There are strong indications that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would soon land itself in what could be best described as a leadership conundrum.
This follows the decision Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the review of the timelines available to the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), chaired by Governor Mai-Mala Buni of Yobe State.
With no specific date for the CECPC to bow out, when it already served for one year since the former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole was removed in June 2020, following court judgement, it is difficult to discern when a substantive national leadership of the party would be elected.
The Buni-led Committee was initially given six months within which to amongst others, organise a convention to elect a National Working Committee (NWC) to replace the Oshiomhole-led NWC that was ousted.
However, the tenure was extended by another six months with the same mandate to organise a convention which the Committee could not and its tenure has again been reviewed indefinitely.
Already, there are rumblings in APC over the continuous stay of the Caretaker Committee which according to critical stakeholders could have a boomeranging effect on the party’s chances in the 2023 general election.
For instance, Salihu Lukman, director-general of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) had two months ago, warned that
under no circumstances should there be any contemplation of extending the tenure of the party’s Caretaker Committee.
Lukman said the failure to organise a national convention in June 2021 will simply mean that the Caretaker Committee is not interested in protecting the electoral viability of the party.
“There should be no debate about whether the National Convention of APC should hold in June or not. What is debatable is the issues that will emerge in the National Convention, which should include the election of leaders and amendment to provisions of the constitution to make it more compelling for meetings of organs of the party to hold as required,” he said.
According to him, “Whether APC will be able to pass all its litmus tests will depend a lot on whether the Caretaker Committee is committed to finishing its assignment by June 2021.”
President granted approval for the review of the Committee’s tenure after consideration of the Progress Report, the schedule of outstanding activities with regards to Congresses, the National Convention and the forthcoming Anambra Governorship election.
He also approved the timetable for APC Ward, Local Government and State Congresses which showed that Ward Congresses will hold on 24th July 2021 followed by Local Government Congresses on 14th August 2021 and State Congresses on 18th September 2021.
The CECPC National Secretary, John-James Akpanudoedehe in a statement said by the approval, the tenure of the caretaker committees at each level from Ward, Local Government, State and National will end immediately elections are held at their respective levels and officers immediately take an oath of office terminating with the National Convention.
According to Akpanudoedehe, the CECPC National Chairman, Buni at the meeting conveyed the profound gratitude of members of the Committee to the President and members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for the trust, confidence and the opportunity given to them to serve the party.
Buni informed the President that the CECPC had during the period under review led the party to contest in several elections and by-elections with overall success rate of 95 percent.
He informed the President that the Committee commenced its assignment with a desire to foster genuine reconciliation on solid foundation, by giving all issues and every aggrieved member fair hearing and objectively placing party interests above individual interests.
Buni disclosed that Caretaker has concluded payment of the outstanding balance and has taken over the ownership of the building housing the APC National Secretariat which would be named ‘Buhari House’.
The CECPC National Chairman told the President that as part of measures to reposition the party, the Committee found it expedient to establish the numerical strength of the party as provided by the party’s constitution and help strengthen the party’s planning processes for congresses, conventions and general elections.
“It is with a sense of satisfaction that I submit to Your Excellency that the exercise was successfully executed with a record of over 40 million members who either registered as new members or revalidated their membership with the party,” Buni stated.
The former APC National Secretary also informed Buhari that the Constitution Amendment/Review Committee has concluded its assignment after conducting public hearings in all the six geo-political zones with 500 memoranda received from party members.
He stated that plans are being made to submit the new constitution to the President before presentation to the convention for ratification.
Buni said that the CECPC inherited liability of unpaid legal fees to the tune of N340million, but has successfully negotiated and brought down the fees to N179 million which is now fully paid.