Six days to APC national convention: Venue uncertain, aspirants yet to pick forms

SIX days to the national convention of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the venue of the event is yet to be disclosed.

Although some reports indicate the party wrote the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a letter dated February 4, 2022, that the convention will hold in Abuja, the APC is yet to formally announce the decision.

The national convention, where the party will elect a new national chairman and other members of its National Working Committee (NWC), is scheduled for February 26.


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The party is currently led by the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) headed by Yobe State governor Mai Mala Buni.

Buni was silent on the venue when he announced the date of the national convention on January 18.

The venue was also not disclosed in a letter dated February 2, 2022, in which the CECPC notified the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its decision to hold the national convention on February 26.

There are expectations that, like the October 2021 national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the APC convention will also take place at Eagle Square, in Abuja.

However, unlike the situation in the APC, the PDP officially announced Abuja as the venue when the party took a decision on the national convention at its 92nd National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on August 28, 2021.

The APC caretaker chairman Buni only announced the date of the national convention while addressing party members at the Progressives Women Congress in Abuja.

APC behind schedule on key activities in national convention timetable

Uncertainty over the venue of the exercise is not the only issue that has led to suggestions that the APC national convention will be shifted.

Checks by The ICIR on February 20 reveal that the party has fallen behind schedule on key items in the timetable of the national convention.

The timetable was announced by National Secretary of the CECPC John Akpanudoedehe, after a meeting on January 19, where the timetable/schedule of activities for the national convention were considered and adopted.

Only three items on the timetable have been carried out.

The activities that were carried out according to the schedule in the timetable are submission of the interim report of the National Reconciliation Committee, on January 31; consideration and adoption of reports of State Congresses, on February 2; and inauguration of the state executives, on February 3.

According to the timetable, the sale of forms to all aspirants vying for national offices was scheduled to commence at the APC National Secretariat on February 14.

But the sale of forms, which is a key element of the national convention, did not start on February 14 as scheduled and is yet to commence since then.

As a result, aspirants who have been campaigning for various positions in the APC National Working Committee (NWC) are yet to purchase forms to officially indicate their intention to contest for the offices at the national convention.

The timetable also scheduled submission of completed forms and accompanying documents at the APC National Secretariat on or before February 19.

But with the sale of forms yet to commence, completed forms and accompanying documents could not be submitted as scheduled.

The timetable also stated that members of various national convention sub-committees would be constituted and published on February 19. It did not happen.

Following the failure to carry out key items on the timetable, particularly the sale and submission of forms, and the constitution of sub-committees, it is unlikely that the APC will meet up with other activities that are still within the scheduled date.

The activities on the timetable that are still within the scheduled date are Screening of all aspirants vying for National Offices, February 20 to February 22; Screening Appeals to hear and resolve complaints arising from the screening exercise, February 23; Accreditation of all statutory and elected delegates to the national convention, February 24 to February 25; National convention to elect national officers to the National Executive Committee, February 26; and National Convention Appeal to hear and resolve complaints arising from the national convention, February 28.

Aspirants want convention postponed

Amid the confusion surrounding the APC national convention, some aspirants have called for the postponement of the event.

The aspirants, under the aegis of Forum of Aspirants for 2022 National Convention, in a letter to the Buni-led CECPC, said the date for the convention – February 26 – was no longer feasible. They insisted that the exercise should be postponed.

The letter was signed by Maxwell Yakubu Gowon, an aspirant for the position of national youth leader, and Mohammed Bala Mohammed, who is aspiring for the office of national secretary.

Gowon and Mohammed are chairman and secretary of the aspirants’ forum, respectively.

In the letter, the aspirants urged the CECPC to critically examine the problems in different state chapters of the party.

Noting that “the feelers are not pleasant”, the group warned that “it would indeed spell doom if the party goes ahead with the national convention under such circumstances”.

National Secretary of the CECPC John Akpanudoedehe did not respond to calls when The ICIR reached out to him on February 20 over uncertainties surrounding the national convention.

An SMS sent to Akpanudoedehe was also not replied as at the time of filing this report.

In the SMS, The ICIR asked whether the national convention will still go ahead on February 26.






     

     

    The ICIR also sought Akpanudoedehe’s reaction to reports that the CECPC was not willing to conduct the national convention and was rather seeking to extend its tenure.

    The CECPC has been running the affairs of the APC since June 25, 2020, following the removal of the last elected national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, on June 16, 2020.

    The CECPC was expected to organise a national convention in December 2020 but failed to do so.

    The Buni-led CECPC has remained in office since and had its tenure extended three times.

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