By Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
The search for a new national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has begun in earnest, and the party has four months to fill the position at its national convention.
Leading the search are some governors and leaders of the party, including close political associates of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Party sources hinted on Saturday that the new chairman being sought may emerge from the South-East.
The objective is to create a sense of balance in the party and assuage the feelings of the people of the zone, some of whom often accuse the party of marginalising them.
The person so chosen will replace Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
It was also gathered that the ongoing rebuilding of the party by the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee may also entail the dissolution of State Executive Committees of APC in states where the party is factionalised.
Some governors are said to be pushing for a nationwide dissolution of State Executive Committees (SECs) in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, although there are fears that APC may become more divided and plunge into a fresh crisis.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the South-South may have lost out in the bid to retain the chairmanship of the APC.
Of the three zones in the South, the South-West and the South-South produced the first three national chairmen of the party, namely Chief Bisi Akande (South-West); Chief John Odigie-Oyegun (South-South) and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (South-South).
All the past chairmen were former civilian governors from different parties.
Findings however showed that some governors and some leaders of the party have started leaning towards the ceding of the national chairman slot to the South-East.
Although the choice may be left open to the South-East, investigation revealed that a former President of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani, is top on the list of those being considered by some governors.
Nnamani is a member of the Caretaker Committee of the party.
As Senate President, he resisted the Third Term agenda of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Some governors however favour the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who was once a governor and ex-National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) which merged with others to form APC.
The Minister is rated as “a man of fidelity” with rich experience in party politics.
A top source who is privy to the undercurrents in the party said: “The affected governors and leaders want a break from the South-West and the South-South in choosing the next national chairman.”
The source painted the picture of the next chairman as one who must be:
- a strong character with a sense of fairness, equity and justice
- a true democrat in spirit and action
- possess an effective leadership style which will make all the organs to function as enshrined in the APC constitution
- capable of leading and sustaining the party beyond the vision of the founding fathers of APC
- make APC a model party in Africa
The source said: “So far, the search for a new national chairman of APC has started.
“Governors and leaders of the party are already considering different names, but the most recurring are Nnamani and Onu.
“Since we still have about four months to the convention, the first step being taken is to build a consensus on the need for the South-East to produce the next chairman. This is the only geopolitical zone in the South that is least represented in government and in the party.
“Some leaders in the party are uncomfortable with the South-East because its contributions to APC’s performances in 2015 and 2019 were insignificant.
“They are also claiming that giving the APC national chairman slot to the South-East will not attract political mileage for APC because the zone is a territory of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
Meanwhile, there were indications that the APC National Caretaker Committee may approve the dissolution of State Executive Committee of the party in some states because of crises.
It was learnt that although some governors are pushing for the sack of all State Executive Committees nationwide, there were fears that such a step might lead to a complex crisis in APC.
Another source said: “Left to some governors, there should be an overhaul of the party’s structures from the ward to state levels.
“It looks impossible because to hold the national convention, party members need to elect delegates. If we overhaul all levels, it may cause more challenges for APC. It is like starting all over.
“The most tenable argument now is to dissolve State Executive Committees in some troublesome states where reconciliation seems unachievable. This will enable such states to elect their delegates to the National Convention.
“When a new National Working Committee is put in place, it can conduct fresh party elections in the crisis-ridden states. This is the option being considered.
When contacted, the Deputy National Secretary of the party, Mr. Yekini Nabena said: “When we get to that point, it will be a public notice.
“What the Caretaker Committee is concentrating on now is Edo and Ondo elections.”
On the national convention holding in November, Nabena said: “The task given to the committee is six months. Let us see how it goes.”