assuring that a Convention is scheduled to hold in February without indicating the date and venue for the Convention? If subcommittees, whether for budget or anything are to be set up, to perhaps mobilise funds for the Convention, why are they not set up with just about two weeks to the end of January?” he queried.

According to Lukman, it is now somehow difficult not to conclude that the CECPC is intentionally promoting speculations around the APC National Convention by claiming to embark on ‘consultations with party stakeholders to prepare the ground for a rancour-free National Convention.’

He recalled that on November 22, 2021, the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu led a delegation, which includes the CECPC Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, to President Muhammadu Buhari to finalise consultations on the date of the Convention. Immediately after the meeting with President Buhari, Bagudu announced the agreement reached with President Buhari to the effect that the Convention will hold in February 2022.

“With such an agreement, the responsibility of the CECPC is to go ahead and start organising the Convention. Almost two months after, the CECPC has not issued any notice of the Convention to anyone. Not even the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which by the provision of the Electoral Act as amended is required to be given at least 21 days’ notice.

It is very difficult not to conclude that both the Chairman and all members of the CECPC have no respect for President Buhari, which is responsible for why they are doing everything possible to sabotage decisions validly taken to hold the APC National Convention in February after consultation with the President.

For whatever reasons, it would appear that the leadership of CECPC are enjoying all the public speculations maligning Governors and some other senior leaders of the party as working to stop the APC National Convention from holding in February 2022.

This is most unfortunate. The truth must be told, the responsibility of organising the February 2022 APC National Convention rests squarely with the CECPC.

At this point, it will be necessary to remind all members of the CECPC and by extension, all leaders of APC that part of the reasons that made it very necessary to dissolve the  Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee, NWC, was the disrespect for leaders and members of the party, especially by Oshiomhole, the former National Chairman of the party. It was on record that during the tenure of Oshiomhole as National Chairman, the recommendations of party leaders and members were hardly considered.

“The CECPC leadership have returned the party back to the mode of open disrespect for any recommendation given. It is even worse now given that the CECPC is ready to sacrifice the future of the party. Clearly, what is steering us in the face is that all the bad leadership records under Oshiomhole led NWC is about to be met and outstripped by the present CECPC.”

“However, the first challenge now is to ensure that the CECPC has no option but to organise the APC National Convention in February 2022 as decided based on all the consultations that have taken place. The CECPC must be told that all consultations about organising the Convention ended with the meeting with President Buhari on November 22, 2021, and therefore the CECPC leadership should stop lying to Nigerians and APC members.

The CECPC should also stop claiming that it is waiting for the meeting of Progressive Governors before it takes all the necessary decisions to commence the process of organising the Convention. Such a claim is not only dishonest but also taking the support of Progressive Governors for granted, which is why Progressive Governors have been reduced to punching bags of all party members regarding all the challenges facing the party.”

“Largely on account of delaying the implementation of decisions to organise the February APC National Convention, there is hardly any internal party preparation for the 2023 electoral contest beyond individual leaders declaring their personal aspirations for offices.

Without any prejudice to the aspirations of leaders, it is important that the party is able to set some minimum standards for the 2023 campaigns so that individual aspirants can orient their internal party mobilisation around those minimum standards. APC must not make the mistake of orientating its internal party mobilisation for the emergence of candidates for 2023 elections, especially Presidential Candidate only based on personality contest. 

Meanwhile, stakeholders of the APC under the aegis of APC Rebirth Group have slammed some chieftains of the party for declaring interest in the 2023 presidential election while the party is facing an existential threat.

According to them, there has to be a party first before anyone can talk of personal ambition, saying with a weak platform as the APC currently is, such presidential aspirations are at best, dead on arrival.

No fewer than four chieftains of the APC including two state governors recently announced their interest in seeking the presidential ticket of the party for the 2023 poll.

Spokesman of the stakeholders, Engr. Aliyu Audu told Vanguard that while the aspirants have their constitutional rights and are at liberty to declare their aspirations at any given time, “the people are however concerned with the present situation of the Party, the very platform these aspirants want to use to realize their ambitions, which has been riddled with glaring challenges that portend danger ahead of the 2023 general election.”

“We then wonder whether it would not be more expedient and appropriate to first ensure that our house is well secured and ready for the ambitions of these aspirants.

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