The rift in the fold of the All Progressives Congress (APC) widened at the weekend as loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and erstwhile Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, fight for the control of the party’s structure.
This is coming when the real reason for the delay in the appointment of key government officials, especially ministers by President Buhari, has been revealed.
Sources disclosed that one of the reasons for the delay is to see if a change in the leadership of the Senate could be effected, which will see the impeachment of the Senate President, Dr. Olusola Saraki and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
A chieftain of the party from the North-East said that one of the national leaders of the party and an arrowhead of Saraki-must-go campaign has asked for a month or two to effect a change of leadership in the Senate.
He said: “I have to be truthful to you; we are faced with many challenges as a party. We have won election; we are in charge of government, but some leaders of the party are fighting internal wars.
“Those who are opposed to Saraki being the Senate President have promised that they can remove him and his deputy within a month or two. They don’t want the list of ministers to be sent to the Senate now until a new leadership emerges.
“I am afraid that this kind of thing might wreck our government because this will set us against the people of Nigeria. They don’t want Saraki to have access to Mr. President.
“We are not happy with the bi-partisan arrangement we have in the Senate, but it is a reality we have to live with instead of working to destabilise the National Assembly. I don’t think it will be easy to get a two-thirds to remove the Senate President and his deputy, but some people have promised to make this happen.”
On the crisis rocking the party, the APC chieftain stated that whereas supporters of Tinubu have not given up in the push to remove the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, henchmen of President Buhari are strengthening his grip on the party.
He said all efforts are being made by the President’s loyalists to correct the impression that he is not the leader of the party.
“Some people made a huge mistake by coming out to say that the President is not the leader of our party. That statement revealed what their thinking is. Some of our governors have convinced Mr. President that he needs to take charge of the party. The President may not be showing that he was not happy with that comment, but the truth is that we are seeing what those who have his ears are doing,” the source said .
He maintained: “They are not allowing the other forces to have their way in the National Assembly. They have also succeeded in convincing the National Chairman to be on their side.
“That is why some people are working very hard to remove the National Chairman. They feel betrayed that after helping to make him chairman, he can align with those who are working against the same forces that brought him to office.”
They accuse Odigie-Oyegun of not showing much interest in fighting either Saraki or other elements in the party that are opposed to Tinubu.
Another factor that is tearing the party apart is the fight over 2019 presidential ticket. According to the source, the assumption that President Buhari would not go for another term is causing gladiators of the party to fight for the structure of the party.
According to the source, Tinubu and his men are working with Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El-Rufai, on the understanding that the latter will take over from President Buhari should the latter decide not to run in 2019.
He said: “Our national leader is working with the governor of Kaduna. He identifies him as a potential candidate in 2019. It is believed that el-Rufai is close to the President and is also popular in the North.”
He disclosed that some forces, like Atiku and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso are fighting to take charge of the party.
Hear him: “Atiku is the main problem Tinubu has in APC. The assumption is that he has his eye on 2019 and some people want to stop him. The man himself is fighting back and wants to take charge of the party.”
He argued that what is happening in the party is normal, predicting that the situation will soon be taken care of when the government settles fully.
Presidential Primaries: Disquiet as PDP loses Eagle Square to APC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may now be forced to use the MKO Abiola Stadium in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for its May 28 presidential primary according to new developments.
The APC was said to have used the influence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammed Musa Bello, to quickly reserve the Eagles Square for its presidential primary scheduled to hold between May 30 and June 1.
The PDP had during its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting ratified the conduct of the presidential primary (special national convention) to elect its presidential candidate on Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, May 29, 2022 in Abuja.
The venue, has, however, become an issue as the APC had already fixed the venue of its convention at Eagle Square, Abuja, where PDP had its special convention to elect its national officers in October, last year.
In its letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, it was learnt, stated that it will hold its convention at the MKO Stadium, Abuja.
The venue, some stakeholders of the party, who do not want their names mentioned, said the place is too small for where the presidential primary should take place.
It was noted that the party is expecting about 3,700 delegates with about 10,000 supporters and staff, while the capacity of the facility, where the primary will take place at the MKO Stadium, is about 7,000.
The party stakeholders have expressed sadness that the venue will not be able to accommodate the delegates, supporters and friends of aspirants.
Of more concern, the stakeholders said is that, according to the schedule of PDP activities, the party was supposed to publish the names of delegates on Tuesday and that has not been done.
Shekarau dumps APC for NNPP
Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau, a former Kano State Governor, has officially dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and joined the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
This was confirmed on Tuesday via a terse statement on the official Twitter account of the NNPP.
The statement, which reads: “Finally: Sen Ibrahim Shekarau Join Us”, was shared alongside a photo of Senator Shekarau and Senator Ibrahim Kwankwaso.
Recall that there had been some back and forth about Shekarau’s planned defection to the NNPP, with some power brokers in the APC said to be negotiating with the former governor not to leave the ‘broom party.’
However, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso has been at the helm of the vanguard, working to ensure Shekarau’s defection from the APC to the NNPP.
On Sunday, Kwankwaso stormed the residence of Shekarau in Kano to work out details of the defection.
INEC gives APC, PDP, others deadlines
Ahead of primaries, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given deadlines to political parties on nomination and withdrawal of candidates.
The electoral commission also foreclosed the adjustment of election timetable.
In line with its guidelines, INEC has directed the parties to submit lists of delegates for elective offices to it, seven days to the date of the primary.
Both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) submitted designated centres for their national conventions to INEC yesterday.
APC opted for the Eagle Square while the PDP chose the Velodrome at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
It was learnt that unlike in the past, the commission decline to bend the rules so as not to distort the timelines for the 2023 poll.
The commission has fixed the last day for withdrawal of candidate(s) and the replacement of withdrawn candidate(s) for July 15 (Presidential and National Assembly) and August 12 for governorship and Houses of Assembly.
Also, while the last day for submission of nomination forms for presidential and National Assembly election is August 8, the curtains will be drawn for governorship and Houses of Assembly on August 18.
The publication of final list of nominated candidates will be on September 20 (Presidential and National Assembly elections) and October 4 for other strands.
But the public campaign for the presidential and National Assembly elections will kick off on September 28 and that of the governorship and Houses of Assembly is from October 4.
According to a top official of INEC, the parties have been notified of the timelines for appropriate guidance.
The guidelines read in part: “In compliance with Article 4.5.1 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Political Party Primaries, a political party that adopts the indirect primary mode, shall make available to the commission not later than seven days to the date of the primary, the list of persons that will form the delegates that are eligible to vote for nomination of the party candidate to contest every elective position. “
“The list of delegates shall be accompanied with the list of aspirants and the list of the party Electoral panel conducting the primary.
“In compliance with Section 84(9-11) of the Electoral Act 2022, a political party that adopts the Consensus Primary mode shall make available to the commission copies of the written consent of all aspirants cleared for the position indicating their endorsement of the consensus candidate who shall then be ratified by a special congress or convention
“In compliance with Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022, primaries and voting by members or delegates of a political party to nominate candidates for elective positions shall hold at designated centres within the respective national, state, senatorial, federal and state constituencies.
“Primaries held outside designated constituencies shall accordingly be invalid.”
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