*Say congresses will hold to elect new party officers at all levels
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Twenty-four hours after the meeting of All Progressive Congress (APC) governors with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja ended in stalemate, five of them met again with the president yesterday, with a resolve to abide by the party’s constitution.
The five governors, who are also staunch supporters of the president and his call for fresh party elections, are Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).
The president had at the March 27 National Executive Committee meeting of the party in Abuja called for withdrawal of the earlier extension of the tenure of the National Working Committee (NWC) and state executive councils of the party. He said such extension violated both the Nigerian constitution and that of the party.
The extension was granted by the NEC on February 27.
But on Wednesday, the governors said following their meeting with the president on Tuesday in the State House, they resolved to hold another meeting later in the night during which they resolved to abide by the president’s admonition that the provisions of the party’s constitution on elections should be upheld.
By this resolution, the APC Governors’ Forum has aligned with the president’s position that fresh congresses should be conducted from the ward to the national level.
In his briefing, Yari who admitted that they failed to brief journalists after the Tuesday meeting, claimed that there was no disagreement among them as widely reported.
On Tuesday, following the intensity of argument among them, the governors emerged from the meeting, wearing long faces and declining to answer questions from journalists. But Yari said following consultations after the meeting, they had all resolved to support the president’s position.
“Gentlemen of the press, you know yesterday we left you in the dark after the meeting and today (yesterday), we have seen so many captions that there is disagreement between the governors over the issue of party chairman or about the party leadership.
“No, we had a meeting with Mr. President yesterday (Tuesday), and we extended the meeting till night and we followed up with the consultations with the President now. We consulted and all the 24 governors of the APC are on the same page with Mr. President that we are going to respect our party constitution.
“We are going to respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, we collectively agreed that we will have congresses at all levels – local, state and and national. And the committee set up by the national secretariat of our party headed by the governor of Plateau State, is presenting its report later today (yesterday).
“The governors are also meeting with the working committee today so that we come up with convention committee names as well as timetable of the election. So, there is no deadlock in our meeting. We have progressed and very soon, you will have the names of the convention committee members as well as the timetable.”
Also briefing, Okorocha said there was no crisis among the governors but they only had to contend with the belief of some of them that there was no enough time to conduct fresh party congresses.
He said it was in the attempt to resolve the issue that it was insinuated that there was crisis among them.
Okorocha who echoed Yari that they had again met with the president and resolved to proceed with his suggestion to conduct fresh congresses leading to the election of new party leaders, added that their resolve did not imply a verdict of failure on the current leaders.
Okorocha who said the outgoing party leaders were free to participate in the proposed fresh elections in their respective domains, added that very soon election timetable would be rolled out.