APC NEC Meeting: Governors Move To Use State Chairmen Against Buhari

About 18 All Progressives Congress (APC) governors yesterday moved against a plot to use state chairmen of the party against President Muhammadu Buhari at the National Executive Committee meeting of the party on Monday.

Some leaders of the party and a few governors had on Thursday held a secret session with the state chairmen in Abuja to persuade them to mount a “block vote” against the President’s proposal for congresses and national convention.

Although the meeting was boycotted by some state chairmen, some forces behind tenure elongation were hopeful that Buhari’s proposal would be defeated on Monday.

Also, there were indications last night that the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) members are facing another dilemma if they want to re-contest their various offices.

The omnibus provisions in APC Constitution make it compulsory for Oyegun and all NWC members to resign at least 30 days prior to the date of nomination or party primary for the office he or she is seeking to contest.

But the preparation for NEC meeting was not without some drama yesterday as Oyegun shielded the report of Governor Simon Lalong Committee from NWC members.

Upon collection of the report, Oyegun cuddled it like a baby and kept it in his custody,
An investigation by our correspondent revealed that after much furore on the legality of the NEC meeting on Monday, the NWC yesterday issued letters of invitation to all statutory members of the committee.

But there had been series of secret sessions between members of the Oyegun-led NWC and state chairmen.

It was learned however that the agenda still border on either tenure elongation as desired by Oyegun and his team or the need for elective congresses and national convention.

A top source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent said: “What we have on the agenda is a continuation of the last NEC meeting.

“The agenda may include constitution amendment, the consideration of the report on true federalism and the report of Governor Simon Lalong Committee on whether the NEC should opt for tenure elongation or allow elective state congresses and national convention.

Findings, however, revealed that pro-Oyegun/NWC forces have perfected plans to create an upset against Buhari on Monday,
A reliable source said: “The pro-tenure forces, governors and NWC members are really fighting back. They have worked on some booby traps to ensure that the NEC meeting on Monday is a make or break.

“They are mobilising state chairmen to kick against state congresses and national convention in the presence of the President.

“They will insist on tenure elongation and create a rowdy mob around their agitation.

“They are already reaching out to NEC members in order to ambush the President and others supporting elective congresses and national convention to allow the simple majority to have its way and override Buhari.

“One of the plots is that Oyegun will have the final say by hitting the gavel on the final decision of NEC on any issue, especially the report of the Lalong Committee.”

But it was learned that 18 out of 24 APC governors have got wind of plans to rubbish the agreement they reached with the President on elective congresses and national convention.

One of the governors said: “We learned of how they were trying to prevail on state APC chairmen on Thursday night to insist on tenure elongation and create a scene if the President is adamant on elective congresses and national convention.
“We have launched a counter-plot against them.

“The few governors and NWC members backing tenure extension have forgotten that some of the state chairmen are working closely with most governors.

“We also learned that they are lobbying APC chairmen and leaders in states not being controlled by our party to create upset.

“We will ensure that the President is not disgraced at the NEC meeting on Monday.

“It is unfortunate that the governors who have benefitted most from President Buhari are behind the tenure extension plot.

“This row in APC has actually revealed the other side of some of these governors to President Buhari. We won’t allow them to have their way.”

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, said: “The NEC meeting will border on Constitution amendment, the report of the committee on True Federalism and the assignment the NEC gave to the NWC on the issues raised by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the last meeting, which led to the setting up of Lalong Committee.”

At press time, ahead of NEC meeting, Oyegun and his NWC members were in another dilemma if they want to re-contest for their various offices.

The omnibus provisions in APC Constitution make it compulsory for Oyegun and all NWC members to resign at least 30 days prior to the date of nomination or party primary for the office he or she is seeking to contest.

The omnibus provisions of the APC Constitution say: “Provided always that in pursuit of all the provisions herein contained in this Constitution, the following shall ensure that:
1. No person shall be eligible to contest for any Party position or be nominated by the Party to be its candidate at any election if the person is not a member of the Party.

2. All nominations into elective offices shall be supported by a specified number of nominators from the relevant Constituencies as may be prescribed or provided for in the Party’s Electoral Guidelines.

3. Any Party office holder interested in contesting for an elective office (whether party office or office in a general election) shall resign and leave office 30 days prior to the date of nomination or Party primary for the Office he or she is seeking to contest.

A member of the NWC said: “Oyegun has been cuddling the report like a baby; we have no access to it even though we ought to be aware of the contents before the NEC meeting on Monday.”

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