NIGERIA’S ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), formally notified the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its decision to hold a national convention on February 26.
The party will elect a new national chairman and other members of its National Working Committee (NWC) at the convention.
But the venue of the national convention remains uncertain.
About three weeks to the date of the national convention, the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) headed by Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni has not announced where the event will take place.
The venue was not disclosed in a letter dated February 2 in which the CECPC notified INEC of the forthcoming national convention.
In the letter jointly signed by Buni and the Secretary of the CECPC John Akpanudoedehe, the APC caretaker leadership informed the electoral commission that the national convention would hold on February 26.
Parts of the letter addressed to the INEC chairman read: “Follow up to our letter referenced APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/021/40 dated 11th July, 2021 on the Notice for the Conduct of National Convention.
“This is to inform the Commission that our great Party has scheduled to hold its National Convention on Saturday, 26th February 2022.
“This serves as a formal notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 85 of the Electoral Act (2010) as amended.
“Kindly arrange for your officials to monitor the exercise accordingly.
“While hoping to receive your cooperation, please accept the assurances of our highest esteem.”
Going by provisions of the Electoral Act, the APC had until February 5 to notify the commission of the national convention.
Section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act stated: “A registered political party shall give the commission at least 21 days notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified under this Act.”
Having notified INEC of the convention in the letter dated February 2, APC has been able to meet up with the Electoral Act deadline with just about three days left.
After intense pressure from some party stakeholders who insisted on the national convention, APC caretaker chairman Buni, on January 18, announced that the exercise would take place on February 26.
But there have been concerns that the party will not be proceeding with the convention on that date.
As the CECPC delayed in transmitting a notice of the convention to INEC, some stakeholders in the party under the aegis of APC Youth Development and Solidarity Forum rejected the February 26 date.
The group, at a press briefing in Abuja on January 17, warned that the party might disintegrate if it went ahead with the convention on the date.
Secretary General of the group Tobias Ogbeh alleged that some party members were working with foreign agents to destabilise the APC at the convention.
Ogbeh further warned that the alleged plot involved the emergence of a parallel secretariat with attendant lawsuits aimed at ensuring that the APC did not produce any candidate in the 2023 general elections.
Warning that the scheduled February 26 national convention could result in a mass exodus of party members, the group urged the APC leadership to announce another date for the convention.