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APC Convention: Consensus chairmanship divides aspirants

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By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Editor

There is division among national chairmanship aspirants in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the consensus candidacy proposed by Yobe Governor Mai Mala Buni-led National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.

Although the committee hinged the proposal on the need to reduce acrimony, some aspirants have intensified lobby for elective convention and a level playing ground ahead of the exercise.

There is no definite date for the convention but the cries over the alleged illegality of the interim committee, led by Buni, may hasten the speed towards the national congress.

According to sources, the camps of two former governors of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura; Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and their counterpart from Benue State, Senator George Akume, are insisting on a democratic exercise, instead of consensus and imposition.

It is believed that these eminent founding chieftains are eyeing the position vacated by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in controversial circumstance last year.

Other likely aspirants are Abubakar Mustapha, Sani Musa, Danjuma Goje and Modu Sherif.

However, some members of the disbanded National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Working Committee, (NWC) are also clamouring for their reinstatement, following the Supreme Court majority judgement in Akeredolu/Eyitayo case, which appeared to have rejected the legality and legitimacy of the caretaker committee.

Last month, the National Secretary of the committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, stirred controversy when he said the party was recommending the consensus for the election of national chairman.

He explained the party leadership was confronting the challenge of integrating new defectors and accommodating various interests.

Akpaedoehede said: “We have more and more governors from opposition political parties, especially the PDP, who are coming to join us with thousands of their supporters; we have to make room for them.

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“While doing so, we don’t want to take steps to push out those who are already within.

“We are encouraging states to adopt the consensus arrangement because it saves costs and reduces acrimony. That is why when you look at Article 20 of our constitution which talks about elections, the first thing there is for members to try reaching a consensus. When that fails, then you go to cast ballots.”

The ruling party had also unfolded plans to shock the main opposition the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by adopting consensus to elect its presidential candidate for the 2023 general election.

However, APC had proposed the plan without wide consultations and agreement among its various stakeholders.

Rejecting the consensus chairmanship option, a House of Representatives member and one of the campaign managers for an aspirant, said the option was suspicious and unacceptable.

He wondered why some chieftains were afraid of elections in democracy.

The legislator said:” Let us go to the convention and let a popular candidate win. An election is all about winners and losers. You can’t win all the time.

“The winner will always do the needful by commencing reconciliation processes after his victory. But, to impose a candidate as a consensus option will be resisted.”

Also, a chieftain, who feared that consensus may breed crisis, said: “The proposed consensus would defeat the idea of freedom of choice that defines democracy, adding that it may lead to the emergence of an unpopular candidate.”

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According to him: “The PDP in all its troubles conducted an elective national convention that eventually produced Prince Uche Secondus,” adding that APC should not avoid that democratic path.

A group, APC stakeholders, also objected to the idea of selecting a former governor as the national chairman, saying that some of them may carry arrogance and impunity into the office, thereby affecting the smooth running of party administration.

In a statement by their leaders, Musa Musawa and Adamu Kaguru and Wahab Omolori, APC stakeholders said the party have competent chieftains who can lead the platform.

Kaguru said: “We know what led to the formation of the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee. We know also what the party was about to face before the intervention. Let us be guided before making another mistake.

“We have nothing against the former governors as members of the APC, but we are worried about the modus operandi in running of political parties. They tend to behave as if they are still executive governors. They brook no opposing view.”

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