South-West politicians from the Congress for Progressive Change bloc in the All Progressives Congress are set to lose out at the national convention following their rejection by governors in the region, The PUNCH has learnt.
The defunct CPC bloc is made up of politicians, who joined Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to merge with the Action Congress of Nigeria to form the APC in 2013 before he won the 2015 presidential election.
The PUNCH learnt that a former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who is running for the national secretary of the APC; and the Executive Director, Niger Delta Power Holding, Ife Oyedele, were being resisted by the APC governors in the South-West.
It was also learnt that a former Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Iyiola Omisore, might be endorsed as the national secretary ahead of a former Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Zaccheus Adedeji.
Also, Dayo Israel was tipped to emerge as the national youth leader of the APC. Sources told The PUNCH that the unity list of the South-West governors was expected to be released in the coming days.
A top source in the APC said, “There are attempts by some people in Abuja to impose some of the CPC elements on the South-West. Let me restate that the governors are the leaders of the party. We have met and have micro-zoned the positions given to our region.
“We will not tolerate any interference from outside. Shittu, Oyedele and others have lost out completely.”
External forces trying to impose persons on S’West, says Akeredolu
In a statement on Sunday, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman, South-West Governors’ Forum, said the governors had agreed on micro-zoning, adding that those scheming from outside the region were only trying to cause confusion.
Akeredolu said in the statement titled, ‘External forces trying to impose persons on South-West’, that a former Chairman of the APC in the state, Isaac Kekemeke, had been endorsed as the national vice chairman for the South-West.
The statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, stated that all the governors of the South-West had endorsed Kekemeke.
It read in part, “This is to confirm that one of our own, the former APC state chairman, Duerimini Isaac Kekemeke, is in the race for the position of the National Vice-Chairman (South-West). Kekemeke has the full backing of Governor Akeredolu and his brother governors in the South-West.
“It should be noted that critical stakeholders in the South-West had earlier micro-zoned the positions that were brought to the region. Among these were the national vice-chairman, which was retained in Ondo, and the secretary, which was micro-zoned to the Oyo/Osun axis.
“For emphasis, what we are going for is national vice-chairman with Kekemeke as our candidate, and not national secretary. Those outside the South-West, who are attempting to micro-zone our offices for us in the South-West, are only creating unnecessary confusion and any such of their permutations outside the decision of stakeholders in the South-West should be ignored.”
A member of the Senate, who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity, said, “The game plan is to make Abdullahi Adamu the national chairman of the party and Farouk Aliyu, a former House of Representatives member from Jigawa State as the deputy chairman.
“They are working with some people in the Presidency to ensure the emergence of Rotimi Amaechi as the APC presidential candidate. Their plan is clearly against the wishes of the majority of the party members, who believe that a man with his own personal political structure should emerge as the candidate. They have already met with the President and they claimed that Buhari bought into their game plan.”
Adamu had on Friday unveiled a newly renovated edifice as his campaign office at Area 11, Garki area of Abuja, which was attended by lawmakers backing his chairmanship bid.
The attendees included the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege; Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Majority Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu; Adamu Aliero and Ali Ndume, among others.
Ndume told journalists that he was supporting Adamu due to the ex-governor’s competence and blunt attitude to social and political issues.
“I am supporting Abdullahi Adamu, because he is the most qualified and courageous among the aspirants. Adamu is somebody who cannot be influenced by money. He is not afraid to say anything in favour of whatever he believes in,” Ndume said.
At the House, it was observed that some lawmakers attended either of the meetings with Adamu and Al-Makura. However, there were those who were at both meetings.
In a related development, some of the aspirants have expressed displeasure over the postponement of the screening of aspirants ahead of the convention.
Speaking with journalists on Sunday, the Director-General of the Al-Makura Campaign Troupe, Dominic Alancha, said the party had not informed the aspirants about the screening, which he said was a crucial precursor to the forthcoming convention.
He said “It’s worrisome because as I speak with you, there is no official communication as to when we are coming for screening. The earlier advert was that yesterday (Saturday) was for zonal offices, while today would be for the National Working Committee. And I went there today to confirm whether there would be screening at the screening committee’s secretariat at the NICON Luxury, and nobody was there.
“Even as of 11am, nothing was going on there to show that the screening was going to take place. So, we had to call one or two friends to find out from them, who are now telling us that this screening may not hold until maybe tomorrow or next tomorrow. They are not sure yet.”
The screening of aspirants for zonal party offices earlier slated for Saturday failed to hold as more aspirants were still submitting nomination forms, The PUNCH learnt on Saturday. The exercise was shifted to Sunday.
A PUNCH correspondent at the screening venue observed no activity.
A top party source told one of our correspondents that the Aminu Masari-led national convention subcommittee on screening was not aware of the earlier arrangement, which scheduled the exercise for Saturday and Sunday.
The source noted that to make up for lost time, the subcommittee would be divided into six groups, each to screen aspirants from the six geopolitical zones vying for offices on three levels; National Working Committee, non-national working committee and zonal.
The source stated, “The committee members are currently more than four. They gave the chairman a full list of those who will be on the committee. The committee members will now be divided into six to screen aspirants from each zone.
“Each six will be further divided into three units. Unit ‘A’ will handle the National Working Committee. Unit ‘B’ will handle the non-NWC aspirants and Unit ‘C’ will handle zonal officers so that they can finish their job in one day and present their report to the appeal committee.”