APC Convention: Five top APC leaders who will not return to office

No fewer than five members of the current National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will bid farewell to the positions after Saturday’s national convention of the ruling party.

Although the National Convention Committee headed by Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State has yet to make public the names of the aspirants vying for the various positions, the five members did not pick forms to seek the fresh mandate of the members to return to their positions.

The NWC comprises about 14 members. It is the organ of the party responsible for the day to day running of the party at the national level.

According to Article 13:4 of the APC constitution, the NWC “shall be responsible for the administration of the party and put into effect the decisions of the National Executive Committee.”

Most members of the NWC came to office in June 2014 when the party’s interim leadership left office to pave way for a substantive leadership.

Only the National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, assumed office in 2016 following the exit of his predecessor, Lai Mohammed, who was appointed the minister of information and culture.

The NWC members not seeking reelection are:

  1. John Odigie-Oyegun (National Chairman)

Mr Odigie-Oyegun, 78, earlier in the month announced his plan not to seek re-election.

At a press conference at his Abuja home, the former governor of Edo State said he decided to withdrawal from the race “in the best interest of the party.”

He stated further, “I have taken this decision without prejudice to my commitment to the party in helping to solve some of the subsisting and emerging difficult issues and my ability to continue to provide necessary leadership.”

The party had planned to extend the tenure of the Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC by one year but later resolved to drop the idea in favour of holding elective congresses and convention when President Muhammadu Buhari warned of the consequences of such action.

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Subsequently, the president and the party’s governors endorsed a former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, to take over from Mr Odigie-Oyegun, the first substantive national chairman of the party.

Some of the APC governors, including those of Kaduna, Bauchi, Kogi, Kano and Jigawa who had favoured his return later switched their support to Mr Oshiomhole.

A national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, who in 2014 stoutly backed Mr Odigie-Oyegun’s emergence against a former foreign affairs minister, Tom Ikimi, also rooted for his replacement.

Mr Tinubu had publicly demanded the exit of the chairman in 2016 over the handling of the Ondo governorship primary election which produced Governor Rotimi Akeredolu. Earlier this year, the former Lagos governor accused Mr Odigie-Oyegun of frustrating his efforts to reconcile aggrieved members of the party, an assignment Mr Buhari gave him.

To be sure, the endorsement of Mr Oshiomhole for his position informed Mr Odigie-Oyegun’s decision to opt out of the race as it would be futile to swim against the tide.

Analysts say if he had remained in the race, he would have suffered an embarrassing defeat in the hands of those rooting for his fellow Edo man.

  1. Olusegun Oni (Deputy National Chairman, South)

Mr Oni had resigned his position a few months to contest the APC governorship primary election in his native Ekiti State.

He was governor of Ekiti between 2007 and 2010 when he was ousted by the court to pave way for Kayode Fayemi. The court ruled that Mr Fayemi, then of the defunct ACN, won the 2007 governorship election.

Mr Oni, who governed on the platform of the PDP, later defected to the newly-formed APC and became its first substantive deputy national chairman (south).

Interestingly, it was to the same Mr Fayemi he lost the primary election.

Although he did not indicate his plan to return to his position, while he was away, some aspirants, including a former governor of Ekiti State, Adeniyi Adebayo, emerged seeking to replace Mr Oni as deputy national chairman.

  1. Muiz Banire (National Legal Adviser):

Mr Banire, 52, hails from Lagos. The lawyer was a major political ally of Mr Tinubu.

Until he became the chief law officer of the APC in 2014, Mr Banire had served the national legal adviser of the ACN. Before then he had served as a three-time commissioner in Mr Tinubu’s government and the succeeding Babatunde Fashola administration.

In 2016, he offered to resign as the APC national legal adviser following an allegation of bribery of a judge but the party rejected the offer.

Mr Banire may have opted not to seek re-election because of disagreement with the party leadership in Lagos State.

His persistent campaign against the imposition of candidates, especially in the last council election in the state, set him at loggerheads with the party leadership.

At some point, the APC national legal adviser had threatened to sue Henry Ajomale, the immediate past chairman of the party in Lagos, over the primary election in Odi-Olowo Development Area.

Mr Banire was also bitter with the Lagos State government for demolishing his mother’s property last November. He, in fact, accused the governor, Akinwumi Ambode, of persecuting him.

For constantly criticising the governor and the party leadership, some members of the party indeed demanded his expulsion from the party.

Apparently because of the animosity with the government and APC state leadership, the APC national legal adviser boycotted the state congress as well as the parallel congress organised by Fouad Oki, a former ally of Mr Tinubu.

There were speculations that Mr Banire was behind the conduct of the parallel congress.

But in a statement he issued after the congresses, the lawyer denied being behind Mr Oki and that he was not fighting Mr Tinubu as reported.

He said there was no contest between him and Mr Tinubu, adding that the former governor remained “undoubtedly” his leader.

  1. Bala Mohammed Gwagwarwa (National Treasurer)

Mr Gwagwarwa is also not returning, no thanks to the frigid relationship between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor, Rabi’u Kwankwaso. Both political gladiators belong to different factions of APC in the state.

Mr Gwagwarwa is a member of the Kwankwasiyya movement, a group floated by Mr Kwankwaso. Mr Ganduje, on his part, founded the Gandujiyya Movement and he is pushing for one of his allies to replace Mr Gwagwarwa.

It is believed that the outgoing national auditor dropped his ambition of returning to the office because he does not have the backing of the Mr Ganduje who is rooting for his replacement.

But beyond the local Kano politics, some of the governors in the zone which comprises seven states are itching to take the position from Kano.

Indeed, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State, who is also the chairman of the National Convention Committee, is angling to produce the next national auditor from his state. At present, Jigawa has only an ex-officio at the APC national secretariat in Abuja.

  1. Dasuki Ibrahim Jalo (National Youth Leader)

Mr Jalo is the son of First Republic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ibrahim Jalo Waziri, who later became a senator between 1979 and 1983.

He was appointed the youth leader of the APC in 2014.

Since he emerged the youth leader, Mr Jalo has reportedly been instrumental to the harmonisation of the youth structure by creating an effective working relationship between the youth leaders and the party structure.

The Gombe-born politician is however not returning to his position as he failed to take advantage of the opportunity given to outgoing officials of the party to seek reelection.

Mr Jalo’s decision not seek reelection may have flowed from the controversy that trailed his emergence as a national youth leader in 2014.

Shortly after his election, there was controversy over his true age. While he claimed to be 43 at the time, others said he was 52, an age which ruled him out of the youth age bracket.

One of the fiercest critics was the then ruling PDP, which through its then-spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, expressed shock the APC “chose to lie over an issue as ordinary as the age of a national officer.”

Also, some youth of the APC also lambasted their leaders for appointing Mr Jalo as the youth leader.

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