•Releases convention timetable, beefs up security at secretariat
•Chieftain condemns alleged zoning of chairmanship to N’west as Shinkafi joins race
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has denied reports that it had zoned some party positions ahead of its national convention slated for February 26.
The National Secretary of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Senator James Akpanudoedehe, who described the report in some sections of the media (not THISDAY) as untrue, said the committee has yet to take a position on zoning.
But the party leadership has, however, released the convention timetable and programme of activities, even as it has beefed up security around the party’s secretariat.
In the same breath, the immediate past National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Sani Shinkafi, has also joined the APC chairmanship race of the party.
However, the secretary, while giving an update on the state of the party, said, “We are also here to rebuff the fake news going round the social media that we have zoned party offices; we are yet to meet on the issue of zoning.”
The Caretaker Committee at its 19th regular meeting yesterday considered and adopted the timetable/schedule of activities for the convention.
The party said sales of forms to all aspirants vying for national offices would commence on February 14th, while submission of completed forms and accompanying documents at party secretariat was slated on or before February 19.
The APC scheduled the publication of sub-committees for February 19th, while screening of all aspirants vying for national offices would take place between February 20th and 22nd.
Also, the party said the sitting of appeal panels to hear and resolve complaints arising from the screening exercise has been slated for February 23, while accreditation of all statutory and elected delegates to the National Convention was scheduled for February 24th and 25th.
It concluded that the national convention to elect national officers to the National Executive Committee (NEC) would take place on the 26th, while the National Convention Appeal was scheduled for February 28.
Against this backdrop, the APC leadership has beefed up security at the party secretariat in Abuja as the meeting of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (APC) entered the second day.
The Caretaker committee could not reach a logical conclusion on the venue, and modalities of the convention of the party slated for February 26. The increased security presence at party’s headquarters might not be unconnected to the continued power play that forced the committee to fix February 26 for the party’s convention.
Men of the Nigerian Police Fire were stationed at strategic locations along the Blantyre Street of the secretariat.
A party source hinted that the increase security presence was more like a routine exercise, adding that most times, the party also took action based on intels, and that there would be several meetings on the composition of sub-committees for the national convention, hence the need to ensure safety of everyone.
Meanwhile, member of the party from Bayelsa State, Mr. Ambrosini Sambo, has described the alleged zoning of the APC chairmanship to the North West as a plot to destroy the party.
Sambo, who spoke with journalists yesterday in Abuja, said there were plans to impose a chairman on the party through the rumoured zoning to the North-west.
“This spells doom for the party. The decision to impose this candidate from the North-West on the party as the chairman will destabilise the party. Every well-meaning party member should not support this.
“This is the plan of the enemies APC to destroy the party which we fought so hard to build, we will resist this move. The party Chairman is open to other zones to contest,” he said.
He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in what he described as injustice to the party before it would be too late.
On his party, Shinkafi, who just joined the APC chairmanship race, is believed to being sponsored by the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle.
He, however, said the state was not ready to lose the slot considering the fact that a former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari, who had indicated interest to contest for the position was technically not a member of the ruling party at the moment.
He insisted that during the recent revalidation and registration exercise conducted in the state, Yari and some other party stakeholders in the state refused to participate.
The chairmanship aspirant argued that contrary to perception, he was not in the race to whittle down the influence and chances of Yari, but explained that Yari’s decision to boycott the revalidation and registeration exercise has already disqualified him from the race.
“To me Abdulaziz Yari knows who I am. He’s one of my best friends in those days before he became governor and turned himself into a mini-god. Before me and Matawalle became friends, I have been friends with Yari.
“As far as the national record of APC is concerned, in my text of press briefing, I have made more emphasis on the credible and verifiable membership register. I challenge you and I challenge everyone here to go and meet Abdulazeez Yari and ask him, let him show you his authentic and revalidated membership card as a card carrying member of APC.
“As far as we are concerned, he is already automatically disqualified from this race and based on that I don’t want our state to take risk of not participating, or not taking slot in our great party and I have decided to join the race. You can go and verify from his ward, his name is not on the register and he doesn’t have authentic membership card,” Shinkafi stated.
He said if and when elected as national chairman of the party, he would reposition and reorganise the party based on its philosophy of social democracy, which basically meant people-oriented, membership mobilisation and recruitment and mass based political organisation.