THIS week is a decisive one for the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Practically, the committee is faced with two options: Conduct the National Convention on February 26 or be disbanded by President Muhammadu Buhari, a source told Vanguard, yesterday.
As it is, the committee is in the middle of two powerful contending forces: Those who want the convention on February 26 and those against it. Both forces have governors elected on the platform of the party and some critical stakeholders as members.
Indeed, six days to the proposed national convention, aspirants jostling for various national positions have asked the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC, to postpone the exercise because the February 26 date is no longer feasible.
They spoke on the banner of ‘Forum of Aspirants for 2022 National Convention,’ the contestants in a letter signed by Mr. Maxwell Yakubu Gowon, an aspirant for National Youth Leader and chairman of all aspirants forum; and Mr. Mohammed Bala Mohammed, aspirant for National Secretary, who also doubles as Secretary for the Forum. They urged Governor Buni to “critically examine the various agitations in different states of the country”, adding that, “the feelers are not pleasant, and with the benefit of hindsight, it would indeed spell doom if the party goes ahead with the national convention under such circumstances.”
However, top party sources said President Buhari would disband the CECPC and put up another Convention Committee over alleged compromise of Governor Buni with some Governors, who are said to be pushing personal agenda ahead of 2023.
According to sources, the President is not comfortable with extending the tenure of the CECPC, against the backdrop that this had been done twice. The only option is send the Committee home if it cannot conduct the convention.
It would be recalled that the Buni-led Caretaker committee got the nod of the party’s hierarchy and the president to stay on for a six-month extended period in December, 2020 and also got a vote of confidence from the Progressive Governors’ Forum, the umbrella body of governors elected on the platform of the APC. As things stand, it will be difficult to hold the national convention on February 26.
Sources in the CECPC said the committee wants “the ruling party to get it right. There will be six bye-elections on February 26. We don’t want to disenfranchise members and leaders of the APC taking part in the bye-elections. The committee has fulfilled eight of the nine promises it made at inauguration. It has rescued and stabilised the party. It is building peace that attracted more lawmakers and governors raising the number of APC governors from 19 to 22 and giving the party two-third majority in the National Assembly. It did membership registration, which gave the party 41 million members, making it the largest party in Africa. The national convention is the last task before the CECPC and it wants to get it right first time by carrying all stakeholders along. Going to the convention with a divided front will not augur well.”