•Ex- PDP chairman, Modu Sheriff, berths at party secretariat today
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has dismissed insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari has imposed former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, on them as the proposed national chairman of the party.
APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, told newsmen after a meeting between the APC governors and the NWC, which held at the party’s secretariat, in Abuja, yesterday, that it will be wrong to say the pesident’s advice was sacrosanct.
Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, also corroborated the spokesperson’s statement on Buhari’s choice of Oshiomhole.
On the NWC’s position on Oyegun’s future, Abdullahi said: “I don’t think that is a fair question to ask me because you are asking for my personal position on this matter and I don’t think I am here to represent my position.
“But, what I can tell you is that Chief Oyegun will make his position clear; within the next couple of days, whether he’s going to contest for the chairmanship.”
He also explained the party’s position on Buhari’s endorsement of Oshiomhole.
“The president is a party member, he has the right to have his preferences and he has not… I don’t get the feelings that he told anyone that this is the person you must support. He met with some of the APC governors who went to him and actually, they were four governors who met him yesterday (on Tuesday). I don’t think those governors ever said they were up to five or six. They probably asked him and, maybe, because of the relationship he had with them, he told them his preference. And, they felt that it was important for them to make this available to the public. I don’t think and I don’t get the feeling that president Buhari has called the governors and say this is the person you must go… I don’t get that feeling,” he said.
In his response, the Kano governor dismissed talks of imposition of a particular candidate on the party.
“There is no imposition at all. Everybody is free to contest just as everybody is free to hold an opinion on who should lead the party. I think that there is no case of imposition because it is not a guideline and not part of the constitution. Just like every other person, Mr. President has the right to air his opinion but that does not mean he should stop any person who will like to contest from contesting. Mr. President’s opinion is not constitutional and it is not a non-constitutional opinion as well. He just voiced out his thought which will serve as a guideline to some and otherwise to some. The issue of being undemocratic does not even arise.
On the convention timetable, Ganduje said: “We discussed the issue of the timetable and time limit for the congresses and convention and we decided that NWC should review the timetable because, in the previous timetable, the ward and local government congresses are too close.
“We equally discovered that the congresses are designed to hold on working days and normally, we use public premises like schools and secretariats for the conduct of the congresses.
“Fixing the congresses during working days means that such places cannot be available. We agreed that the congresses should hold over the weekends.
“Considering all these, the NWC has been mandated to review the timetable and since the programme may fall into Ramadan time, they should make consultations to know if only one congress can be held during Ramadan while the rest, including the national convention, comes after the Ramadan.
“Another issue is the function of the Committee on National Convention visa-vis the function of the NWC and we all agreed that the NWC will organise the congresses from the ward and local governments and the state while the committee on national convention should organise the convention.
“We also agreed that zoning will be maintained for the party officers but, the only clause is that they should go and discuss with those governors in charge of the zones; where the officers should come from.
“For example, the chairman of the party will have to come from the South South, the secretary from the North East and all other positions like that.
“We have resolved all issues amicably. The NWC will have to get back to us in a week’s time,” he said.
Meanwhile, former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, in company with his supportersm are expected at the APC national secretariat an noon, today.