A fresh crisis is brewing in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the choice of former Kano State governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, as the next national chairman of the party, with his zone, the South West, staging the first protest against the move.
National vice chairman (North-West) of the party, Mallam Salihu Lukman, has warned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and APC governors against the choice of Ganduje as replacement for the erstwhile national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
According to him, the decision is suicidal and the height of insensitivity that may upset the zoning arrangement of the party.
With his zone championing the protest against the decision to make him the next national chairman, there are indications that the former Kano governor may be bracing for a bumpy ride, replete with stiff opposition, to the chairmanship seat of the governing party.
Lukman’s warning is coming 24 hours after reports emerged that President Tinubu and APC governors may have tipped Ganduje as the next national chairman of the party after the resignation of Adamu and the national secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, the APC national vice chairman said, “So far, as things are, only the President and Governors blocs are active in the negotiation to produce and engage leaders of APC. Already, part of the speculations emerging from the Governor’s bloc is that Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is being considered to succeed Sen. Abdullahi Adamu. If this is true, it only suggests insensitivity and taking members of the party for granted. This is without prejudice to the person of Dr. Ganduje.
“This is because such a choice will completely distort the zoning arrangement that informed the present configuration of the leadership of the National Assembly. With the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy Senate President coming from North West and North Central shut out of consideration, to propose the party’s National Chairman move to North West from North Central will be unjust.
“We must caution our governors that since the emergence of APC, governors have served almost as the conscience of the party. Any consideration for such an insensitive and unjust consideration of Dr. Ganduje to become the National Chairman of APC must be discarded. If anything, the position of National Chairman of the APC must be retained in North Central.
“Part of the challenge of managing the current transition within the party is getting the NWC to properly take the driving seat in managing and facilitating negotiations to produce and engage leaders of the party. The NWC must sit up and guide the unfolding negotiations. No single power bloc should be allowed to appropriate the process,” he said.
In the statement titled, “APC: Way Forward,”, Lukman asked President Tinubu to douse tension by speaking on the matter in order to return the APC to its founding vision of progressive politics.
He noted: “This is where the intervention of the President, being the leader of the party, would be required to moderate the excessive conduct of any power bloc, especially when such conduct risks further damaging the prospect of returning the APC to its founding vision.
“At these early stages of President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s leadership of the party, he needs to make that strong intervention to guide the process of restoring constitutional order and returning the APC to its founding vision of progressive politics. Progressive politics must be about inclusion and justice and not some blind and insensitive considerations.
“Following the resignation of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu and Sen. Iyiola Omisore as National Chairman and National Secretary respectively, there is all manner of speculation as to which way forward. Of course, understandably, most of the speculations, if not all, are driven by interests to control the affairs of the party.
“It is, therefore, necessary that at this very early stage of negotiating new leadership for the APC, we caution all our leaders that the only way we can justify the exit of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu and Sen. Iyiola Omisore out of the leadership of the APC is by demonstrating a commitment to restore constitutional order in APC and return the party to its founding vision of being a progressive party. These are issues that would appear to be taken for granted and if not engaged could be abused by power blocs within the party, which could lead to the emergence of leaders that are worse than Sen. Adamu and Sen. Omisore. This must be avoided.”
Adamu, Omisore Served APC Well, Resigned Voluntarily – APC Governors
Meanwhile, governors on the platform of the APC have finally broken their silence on the exit of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as national chairman and Senator Iyiola Omisore as national secretary, saying they resigned voluntarily.
They also absolved the duo of any wrong doing during their tenure in office, noting instead that they served the party meritoriously.
Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, gave the governors’ position while addressing journalists after meeting of the APC governors in Abuja on Wednesday night.
The meeting held behind closed doors at the Imo State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, started at about 9.54 pm and ended at 11.12 pm.
Uzodinma debunked reports suggesting that there is crisis in the party, just as he said the APC governors were in support of Adamu and Omisore’s resignation.
He stated that both Adamu and Omisore served the governing party to the best of their abilities while APC enjoyed increased fortune under their administration.
He said, “I am aware some of you are anxious to know what is going on in our party and the country. We deliberated on so many issues that have to do with our party, the APC. You must have heard of the resignation of the National Chairman of our party and the National Secretary of the party. Those are voluntary actions that have been taken with due respect to our national chairman and our secretary.
“We commended the wisdom in what they have done and they served us well in the party, we are happy with the services and the party is united, there is no crisis in the party. They are happy; we also are happy. So, we are in support of their actions and they would continue to be commended, respected, and recognised for the services they have rendered to our great party.
“Their resignations have also been accepted by the leadership of the party. There is now an acting chairman and acting Secretary”.
Uzodinma further said the APC governors were conscientiously working with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to address the current hardship Nigerians are going through as a result of removal of fuel subsidy.
He apologised for the recent adjustment in the pump price of petrol from the previous N550 to N617, assuring that the current hardship occasioned by the skyrocketing cost of food, petroleum products and cost of living will soon be addressed.
He also refuted reports that the governors are silent on the plight of the citizens because the increase in the cost of fuel means more money to them through the Federation Account Allocation Committee.
He continued: “I decided to deal with the controversial social media posting of our upcoming FAAC. We are aware that the result of the removal of the fuel subsidy will increase the volume of money that would be received by us during the Federation Allocation Account meeting.
“We are working with the Federal government to ensure that the proceeds of that FAAC will be utilised in a manner that the citizens of the country are happy, the Labour happy and we also the practitioners happy. The economy of the country would be protected. So what has happened is something that we should be happy about.
“The current hardship occasioned by the price increase on both food, Petroleum products, and cost of living is being addressed. The sub-national government is working with the Federal Government and tomorrow (Thursday), there would be National Executive Council to discuss further that”.