To ensure a hitch-free convention on Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari and governors elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket agreed on a unity list based on consensus.
At a meeting held at the Presidential Villa with 16 governors in attendance, Buhari expressed his preference for a former Nasarawa State Governor Senator Abdullahi Adamu as national chairman.
The governors agreed with his choice.
A former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, was picked by consensus as Deputy National Chairman (South). Abubakar Kyari is the consensus candidate for Deputy National Chairman (North).
A governor said: “Deputy National Chairman (North) has been zoned to the Northeast and we have nominated Abubakar Kyari for the position.
“We are currently holding a meeting to firm up our position.”
It was learnt that an agreement was also reached at the meeting that all chairmanship aspirants who lost out would get a refund of their N20million nomination fee.
Another source added: “The President invited the chairmanship aspirants to a meeting to seek their understanding on his choice of ex-Nasarawa State governor as the party’s chairman.
“He pleaded with them to avoid recourse to crisis and litigations over the party’s choice.”
None of the aspirants was willing to speak last night after the meeting.
With the list, the APC National Convention might only be a mere coronation as there were indications that there might not be an outright election.
Before the President’s meeting with the governors, seven chairmanship aspirants were screened by Governor Aminu Masari-led committee.
These are Saliu Mustapha, Sani Musa, Tanko Al-Makura, Abdullahi Adamu, George Akume, Abdulaziz Yari and Mohammed Etsu.
Also screened for other positions are Deputy Chair North – Sunny S. Moniedafe, Abubakar Girei, Yakubu Dogara, Isa Yuguda and Abubakar Kyari; Deputy Chair South – Ken Nammani and Emmanuel Joseph; and National Secretary – Iyiola Omisore, Adebayo Shittu and Ifeolu Oyedele.
The Northeast zone was locked in a meeting last night to firm up its list of nominees.
Those at the meeting were ex- Governor M.A.Abubakar, Senator Haliru Jika (Bauchi), Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Senator Alkali and Hon.Ustaz Yamaltu-Deba (Gombe).
Others were Governor Babagana Zulum (Borno), Senator Kashim Shettima and Muktari Betara (Borno); Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Senator Yusuf A.Yusuf, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, Danjuma Shidi and a minister from Taraba State.
The representatives from Adamawa State include ex-Governor Muhammad Bindo Jibrilla, Senator Cliff Ishaku Aboh and Senator Aishatu Dahiru Binani.
We will back President, say governors
Governors will support the consensus arrangement as proposed by President Buhari to fill the APC National Working Committee (NWC) positions.
Chairman of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, stated this after a meeting of the governors with the President in Abuja yesterday.
“The governors are united. The governors are unanimous in support of Mr. President,” he said.
However, he said those who choose to contest the election would not be stopped.
The APC convention is billed for Eagles Square on Saturday.
President Buhari last night met with chairmanship aspirants.
He is believed to have a preference for Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
Speaking on the meeting with the President, attended by 16 governors, Bagudu said: “We briefed Mr President on what the governors have been doing in preparation for the March 26, National Convention.
“Some of you may recall that last week there was a letter that was widely circulated in the media, addressed to me as the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and copied to a number of others, including the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, the acting Chairman of the Caretaker Committee and indeed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“That letter led to a series of actions, including meetings between the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Acting Chairman, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State, as he was then, and myself.
“We all restated our commitment to working together to ensure that the convention takes place on March 26, 2022, and then we agreed to support all the decisions that were taken by the Caretaker Committee, both acting as a working committee and acting with the donated powers given to it by the National Executive Committee.
“Indeed, the Chairman of the Caretaker, upon his return, also appreciated what the Caretaker Committee did and the decisions that were taken in his absence.
“Today (yesterday) we all briefed Mr. President on that, including on the issue of distributing political party offices to the respective zones and our support for Mr. President’s endorsement of the candidate for the National Chairman of the party.
“The various geo-political zones took turns to brief Mr. President on what they have been doing to generate consensus in their respective zones.
“Most of the zones have been allocated National Working Committee positions that are fewer than the number of states, but there are zonal executive committees from which the zones are working to produce a consensus list.
“So, this afternoon, the respective zones briefed the President: Governor Abubakar Bello (Niger) on behalf of the Northcentral; Governor Babagana Zulum, on behalf of the Northeast; Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State on behalf of Northwest; Governor Dave Umahi, on behalf of Southeast, Governor Kayode Fayemi on behalf of the Southwest and I (Bagudu) on behalf of Southsouth.”
Bagudu presented the Southsouth’s position because Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River was absent.
He added: “Mr. President pointed out that aspirants that are against consensus option are free to run at the Saturday convention, saying APC as a democratic party will not bar anybody from exercising their rights.
“Our party is a democratic party, we will always urge consensus, we’ll urge respect for the decisions of the party because the distribution of political party offices here has been approved by the highest organ of the party, which is the National Caretaker Committee because they were acting in their capacity as the National Executive Committee of the party, but where people still choose to go against the grain – whatever the party constitution allows them – we wouldn’t do anything on undemocratic.
“Mr. President has always urged consensus for all positions because consensus is in accordance with the democratic tenets and once you have leaders who are established, who are working towards the same goal, yes, we might have our individual differences, like was once carefully explained by Governor El-Rufa’i, but on the principle of ensuring that we get leadership that will hit the ground running, we are united, and to that extent, who will support any process that will lead to consensus and the emergence of leaders without the need for election.”
“Naturally, there will be hiccups one day, but we have overcome them and we are a human organisation, which is bound sometimes to generate emotions and anxiety, but we are united and unanimous and by God’s grace, we’ll have a very successful and peaceful National Convention.”