Amid uncertainties over the fate of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, who is embroiled in running battle with Bola Tinubu, national leader of the party, the party state chairmen on Monday passed a vote of confidence on the national chairman.
The Forum of All Progressives Congress (APC) State Chairmen, during their meeting on Monday ahead of the National Executive Council meeting holding Tuesday morning, “unanimously resolved” to propose a two-year tenure extension for Mr. Odigie- Oyegun-led National Working Committee and other constituted organs of government at the state, local and ward levels, according to their communique.
The development means a major knock-back for interests, within the party, opposed to the continued stay of Mr. Odigie-Oyegun.
Recently Mr. Tinubu accused Mr. Odigie-Oyegun of indulging in detrimental actions aimed at sabotaging his ‘presidential assignment’ of reconciling the warring interests within the party.
In his letter last week, Mr. Tinubu did not ask the chairman to exit, as he did in September 2016 when he slammed the chairman for allegedly breaching the APC “democratic pledges” in “most overt and brazen display” in the wake of the conduct of the party’s governorship primaries in Ondo that year.
But the state chairmen expressed support for the leadership of Mr. Odigie-Oyegun as well as President Muhammadu Buhari, whom they urged to present himself for another term in 2019.
Mr. Buhari, though yet to declare his intention to run, is believed to be eyeing the top seat in 2019.
“The forum, after dissections and thorough appraisal of the APC-led Government, hereby unanimously pass a vote of confidence on our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Chairman of our great party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and other leaders of our great party for their numerous achievements, despite the challenges so far experienced in our dear country,” read the communique.
“We also urge Mr President to present himself for (a) second tenure come 2019.”
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun and his officers are due for re-election or removal this year in a national convention, having assumed the positions in 2014.
But the state chairmen explained that the reason for proposing a tenure extension is for stability ahead of the 2019 polls.
“In view of the short period between the time available for the proposed party congresses and INEC published timetable for the conduct of party primaries and general elections, the forum resolved that the tenure of the present officers of the party at all levels be extended by two years to avert challenges in the party.”
“In view of the reasons as adduced above, and the fact that the present constitution as amended in 2014 has not been fully tested in the short life of the party, the forum resolved that the proposed amendment of the party constitution be suspended,” they said.
Regarding Mr. Tinubu’s reconciliation assignment, the forum urged “support and cooperation for the former Lagos Governor.”
“We support His Excellency Senator Bola Tinubu-led peace and reconciliation committee and urge the committee to expedite action in reconciling members of the party. The forum also calls on all the members of our great party to give maximum support to the committee to achieve sustainable peace in the party.”
According to Nigerian Tribune, which reported sighting the hard copy of the communique, 31 chairmen, including Henry Ajomale of Mr. Tinubu’s Lagos chapter, signed.
The latest endorsement of Mr. Odigie-Oyegun followed an earlier one by the APC governors.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, after a meeting with Mr. Buhari at the State House on Thursday, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said the governors were behind the party chairman.
“The governors and majority of APC members, have confidence in our national chairman, Chief John Oyegun. We also believe in the president by appointing Bola Tinubu, our leader, to reconcile some aggrieved members of our party.
“However, one-size-fits-all will not work and all the states where some erring members need to be disciplined.”