At least six politicians seeking to emerge as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress on March 26, 2022, have purchased the form sold for N20m each.
This implied that the APC had generated N120m from the sale of chairmanship form alone as of Thursday night.
Those who have purchased the form, include the lawmaker representing the Niger-East Senatorial District, Sani Musa; a former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Al-Makura; and the lawmaker representing the Nasarawa-West Senatorial District, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
Others are a former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Turaki Salihu Mustapha; former governor Abdul’Aziz Yari of Zamfara State; and the Minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume.
Although the party had zoned its chairmanship seat to the North-Central, Yari decided to take the plunge. It could not be confirmed if former governor Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State had purchased his form as his telephone lines were switched off on Thursday evening.
A former Federal Capital Territory Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Sunny Moniedafe, also picked the N10m form for the deputy national chairman ditto for Nworgu Boms. The party is expected to stop the sale of forms today (Friday).
The aspirants, on Thursday, continued to intensify their campaigns ahead of next Saturday’s convention.
Al-Makura said if he becomes the national chairman of the APC, he would ensure that members of the National Assembly get another term in the federal parliament.
The senator said this in Abuja, on Thursday, at a consultative meeting with the APC caucus in the House of Representatives.
While fielding questions from members of the House, Al-Makura noted that the legislature at the federal, state and local government levels should be occupied by experienced lawmakers.
The ex-governor, however, did not state if the lawmakers would be granted automatic tickets.
Responding specifically to a question on lawmakers getting return tickets, Al-Makura said, “We will be stagnating our democracy if we promote the entrance of too many people that will come to learn how to legislate. What we are trying to look for is how we can build our democracy to endure. So, for me, I am compelled to encourage through whatever means to ensure that members, who are currently in the legislature, are encouraged to come back.
“This will not be by fiat. I cannot say outright because I cannot give what I don’t have. But I will work through the states – the legislature there – and other stakeholders to ensure that most of the people who are in the parliament now return, so that our democracy will grow.”
According to Al-Makura, any government that wants to ensure development and progress, especially in a democracy, cannot do without the legislature.
“So, being a member of the legislature; if by the special grace of God I am the chairman of this party, the legislature, both the Senate, House of Representatives, as well as the (state) Houses of Assembly and the councillors are all members of one constituency,” he said.
The ex-governor also dismissed the crises bedevilling the APC, noting that he would discourage litigation under his leadership of the ruling party.
“I am sorry to say that at this point in time, we have a lot of challenges that the party is facing; a lot of crises here and there. For me, it is normal. You cannot have a party with over 14 million people and expect it to be like an empty room,” he added.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Ahmed Wase; and the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, hailed the chairmanship aspirant for his achievements as Nasarawa State governor and his efforts in the APC.
“I believe this is the first time that those aspiring are coming to us. It means then that democracy is getting deepened and we appreciate your support all through. Ours is to pray for you. We wish you well and we shall do everything possible to fall in line, to canvas for you so that we will have a viable party,” Wase stated.
Meanwhile, barely nine days to the convention, the party has yet to vacate a court injunction barring it from holding the event.
When the matter came up for hearing at the Kubwa Division of the FCT High Court on Thursday, Justice Bello Kawu adjourned till today (Friday) after the new counsel for the APC, Shuaibu Aruwan (SAN), informed the court that the defendants had resolved the issue of representation.
But Mike Enahoro Eba, counsel for the claimant, Salisu Umoru, objected to the fixing of the matter for the next day, contending that the rules allowed seven days to respond, adding that the APC just introduced a new counsel.
However, Aruwan urged the court to disregard the application for adjournment, saying the business of the day was hearing of pending applications.
The VYBEZ TV reports that the court had last November granted Umoru’s application for an “interlocutory injunction restraining the APC and the Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, their allies, agents, representatives, associates or whoever is acting for them or through them from conducting its national convention.”
We’re now at finishing line of preparations – Buni
In a related development, Buni on Thursday in Abuja said the party was at the finishing line of its preparations for the March 26 national convention.
This is as he thanked his Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Bello, for his efforts while he was away.
Buni’s comments came after his return from a medical trip to Dubai and meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in London over the leadership crisis rocking the party.
The leaders, who met at the Yobe State Governors’ Lodge in Asokoro, were flanked by members of the caretaker committee except for the National Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe.
Buni stated, “You know that since I travelled, the party has not stopped. His Excellency (Bello) has done very well in managing the affairs of the party. We are here to discuss the issues going forward.
“We are now at the finishing line in the preparations for our national convention, which is at hand. We are putting heads together to achieve this task ahead. I want to emphasise that the March 26 national convention is sacrosanct.”
On Akpanudoedehe’s absence from the meeting, Buni explained, “You know that this is not a formal meeting of the committee. These members of the CECPC just came to welcome me back to the country and wish me well after returning from a medical trip outside the country.
“So, it is not a formal meeting that one will ask whether the secretary is here or not. However, he was in the house earlier today.”
On his part, Bello said the party had made significant progress in preparations for its national convention in the past week.
He stated, “For the past one week, I have been acting as the chairman of the CECPC and what I can tell you is that we made lots of progress towards our convention like we saw in the inauguration of the state chairmen, adopted some of the zoning formulae, and some of the decisions of the CECPC taken before he left the country.
“I can tell you for free that in the last one week, we have ensured that we are good to go for the convention.”
In a separate statement, Buni pledged not to reverse the decisions taken in his absence, especially with regards to the membership of the sub-committees set up to plan the convention.
Earlier on Thursday, the APC had released a new list of the sub-committees showing that there had been a minor shake-up. For instance, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who had been removed from the media sub-committee, was returned in the new list, while Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State replaced a former governor of Bauchi State, Muhammad Abubakar, as the Chairman of the Election/Planning Sub-committee.
In a statement shortly after, however, Buni said he would not be reversing the actions of Bello and asked members of the public to discountenance the new list.
In the statement titled, ‘Rebuttal’, Buni carpeted reports and insinuations that he was going to reverse every action taken by the Bello-led committee, including the zoning arrangement.
“All activities that were done in my absence remain valid and binding,” Buni stated.
The statement read, “This is to bring to the notice of all stakeholders and members of the party that the purported suspension of some activities initiated and executed by the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the acting Chairman and Niger State Governor, H. E. Muhammed Sanni Bello, is not true.
“Therefore, all activities that were done in my absence remain valid and binding. All party stakeholders and members are hereby advised to disregard the previous statement discarding the activities of the committee under the leadership of the acting chairman.”