The adoption of zoning by the All Progressives Congress (APC) has pushed the battle in the ruling party to the states and zones.
It was learnt yesterday that consultations, horse-trading and negotiations have started among governors and party leaders.
The six geopolitical zones have set machinery in motion on how to build consensus on how members of the National Working Committee (NWC) would emerge during the party’s convention on March 26.
A source confirmed to The Nation that governors from Northcentral have met with the pioneer Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, who is one of the seven contestants from the zone.
After several hours of meeting of progressive governors and a parley with President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC leadership on Tuesday announced that it had agreed to zone the office of its national chairman to the Northcentral.
Adamu was speculated to have the ears of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was unclear last night if governors plan to meet with other chairmanship aspirants from the zone. The aspirants are: former governors Umar Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa) and George Akume (Benue); Mallam Saliu Mustapha (Turaki Ilorin); Sen. Sani Mohammed Musa (Niger); one-time House of Representatives Chief Whip Bawa Bwari and the Mohammed Etsu.
Sources said former Senate President Ken Nnamani enjoys the backing of the presidency, most governors and party leaders to for the office of the Deputy National Chairman, which the party has zoned to the Southeast.
But in the Northeast, the governors are battling to impose former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff as the Deputy National Chairman (North), which has been ceded to the zone.
It was learnt that some governors are opposed to Farouk Adamu Aliyu becoming the National Vice Chairman (Northwest).
One of the sources told our reporters in confidence, said the battle for major offices in APC has started with governors keeping choice posts their loyalists in the.
The source said: “Horse-trading has started at the national and zonal levels of the party with attention paid to strategic positions. The President’s preference for consensus has made governors and party leaders to begin consultations.
“As expected, attention is being paid to key offices like the National Chairman, Deputy National Chairman (North), Deputy National Chairman (South), National Secretary, National Organising Secretary, National Legal Adviser and Treasurer.
“We are hopeful that the same consultative process will be extended to six other aspirants as part of consensus building in the zone.
“Although the Southeast was not enthusiastic about the office of the Deputy National Chairman (South) to the zone, it is clearer that some members of the kitchen cabinet of Buhari, some governors and party leaders prefer a former President of the Senate, Sen. Ken Nnamani for the office.”
As for the Deputy National Chairman (North) which is zoned to the Northeast, some governors have vowed to resist of Sheriff as the choice.
The source said: “The governors in the zone are consulting on who to adopt instead of Sheriff, who has the backing of some power brokers.
“Sheriff, who appears to be in the dark over the situation of APC, has reportedly left Nigeria for London.
“Other party leaders under consideration are the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Gombe State, Abubakar Kari (who was a former National Organising Secretary of APC); the incumbent Borno State Chairman of APC, Hon. Ali Bukar Dalori; and Mustapha Salihu from Adamawa, who is being promoted by some members of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC). He was once a National Vice Chairman (Northeast) of APC.
“Yobe State is also trying to present a candidate but since it is presently occupying the position of national chairman, the state ought to allow others in the Northeast to occupy key party offices.”
Regarding the post of National Vice Chairman (Northwest), the source said some governors are uncomfortable with presidential preference for Farouk Adamu Aliyu.
A source added: “It was shocking to Governor Abubakar Badaru that Aliyu, who is not on the same page with him in Jigawa State, will now lord over him at the party level.
“It was a setback for Badaru whose influence looms larger in the party in the last one and half years.”
Investigation showed that the next three weeks might be devoted to more horse-trading.
Another source added: “The outcome of zonal congresses may lead to the rejection of some aspirants. Such results may tie the hands of the President.
”A select in-house committee has recommended to that the President should host a session with the National Caucus on his favoured aspirants in order to weigh the consequences of their choices on the party’s fortunes in 2023.
“We don’t know whether or not Buhari will seek the advice of the National Caucus or not.