President, APC Governors Meet over Next Step for Party


•Reach out to Oshiomhole, NWC
•Bagudu: President happy to end distraction

By Omololu Ogunmade 

Twenty-four hours after the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) dissolved its National Working Committee (NWC), President Muhammadu Buhari and some APC governors reviewed the commentaries that followed, and moved to heel the party in the aftermath of the sack.

They have also reached out to aggrieved former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and other members of NWC in a bid to re-unite the party behind the new Caretaker committee led by Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni and end the internal crisis within it, THISDAY has learnt.

Leading Mai Mala Buni and three other APC governors to a meeting with the President in the State House yesterday, Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum and the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said NEC’s decision to do away with the NWC brought joy to many.

The party had been enmeshed in leadership crisis following a Court of Appeal order which upheld the earlier ruling of an Abuja High Court which had earlier upheld the suspension of Oshiomhole by his ward in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.

The situation got messier as three members of the NWC laid claim to the chairmanship of the party, thus resulting in a NEC meeting in the State House on Thursday, which eventually dissolved the Oshiomhole-led NWC and replaced it with a Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee.

The three other governors in the meeting with Buhari yesterday were the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF)/Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Governor of Niger State/member of the caretaker committee, Abubakar Sani-Bello and the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

Bagudu, while answering questions from journalists after the meeting, described their mission to the State House as “a thank you visit.”

He said: “This is a thank you visit to Mr. President. We thanked Mr. President for all he has been doing for the progressive family, which culminated in the visionary and momentous resolution of party disputes that took place yesterday. Testimonials, news, commentaries, media from across the country are all happy for what had been done yesterday.”

Bagudu said following the relief brought to the polity by the dissolution of the NWC, the President was happy that one distraction had been put behind and would now be able to face the task of governance.

“He is happy that at last we have one less distraction because Mr. President is conscious of the mandate given to him by Nigerians and even though he bothers a lot about his party, but what dominates his daily action are economy, security, transparency and the progress of Nigeria. So, he’s very happy.”

The governor also disclosed that one other reason they were in the State House was to formally introduce the chairman of the caretaker committee to the President and to equally thank him for appointing two of their colleagues, Niger State Governor and the his Osun State counterpart, Gboyega Oyetola, into the committee.

“At the same time, it’s to introduce, yet again, the Chairman of our Caretaker and Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, who is a very seasoned administrator and politician, the Governor of Yobe State, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, and to thank him on behalf of the Progressive Governors’ Forum for deeming it, so fit to include three governors in the committee: the Chairman, governor of Niger State and the governor of Osun State; Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola,” he said.

Bagudu said the NEC of the party did no wrong by dissolving its NWC and putting in place a caretaker committee.

The Kebbi State Governor said President Buhari, who is the leader of the party, would never do anything that is contrary to the provisions of the party’s constitution.

Asked to react to the threat by members of the dissolved NWC to challenge the dissolution in court, Bagudu insinuated that such information was only coming from the media, claiming that before the President embarked on the move, he had taken into consideration the legal implications.

According to him, the President would not have been part of the process if he was not convinced that it did not violate any constitutional provision.

He said: “Media says a lot of things, but Mr. President is very clear that he received due legal advice and remember, before the 2019 primaries, Mr. President demonstrated to everyone in this country that he will never sacrifice due process for expediency.

“Even when it was convenient to extend tenure of the then executive so that we don’t have a convention and primary at the same time, Mr. President said ‘no, no matter how tough it is, we are going to do the correct legal thing.’ So Mr. President will never do anything which the constitutional provisions of party, talk less of the country, does not allow him to do.”