Despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention, there are indications that the festering leadership crisis bedevilling the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee(CECPC) of the All Progressives Party may be far from over.
Indication to this emerged Monday when a major stakeholder in the party and lawmaker representing Borno South in the National Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume said the position of the 19 governors on the CECPC would prevail at the end of the day.
At the height of the botched leadership change which heralded in Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello as acting chair of the CECPC, Kaduna state Governor Nasir el-Rufai declared 19 governors were in support of Sani-Bello.
He also said the choice of Sani-Bello had Buhari’s blessing, indicating that the deal had been sealed.
El-Rufai said Governor Mai Mala Buni’s actions were hindrances to plan to hold its convention on March 26.
According to him, 19 of the 23 governors elected on the ticket of the party were on same page on the mission to prevent the party from collapsing.
But he was silent on the four governors that were not with them.
The London meeting
But at a meeting with some select ministers and other stakeholders, led by Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami (SAN) in London Saturday, President Buhari scolded the el-Rufai group and directed that the Yobe state governor be returned as the caretaker committee chair.
At the said meeting, the president was also reported to have said he was not backing any candidate for the position of the national chairman of the party.
But weighing in Monday while featuring on Arise TV monitored by Ripples Nigeria, Senator Ndume said the position of the anti-Buni governors would ultimately prevail.
The lawmaker said the actions of the governors, allegedly in support of the emergence of Sani-Bello as the CECPC head, would be ratified for the betterment of the party.
Speaking during the interview, Ndume said: “When we have 19 people on one side, the voice of the majority will prevail and have its way. The President is the leader of our party and as I said, the 19 Governors seem not to prefer Buni and we cannot afford to go into the elections with a divided house. This issue will be resolved eventually with the inclusion of the other four Governors.”
The lawmaker, however, expressed worry over the internal wrangling within the ruling party and praised President Buhari for his intervention.
“What is happening in the APC is worrisome but this is not unusual due to political interests — the problem is that the interest of some individuals overrode the party but the President intervened.
“The statement made by President Buhari will get everyone into line for the betterment of the party. The President expects everyone to do the right thing but he stood up before the issues degenerate.
“Various persons have shown interest in the party leadership, and the party will vote by consensus, direct or indirect. The interested candidate depends on where the chairmanship is zoned to, but I am not sure whether it has been zoned to North Central. My best candidate is to have someone that cannot be manipulated, who is a leader and father to all in order to take decisions on what is better for the party,” Ndume said.0yť
On the issue of zoning, the lawmaker said: “In fairness, the South must present the next President and it is left to those zones to produce.”
Ex-PGF boss Lukman
In a related development, the immediate past Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and a chieftain of the ruling APC, Salihu Moh Lukman, has called for a painstaking background checks on all the aspirants contesting at the forthcoming national convention of the party.
Lukman said the quality of party leaders would substantially determine the quality of candidates the party would present for elections in 2023.
In a statement Lukman released Monday in Abuja, he said starting with the March 26, 2022 APC National Convention, APC leaders, especially governors should demonstrate stronger commitment towards recruiting tested and trustworthy leaders.
“We must appeal to all APC leaders, especially Governors, to recognise that the weight of political responsibility of producing new leaders for the APC is in fact a very strong test of whether the party can continue to justifiably earn the confidence of Nigerians.
“Will leaders, especially Governors, undertake the crucial task of performing background checks for aspiring candidates and dispassionately, even if painfully, select both party leaders and party candidates for elections, beyond issues of loyalty? The crucial task before APC leaders is to ensure that leadership selection process produce trustworthy leaders both as party leaders and as candidates for elections.
“Once party leaders make the mistake of producing Bureau De Change managers as APC leaders during the March 26, 2022 National Convention, the probability will be very high that there will be many bad eggs emerging as standard bearers of the party for the 2023 elections.
“Already PDP leaders have dug their political grave when for instance they elected people who shared $2.1 billion meant for arms procurement to fight insecurity as National leaders of the PDP,” he said.
According to Lukman, “opposition PDP leaders continue to arrogantly and contemptuously ignore this foundational reality of public trust in politics. This is among many other factors why the PDP is still very unpopular among Nigerians. APC must fundamentally take every step necessary to produce new orientation for political leadership recruitment in the country as we approach the 2023 elections.”
He said: “As much as possible, situations whereby good leaders only emerge ‘accidentally’ must begin to be reversed in Nigeria based on carefully planned initiatives under the APC. As part of the process of planning for the emergence of trustworthy leaders, issues of getting current leaders to account for their actions or inactions will be nec”APC, as a party, needs to also take a special interest in what is going on in Kogi State. It is embarrassing that a government produced by the party will demonstrate that level of rascality. If PDP can tolerate such public rascality as was the case under for instance the inglorious era of Ayodele Fayose in Ekiti and many other PDP state governments across the country, APC must decisively disown what is coming out of Kogi State under Governor Yahaya Bello.
“If necessary, APC should declare opposition to what is emerging as the governance credentials of Governor Yahaya Bello, including taking every necessary step to save the people of Kogi State from the influence of Yahaya Bello in determining who succeeds him.
“Every step must be taken to ensure that APC emerges as a distinctively different party from PDP and other parties especially on the question of leadership recruitment. While in the case of PDP and other parties, issues of leadership recruitment are considered as given based on the received wisdoms of political leaders, in APC these issues are being debated and contested, which explains all the dynamics around the March 26, 2022 APC National Convention.
“If anything, the contest for the emergence of trustworthy political leaders in APC is a contest for the unfettered development of Nigerian democracy. Nigerian democracy cannot develop unless the right conditions within parties are created for the emergence of trustworthy leaders both as party leaders and candidates for election.”