In this piece, BODE OLAGOKE, revisits last week’s national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the intrigues that led to the emergence of a former governor of Nasarawa state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, as the party’s national chairman.
Last Saturday’s national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) provided a stunning twist to the various dramas acted by its top political actors in the build-up to the event. Visible divisions had crept into the party even among its 22 governors over the process leading to the convention with the Niger state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, temporarily replacing the immediate-past CECPC chairman of the party and Yobe state governor, Mai Malla Buni. It took a London meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Buni for the latter to regain his position.
Thirty days before the all-important qqqexercise finally held, Senator Abdullahi Adamu’s name was not ringing among the top contenders from the North-central for the position of APC national chairman where 1qq1it was zoned to.
It was gathered that last-minute horse-trading and intrigues which saw leaders of the various blocs in the party meeting from Friday till about noon on Saturday paid off, as other leaders agreed withwher11qqe w3the wBuhari on the choice of a former goaq1vernor of Nasarawa state, Alhaji Abdulahi Adamu, as the party’s national cwhairman.
The six prominent national chairmanship aspirants, George Akume; Tanko Al-Makura; Abdulaziz Yari; Sani Musa; Saliu Mustapha and Etsu Muhammed, were all scheming, but immediately President Buhari indicated interest in the candidacy of Adamu, the aforementioned aspirants grudgingly withdrew from the race and adopted the former Nasarawa state governor as a consensus candidate.
At the national convention ground, the magic Unity List endorsed by the governors and other major critical stakeholders, however, buried so many ambitions and dreams of several contestants. The number one name on the said list was that of Abdullahi Adamu who eventually became the national chairman.
The only name missing on the Unity List hitherto touted before the convention was that of a former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, who was consumed in the power play in the South-east zone. Nnamani was originally slated to fill the slot of the Deputy National Chairman (South), but lost out to Emma Eneukwu from Enugu state.
Eneukwu, who is of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), one of the legacy parties that birthed the APC in 2013, was a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) under the chairmanship of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
A former deputy governor of Osun state, Senator Iyiola Omisore, emerged as the National Secretary of the party, having been unanimously endorsed by the South-west caucus of the party where the position was zoned to.
Other members of the new National Working Committee (NWC) who survived the unnerving horse-trading in the APC are Senator Abubakar Kyari (Borno) and Festus Fuanter (Plateau) as Deputy National Chairman (North) and Deputy National Secretary, respectively. Others to serve with Senator Adamu are Muazu Bawa Rijau, (Niger); National Vice Chairman North-central and Comrade Mustapha Salihu (Adamawa), National Vice Chairman North-east; Isaac Kekemeke, (Ondo) National Vice Chairman South-west; Victor Giadom (Rivers) National Vice-chairman, South-South and the immediate past Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman (Kaduna) as the National Vice Chairman, North-west.
Dr. Ijeoma Arodiogbu (Imo) is the new National Vice Chairman (South-east).
For the office of National Organising Secretary zoned to the North-west, Suleiman Argungu (Kebbi) emerged victorious, while Nze Chidi Duru (Anambra) emerged as he Deputy National Organising Secretary.
The position of National Woman Leader micro-zoned to Cross River state has Dr. Betta Odu, just as Zainab Abubakar Ibrahim (Taraba) emerged as the Deputy National Women Leader. Ahmed El Marzuk (Katsina) is the new National Legal Adviser; Uguru Mathew Ofoke( Ebonyi) is the National Treasurer, while Bashir Usman Gumel (Jigawa) is the National Financial Secretary in the new APC NWC to be led by the Senator representing Nasarawa West, Abdullahi Adamu. Dayo Israel (Lagos) is the new National Youth Leader.
Felix Morka (Delta) is the new National Publicity Secretary, while Senator Abubakar Maikafi (Bauchi) emerged the National Auditor.
FN Nwosu from Abia state was endorsed as the national welfare secretary and Tolu Bankole (Ogun) as Special Person With Disability Leader.
The emergence of the new NWC members of the party puts the governors of the party in the driver’s seat as far as the control of APC’s soul is concerned. Blueprint gathered that the idea of Adamu’s candidacy was first sold to Buhari through his close aides by a former governor in the South-south zone.
The governors of the party were said to have later taken over the Adamu project in what a party source said was “a successful beginning of the self-preservation project of the APC governors.”
But the APC national chairman has, however, denied that he was imposed by the party leaders, saying the endorsement of God made him national chairman.
Adamu said at the party secretariat when he finally assumed office that his emergence as chairman was by providence, noting that as recently as a month ago, he never knew he would become chairman of the party.
He said, “It is only through God that we have emerged as the new National Working Committee (NWC) of our great party. Now, it looks so simple, but it is not our doing but the doing of Almighty God who made all this possible.
“A month ago, I didn’t know I would become the chairman of APC. Here I am today, receiving the instrument and authority from the out-going chairman. Only God can do this. It is not my personal wisdom or my charisma. It is not personal. There may be elements on the way but all these were made possible by the endorsement of Almighty God.”
Last week’s APC national convention was held in a carnival-like atmosphere as various music acts entertained party faithful who crowded the Eagles Square, the venue of the all-important exercise of the ruling party.