The National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to elect a new set of leaders is holding at Eagle Square Abuja today.
A former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, is already guaranteed a chance to emerge as the next national chairman of the party after all contenders to the office stepped down for him.
However, other key offices such as those of the National Secretary, Deputy National Chairmen, National Publicity Secretary and others are to be keenly contested for by several APC members.
As at Saturday morning, the party is yet to release the full names of contestants cleared to run for the offices.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt the inability to release this list is linked to efforts by the leaders of the party to allow the emergence of consensus candidates.
A team of reporters from PREMIUM TIMES are already at Eagle Square to bring you live updates of happenings at the convention.
12.30 PM: Amidst rain, delegates are arriving Eagle Square for the All Progressives congress national convention in Abuja.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state arrived some minutes ago.
Staff are arranging the ballot boxes for the election of party officials.
12.40 PM: Delegates fill the seats for Kogi and Kwara States. Security operatives are equally in the area apparently to forestall a breakdown of law and order.
The two States are part of those, whose chapters are currently embroiled in crisis.
The various stands of most State delegates.
President Muhammadu Buhari arrived Eagle Square at about 3pm.
This was followed by the national anthem and opening prayers.
The convention has officially begun
MC Tagwaye mimicking President Buhari
President Buhari says the party will emerge stronger after the convention.
The party has announced that 18 positions have been returned unopposed.
The positions include Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman.
The names of all 17 others are read and affirmed using voice vote.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Saraki, Speaker Dogara, APC Governors, others are attending the national convention.
Outgoing APC chairman, John Oyegun, spoke earlier. Here’s what he said:
“Phase 1 is over, phase 2 is about to begin.
It is my hope that at the end of today, you will have elected a worthy successor.
I wish my successor the very best of luck.”
Mr Oyegun thanks President Buhari for all the support he gave the NWC. He expresses deep gratitude to all.
He pays special tribute to Bola Tinubu, Bisi Akande, Ogbonnaya Onu, Tony Momoh.
“You were the key heads of various political parties that accepted ….it is because of you that we are here today,” he says.
“Right and left, I see a strong and vibrant party with passionate followers willing to follow our president.”
He says Mr Buhari did not allow bad press and attacks to let him miss his way.
He thanks NWC for providing the leadership that brought APC to where it is today.
Jamilu Baba, aspirant for deputy national welfare secretary, has withdrawn from the race.
Chairman of the National Convention Committee, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, initially announced that 18 positions have been filled unopposed.
More aspirants for the positions of deputy national chairman (South), national legal adviser, deputy welfare secretary, national youth leader, have withdrawn.
Jigawa Gov. Badaru announced earlier that 18 positions are unopposed while 42 are to be contested at 10 voting centres.
Election will begin with Katsina
Some of the names of those unopposed are:
1. Adams Oshiomhole … National Chairman
2. Ibrahim Masari … National Welfare Secretary
3. Tunde Bello…National Financial Secretary
4. Misbahu L Didi….Representative of the physically challenged
5. Zakari Mohammed….Zonal secretary north central
6. Ibrahim Abdullahi
7. Hassana Abdullahi….Zonal woman leader North Central
8. Nelson Abba….ex-officio North Central
9. Abubabakr Ajiya….Zonal Sec north east
10. Isa Azare….Ex officio North east
11. Tukur Gusau…. Zonal secretary north west
12. Nasiru Haladu….Ex officio North west
13. Mrs Akpabio ….Woman leader South south
Abdulrahman Terab withdraws from running for the office of National Secretary.
President Buhari left Eagle Square at about 4:35pm. No announcement was made of his departure.
Horse trading going on at the VIP pavillion as APC leader, Bola Tinubu alongside governors, coordinate consensus arrangements leading to withdrawal of many aspirants.
Meanwhile, election continues.
Osinbajo leaves convention
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has also left the convention after voting.
National Auditor aspirants step down
The minister of labour, Chris Ngige, said after a meeting of Anambra State Caucus, two candidates stepped down for the office of the National Auditor.
They are Chukwuemeke Nwobo and Johnbosco Anabere.
Mr Ngige also asked Ife Ufaro to step down for the incumbent, George Moghalu.
Waziri Bulama announcing his withdrawal as aspirant to the office of National Secretary
Saraki, Dogara leave convention
Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara have also exited the Eagles Square.
The State box is half empty now.
Mai Mala Buni, only candidate for National Secretary
Chairman of convention, governor Badaru, formally announced that Mai Mala Buni remains the only candidate for the office of National Secretary.
An affirmation was made and the chairman announced that there will no more voting for the office of National Secretary.
This follows the withdrawal of a challenger from Taraba State.
There are two different unity lists in circulation.
State box now a dance floor
The State box has now been turned into a dance floor as the new chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, leads other dignitaries, including governors, to dance to the tune of a Hausa music, “Masu gudu su gudu”.
Speaker Dogara casting his vote at the convention.
Ballot papers set ablaze by thugs at the convention venue
President Buhari’s alleged list to delegates
The National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, administers the oath of office on other members of the National Working Committee.