Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, met with governors elected on the platform of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and okayed suggestions for a consensus option at the newly proposed March 26 national convention of the party.
Buhari met with the APC governors at the State House, Abuja, for about 15 minutes and discussed the current state of the party and the misgivings about its national convention. He noted that all former chairmen of APC, from Chief Bisi Akande, John Odigie-Oyegun, to Adams Oshiomhole, emerged through consensus.
But Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, dismissed insinuations that the 22 governors of APC and the Anambra State Deputy Governor were sharply divided over the date of the national convention, saying they merely disagreed. El-Rufai, who spoke with newsmen after the APC governors’ meeting with Buhari, however, noted that the governors had disagreed over the timing of the national convention, as some were of the belief that there were many unresolved issues. But he contended that they were all now on the same page.
El-Rufai said APC had adopted a formula, which was embraced by the leadership of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during its convention. Under the plan, APC would allow its northern and southern members swap positions from the ones held by the previous National Working Committee (NWC).
Judging by the copy of the zoning formula obtained by OBSERVERSTIMES , APC had resolved to have its national chairman come from the North-central, while conceding the office of National Secretary to the South-west.
Despite its recent challenges, Chairman of Northern States Governors’ Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, allayed concerns that the ruling party might collapse after Buhari’s tenure. Lalong believed APC would be stronger after the incumbent president.
El-Rufai, who was fielding questions from State House correspondents, said the governors had disagreed over the timing of the convention, because, “There were some governors that felt we should put off the convention until we resolve all the congress issues in some states.
“As you know, in some states, these matters are even in court. So, some governors held the view that we should wait until all these are resolved. And this is not borne out of any agenda or selfishness. It is just a realistic proposition to avoid us violating any laws or putting our party structures of elected candidates in danger.
“Yes, there were differences in opinions about timing. Some of us are saying the constitution allows us to have convention even if three or four states have issues that are unresolved, while others are saying no, let us finish all the reconciliations and we do this convention. After all, there is no time limit for the convention as long as we do it before the time for the primaries.
“So, that was the difference. This is what the media has called divided governors. In a democratic setting, there is no way you can have 22 governors plus the deputy governor of Anambra State agreeing on any issue.
“We can have differences. But after our meeting of last night, to deliberate on the proposal by the national caretaker committee, and our briefing with Mr. President today, we are all on the same page.”
The Kaduna State governor also disclosed that APC had agreed on a zoning formula that would swap offices previously held between North and South.
By the arrangement, all offices that were occupied by northerners in the last NWC will go to the South, and vice versa, in the coming dispensation.