Top leaders of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, have passed a vote of confidence in the leadership of the party under John Odigie-Oyegun.
The vote of confidence was passed on the National Working Committee, NEC, at a meeting of the National Caucus of the party which held Monday evening at the new banquet Hall, State House Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari and had in attendance Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, and the newly-appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The governor of Zamfara state and chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, Abdulaziz Yari, told waiting reporters shortly after emerging from the meeting that a vote of confidence had been passed on Mr. Oyegun and his team.
“This meeting shows our unity in the party, shows our strength and our commitment to the party and to Nigerians,” he said.
The national caucus is a prelude to the meeting of the National Executive Committee, which holds Tuesday at the national secretariat of the APC. Most decisions to be taken at the NEC are often discussed and agreed upon at the Caucus meeting.
Happenings in the party and media reports have shown that there could be an attempt to force Mr. Oyegun out of office during the NEC meeting today.
A national leader of the party and former governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, is believed to be at the forefront of those gunning for Mr. Odigie-Oyegun’s ouster.
On Monday, protesters stormed the party’s main office in Wuse, Abuja, demanding that Mr. Oyegun step down.
A source at the party secretariat said it was in a bid to avoid crisis that Mr. Buhari separately met with Messr. Tinubu and Oyegun as well as the leadership of the national assembly Monday afternoon.
Those meetings appear to have yielded fruit as a smiling Mr. Oyegun told reporters after the talks that the meeting was “very fantastic” and that APC will emerge stronger after the NEC meeting.
A former governor of Yobe state, Bukar Ibrahim, also said contrary to reports of divisions in the party, the meeting was successful.
“Remember you saw it in some of the newspapers that our crisis had deepened; APC is going to break, there is a plan to kick out our national chairman – none of these things happened.
“It is a big family reunion and we are all happy and this party is going to dominate the Nigerian political space for a very long time to come. I don’t want to predict any number of years,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
Atiku conspicuously absent
Although the National Caucus meeting was well attended, a notable figure in the party, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, was conspicuously absent.
However, his spokesperson, Paul Ibe, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Abubakar’s absence was not planned because “he has been out of the country for six weeks, long before the meeting was announced”.
Those who attended the meeting include governors, some ministers, lawmakers, as well as Mr. Tinubu and the former national chairman of the party, Bisi Akande.
There were also former governors and top government officials in the APC administration.