Bisi Akande likely to emerge

Timi Frank faults Oyegun on spokesperson for the party

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Ahead of next week’s crucial meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the stakeholders in the party appear to have been torn apart over who will be crowned as the chairman of the board.

The National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had said the National Working Committee (NWC) had approved March 21 for the national caucus meeting, while the BoT and the National Executive Council (NEC) would take place on March 22 and 24 respectively.

Latest indications are that two zones, the South-west and North-east, have emerged hot favourites to secure the leadership of the most respected organ of the party.

Also, the leading candidates from the zones who are in race are the former interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, and the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

The present calculations are that because of the envisaged elderly role that the BoT members are expected to play, the leadership must not be allowed to emerge under a polarised atmosphere.

A reliable party source told THISDAY that some northern leaders who are pushing for the emergence of the former vice president, had argued that it would not be right for the chairman of the BoT to come from the same South where the chairman is from.

He said they were of the view that the two most important party positions should not be held by one part of the country if balance and equity is to be guaranteed

However, those pressing for the emergence of Akande who hails from Osun State in the South-west are of the view that BoT chairman should not come from the North where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from.

From all indications, it seems the argument of the South-west leaders to secure backing for Akande is gaining ground and if they are able to convince key leaders in the North, Akande might emerge the pioneer chairman of the BoT of the party.

He said: “South-west is having upper hand because currently, the North-west produced the president, North-east produced the speaker while the North-central has produced the Senate President.
It was also gathered that one of the national leaders of the party from the North-east who was nursing ambition of BoT chairman might have soft-pedalled if not dropped his ambition.

Meanwhile, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Comrade Timi Frank, has described as reckless, baseless and unwarranted the assertion by the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, that finding a replacement for Lai Mohammed is posing a challenge to the party.

Oyegun had told journalists at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja that the party was finding difficult nominate Mohammed’s replacement.

Until he was appointed the Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed was the National Publicity Secretary of the party.

However, while reacting to the Oyegun’s statement, Frank faulted it, saying that the search for a replacement shouldn’t have arisen when there was a deputy who would step into the shoes of Mohammed.

He stated that the statement was malicious and was meant to discredit him and the party, stressing that there were many party men and women who can fill the vacant positions in the party.

“I disagree with Oyegun on his comment with regards to the replacement of Minister Lai Mohammed. The statement made by him is reckless, baseless and unwarranted.

“I am the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party and as such can act in the absence of the national publicity secretary. I am also qualified to act as a substantive publicity secretary of the party.

“The statement is malicious, insulting and meant to discredit my person as well as the party by saying it is difficult to fill the office from the present caliber of party men and women we have.

“As a good party man, Oyegun aught to have informed the public about the next convention date to fill all vacancies but not to use the medium to discredit my person and the party,” he said.