President Muhammadu Buhari met with governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday at State House, Abuja, where he expressed his preference for former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, as consensus candidate for the office of APC national chairman.
The meeting with the state chief executives was called to discuss the forthcoming national convention of the party scheduled for March 26, among other issues.
APC stakeholders from the South-east pushed for the office of National Secretary, while the South-west, where the office was originally zoned, was still divided over the party position.
However, under the latest agreement reached by the Governors yesterday at their meeting after the meeting with Buhari, all the previous positions in the party held by members from the North-west would now go to those from the South-east; all positions that were held by those in the North-east would go to those in the South-west; and all positions previously held by those from the North-central would automatically go to those from the South-south. Therefore, the position of party secretary and chairman were dealt with.
It was agreed that Adamu would be National Chairman.
The president’s only preference was Adamu as National Chairman, and for the rest positions, he asked the stakeholders to go and decide.
Some of the APC governors at the meeting wanted the March 26 date proposed for the party’s national convention to remain as planned, but some aspirants for the party positions wrote to the president to halt plans for the convention.
Although it would have been Buni’s preferred plan to hold the convention and presidential primary same time, that is no longer feasible given INEC’s timetable and time constraint.
At the meeting attended by 11 of the 22 APC governors at the president’s office, Buhari was said to have turned down the governors’ request for him to have a rethink on his support for Adamu as national chairman of the party.
The president, who met with the governors shortly before departing for Nairobi, Kenya, to attend a four-day international summit, said no to the attempt by the governors to get him to change his mind on the former Nasarawa State governor. He was said to have bluntly refused to shift ground, when the governors advanced their reasons against the ranking senator emerge as national chairman.
The governors were said to have expressed their desire to allow all those that have signified interest in the national chairmanship of the party to run, which the president rejected.
The engagement provided an avenue for South-east APC governors to complain about the zoning of the office of the national secretary to South-west rather than their region.
Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who led the team to the meeting with Buhari, was said to have told them that it was too late to amend the zoning formula.
In spite of the position of the chairman of PGF, the South-east governors resolved to take their agitation for the party scribe to a meeting of the APC governors that was scheduled to hold next Tuesday at Kebbi State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja.
The Tuesday evening’s meeting, expected to be attended by the 22 APC governors, will take another look at the totality of the forthcoming national convention with regard to the zoning arrangement for the offices.
Apart from Bagudu, other APC governors at the meeting were Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Sani Bello (Niger), Umar Ganduje (Kano), and outing deputy governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke.