The All Progressives Congress (APC) has agreed on a zoning formula that will swap offices held between North and South.
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By the arrangement, all offices that were occupied by northerners in the last eight years will go to the South and vice-versa in the coming dispensation.
In other words, the south will produce the candidate of the party for the presidential election coming up in February 2023, ending months of bated breath among the main stakeholders of the APC.
The governors tabled their decisions on the forthcoming national convention of the party before the president during the meeting which lasted for about 15 minutes.
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The agreement was revealed following a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and 19 governors elected on the platform of the APC at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday. Also at the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and the Chief of Staff to the President, Profesor Ibrahim Gambari. While briefing correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, affirmed that agreement had been reached on zoning formula.
He said, “We have agreed on a zoning formula for all the six geo-political zones. Essentially, the northern zone will have the positions the South have had in the last eight years and vice versa.
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“It is a very simple, equitable and fair formula.
“We will now go back and consult at the zonal level and look at the positions that are available and the process of the convention preparation will start in earnest.”
The Kaduna governor also affirmed that the APC governors were divided over the timing of the national convention as some were of the belief that there were many issues left unresolved.
The governor, who spoke in response to a question, said: “Yes, we were divided. We were divided over the timing of the convention, okay. There were some governors that felt that we should put off the convention until we resolve all the Congress’s issues in some states.
“As you know, in some states, these matters are even in court. So, some governors held the view that we should wait until all these are resolved. And this is not born out of any agenda or selfishness. It is just a realistic proposition to avoid us violating any laws or putting our party structures of elected candidates in danger.
“So yes, there were differences in opinion about timing. Some of us are saying the constitution allows us to have a convention even if three or four states have issues that are unresolved, while others are saying no, let us finish all the reconciliations and we do this convention. After all, there is no time limit for the convention as long as we do it before the time for the primaries. “So, that was the difference. This is what the media has called divided governors.”
Speaking earlier, chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, revealed that President Buhari is in favour of consensus to select candidates for party offices.
Also answering questions, he stated: “On consensus, Mr President reminded us that we have produced a number of national chairmen by consensus; Baba Bisi Akande emerged as the pioneer chairman of the party by consensus; John Oyegun emerged by consensus; Adams Oshiomhole emerged by consensus.
“So, he is a believer in consensus as one of the options of producing leadership, and he urged us to explore consensus, so that we can generate a list. “While recognising that many people who have indicated interest are equally competent, but knowing that just one person will occupy the office, consensus is part of our constitution, he urged us to work towards consensus.
“And the governors, I said earlier, have also been working to ensure that as part of equitable arrangement, zoning and consensus are incorporated. We have done that at the lower levels, and even at the national level it’s almost certain that we will achieve it.
“Then, the date of the convention, the caretaker committee briefed us yesterday of their meeting and the proposed March 26, 2022. And today, the governors informed Mr President that we have had the briefing from the caretaker committee and we are supportive of their position.”
Bagudu explained that even though the planned zonal congresses of the APC are not provided for in its constitution, the law is also not against the process.
On whether the APC governors are divided, Bagudu said: “Are governors divided? Not at all.
“We commend him for his leadership. We are appreciative of the sacrifice of the national caretaker, and extraordinary convention planning committee.”
While also responding to a question, the chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, dismissed fears that the ruling party will collapse at the end of President Buhari’s era.
Earlier, before the meeting, governors on the platform of the APC had admitted to the growing discontent over their perceived hijack of the party national secretariat ahead of its national convention. Kebbi State governor and chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, made the confession on Monday while speaking with newsmen at the end of a meeting held at Kebbi State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.
Bagudu said the governors would work with other stakeholders to deliver on a transparent national convention that would earn the confidence of aspirants for national offices and other stakeholders.
He said: “I think, first we appreciate that Nigerians are interested in what the APC is doing because Nigerians give us their mandate by electing us into offices and holding us high esteem, and we are very conscious of that. All the APC governors have met and as always, have appreciated the need to work together with the other stakeholders.
“We have always been humbled that we are not the only stakeholders of the party to work with other stakeholders and to ensure that we deliver transparently, honestly a national executive that will earn the confidence of all party members.”
Senator Rochas Okorocha who spoke with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja said the only way for the APC to come out of the crisis over it’s convention is to go back to the basis and recognise the original four blocks that formed the party.
He said the original founders of the APC like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others should be given the honour of picking the persons that would hold sensitive positions in the party.
Postponement of APC convention explains Nigeria’s shambolic condition – PDP
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday mocked the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that its continuing inability to conduct a routine national convention has further explained why all sectors of national life have been in shambolic state under “the incompetent, corrupt, rudderless and overtly confused APC administration.”
The main opposition party made the assertion in a statement issued by Honourable Debo Ologunagba, its National Publicity Secretary, in which it posited that the APC’s postponement of the exercise yet again validates PDP’s stance that the APC is not a proper political party.
The PDP noted that the APC which cannot conduct its own internal affairs cannot be expected to successfully manage the affairs of a nation.
The party further suggested that the APC is not eligible to field candidates for the 2023 elections.
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