President Muhammadu Buhari has advised that his party, APC, should pick its next national chairman by consensus rather than the aspirants challenging themselves in a primary election.
Mr Buhari was quoted as saying this by the chairman of the APC governors’ forum, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, at the State House, Abuja.
Mr Bagudu spoke Tuesday after he and other APC governors held a closed-door meeting with the president.
“President Buhari is a believer in consensus as one of the options of producing leaders and he urged us to explore consensus while recognising that many people who have indicated interest are equally competent but only one person will occupy the office at the end of the day.
“Consensus is part of our constitution and he urged us to work towards consensus,” the Kebbi governor said.
PREMIUM TIMES reports that there are at least eight politicians jostling to be the national chairperson of the APC. The list includes former governors and serving senators, many of whom had been campaigning for months to lead the ruling party.
Mr Bagudu defended the president’s preference for a consensus candidate, saying the procedure had been adopted by the party in the past.
“We have produced a number of national chairmen by consensus; Bisi Akande emerge as the pioneer chairman of the APC through consensus, John Oyegun emerged by consensus, Adams Oshiomhole emerged by consensus, so the president reminded us of that.”
Mr Bagudu said he believes the party will achieve its aim of selecting consensus candidates.
“And the governors, I have said earlier, have also been working to ensure that as part of equitable arrangement, zoning and consensus are incorporated. We have done that at the lower levels, and even at the national level it’s almost certain that we will achieve it,” he said.
New date for APC convention
Mr Bagudu also spoke on the March 26 date announced by the interim leadership of the APC for the party’s national convention.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the APC, on Monday, adopted March 26 for its elective convention after previous postponements. The new leadership of the party is expected to emerge from the convention.
“The date of the convention, the caretaker committee briefed us yesterday of their meeting and the proposed March 26, 2022. And today, the governors informed Mr President that we have had the briefing from the caretaker committee and we are supportive of their position,” Mr Bagudu said.
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In its announcement on Monday, the APC interim leadership also announced that the party would hold zonal congresses before the national convention. However, critics have said the APC constitution has no provision for zonal congresses.
When asked about this on Tuesday, Mr Bagudu said, “I think there has been so much debate. Yesterday, there was a statement to the effect that even the letter that has gone out was withdrawn. So, zonal congresses are not explicitly stated in the Constitution. Particularly, how you do zonal congresses. And we have in the past done them with National Convention, but nothing again in the Constitution, stop them from being done outside the national convention. But the final form will be decided, given the input we have provided.”
When asked if the controversy surrounding the APC convention had split the governors of the party, the Kebbi governor was evasive.
“We are in total support of Mr President, we are appreciative of his leadership, we commend him for his leadership. We are appreciative of the sacrifice of the national caretaker, and extraordinary convention planning committee. And we thanked them for the successes recorded under them. Our party, like I said, is greater and stronger, with more members by the day,” he said.
Mr Bagudu’s counterpart from Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, however, admitted that though the governors were initially divided over the matter, they are now on the same page.
“We were divided over the timing of the convention. Some governors felt we should not have the convention until we resolve all the congresses issues in some states. Because, in some of the states, these matters are even in court.
“So some governors held the view that we should wait until all these are resolved and that was not borne out of any agenda or selfish interest but just a realistic opposition to avoid violating any laws or putting our party structures or elected candidates in future.
“But after our meeting last night to deliberate on the proposal by the national caretaker committee and our briefing with the president today, we are all on the same page,” he said.
Mr El-Rufai also said the APC governors had agreed on a zoning formula for elective positions in the party.
“We have agreed on a zoning formula for all the six geo-political zones and essentially we swapped the positions, such that now northern zone will take positions that the southern zone had in the last eight years and vice-versa.
“It is a very simple, equitable and fair formula. We will now go back and consult at the zonal level and look at the positions that are available and the process of preparing for the convention will start in earnest,” he said.
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