Twenty-four governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, said the party’s national convention must wait until the return of President Muhammadu Buhari.
At the end of a closed-door meeting with the National Working Committee (NWC), led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, it was resolved that President Buhari, currently attending to his health in the United Kingdom (UK), must be around before the party could discuss modalities for its convention.
Speaking with newsmen at the end of the meeting, Zamfara State
governor, Abdul-Aziz Yari, disclosed that the party would, however, proceed with processes for its non-elective convention to fill existing vacancies in the party executive.
He further disclosed that the process would commence on July 29, with the conduct of state congresses.
“We have been on this issue of mid-term convention for sometime. But you know that the president is the leader of this party and before getting to the convention, there is a process.
“The NWC must agree on the time and we have to adopt the report of the National Working Committee to the National Executive Committee and the president must be in attendance as the leader.
“You know the situation of our president today. We have been fixing time, but because of his illness, we have not been able to hold the meeting,” he said.
It was however, gathered that the governors’ new position was at variance with its earlier declaration to seek audience with the acting president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and discuss modalities for its convention in the absence of President Buhari.
Speaking with newsmen last May, at the end of its meeting with the national leadership of the party, Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, had said the governors were determined to discuss with Acting President Osinbajo on modalities for the convention.
When asked by newsmen on why the governors changed their earlier plan, Governor Yari said Professor Osinbajo was too busy with state functions to be disturbed by party matters.
Also at the briefing, national publicity secretary of the party, Bolaji Abdullahi, said the APC NWC and the governors resolved to set up a committee to explain to Nigerians its position on restructuring of the country.
Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir-el-Rufai, Abdullahi said, would chair the nine-man committee while Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi would serve as secretary.
The APC spokesman said the committee became necessary as the ruling party’s manifesto on devolution of power to states and local government had been misconstrued to mean restructuring of the polity.
“I have repeatedly mentioned it that when we mentioned setting up a committee on restructuring, what we are talking about is a committee that will articulate what the APC meant by restructuring.
“We have realised for sometime now that when people talk about restructuring, we are no longer sure if they are talking about the same thing.
“People have said that the APC promised restructuring. So, we need to sit down as a party to develop a shared understanding of what we mean by restructuring in our manifesto.
Other members of the committee are Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).
Also on the membership of the committee are former governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor; APC national organising secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso and Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.
In attendance at the meeting were Governors Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Simon Lalong of Plateau and Rochas Okorocha of Imo. Others were Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa, Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano.
Governors of Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger and Borno were represented by their deputies.