Oyegun, Others in Last-Ditch Effort to Remain in Office

  •  Want tenure extension by affirmation
  •  APC North-central zone insists on elective convention

Tobi Soniyi in Lagos

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and other members of his executive have not given up on their plans to remain in office as they have made a last minute ditch effort to sabotage the party’s convention slated for May 14, 2018.
The new plan, according to people who are familiar with the issue, is to push for a convention by affirmation and not election.
The plan is to ensure that executives at all levels retain their positions by affirmation.

At a meeting of the North-central zone of the party held last weekend in Jos at the office of the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, some Oyegun loyalists pushed the suggestion that the convention be held by affirmation.

“However, others who read through the plans vehemently raised objection and opposed the idea,” a source who attended the meeting told THISDAY.

Eventually, the zonal meeting agreed that the convention should be by election.
The meeting was attended by state governors from the zone. The governors who could not attend sent their deputies.
Members of the National Assembly from the zone also attended.

The meeting also unanimously expressed support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid and called on all members of the party in the zone to work for the president’s re-election.

Members of the party are divided over whether the party should hold congresses and national convention to elect new executives across board.

While some wanted the present executives to continue in office following the one-year extension granted them, others called for election to replace the existing executives.

Those who wanted extension of time for executives at all levels appeared to have carried the day until President Buhari suddenly realised that extending the tenure of the executives by a year violated both the party and the country’s constitution.

Many view the president’s sudden change of heart to please the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, whose support he critically needs to win votes in the South-west for his re-election.

The party had in a notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the timetable for its congresses and national convention.

The letter with reference number: ‘APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/018/010’ and titled “Notice of Conduct of Congresses/National Convention” signed by the APC National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, the party scheduled Ward congresses for May 2, 2018; local government congresses, May 5, 2018; State congresses, May 9, 2018 and national convention, May 14, 2018.

The notice read: “We write to advise that our party is scheduled to conduct ward, local government, state congresses and national convention to fill vacant offices arising from effluxion of time or appointment into government offices, death and other reasons as stipulated in Article 17 of our party’s constitution.

“Please be informed that we also intend to conduct special local government congresses to elect delegates to our forthcoming national convention.

“Meanwhile, this serves as a formal notice in line with the provision of Electoral Act.”
Until the convention is held, each group will continue to make efforts to make sure that its position prevails.

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