President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday told the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors to ensure that the party reclaims Edo State in the September governorship elections. President Buhari gave the marching order when the APC Governors on the platform of the Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, led by its Chairman, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State led some members of the forum and the Chairman, Caretaker/Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni paid a ‘thank you’ visit to him at the State House, Abuja.
It was reliably gathered that the President told the governors to mobilize themselves to do all that is necessary to make sure that Edo does not remain in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He also said that Ondo state must be retained by the governing party in the forthcoming election.
President Buhari was said to have been disappointed that a serving APC governor could be driven to the point of leaving the party and aligning with the opposition. It will be recalled that Governor Obaseki of Edo state recently dumped the APC to the PDP as a result of his protracted differences with the former national Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The irreconcilable dispute between the two culminated in the disqualification of the governor from contesting the party’s primaries and seeking re-election on the platform of the APC. Governor Obaseki, however, defected to the PDP which gave him the waiver to contest the party’s primaries and he emerged as the governorship candidate of the party in a role reversal with APC’s candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who he beat in the 2016 election as the candidate of the then opposition party.
Sources privy to the meeting hinted that President Buhari was critical about the crises in the governing party and was said to have reiterated his warning that the APC may disintegrate if the crises in it are allowed to fester.
The President told the governors that loyalty should be to the party rather than individuals. Also at the meeting were chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, and Governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi; governors Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Sani Bello (Niger).
Recall again that the lingering crises in the party led to the convocation of the emergency virtual National Executive Committee, NEC, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday. President Buhari at the NEC proposed the dissolution of the Oshiomhole-National Working Committee (NWC), and the setting up of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee with six months mandate to organize a convention. In his remarks at the NEC.
President Buhari warned that if not arrested, the crises in the party would lead to its disintegration. He had, therefore, admonished all litigants in the party to withdraw all pending litigations against one another, and settle for internal conciliation.
According to him, “the mutating disagreements could lead to self-destruction, with dire consequences.” He said the gains of the party could be reversed as conflicts overshadowed the primary objective of service to the people, urging members to refocus on the larger picture and place more emphasis on uniting the party.
He said “Fellow party members, this is a very crucial moment in the life of our party and it is with a deep sense of concern that I stand before you today to speak as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has been elected on the platform of our great party – the All Progressives Congress.
“The issues currently confronting our party at this time are such that should worry every party member. At the moment, our great party is faced with internal wrangling; there are on-going litigations amongst some party members and we cannot clearly ascertain the status of certain National Working Committee (NWC) members.’’
The President expressed worry over the shifting loyalty within the party and inconsistency in leadership, which he said had opened the governing party to mockery. He added: “There are also other associated disputes as to the legitimacy or otherwise of holders of certain National Offices of the Party.
“The Party is also contending with Judicial claims and counter-claims, Orders and Counter-Orders and indeed Judgments and Counter-Judgments that are predominantly at cross-purposes. “Confronted with these issues, it is obvious that the fortunes of the party are currently in jeopardy, administration of our party is becoming impossible and there is consequently an urgent need for intervention to immediately
“What we see clearly emerging, is that we are beginning to self-destruct. This, my dear party members, is not just regrettable but utterly gut-wrenching.
’’ President Buhari then proposed that: “The meeting may adopt the developed resolution as contained in the agenda and pass resolutions including approving the immediate discontinuation of all pending litigations involving the party and its members; ratifying the primary election conducted in Edo State; dissolving the current National Working Committee, and appointing caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning committee for the party.
’’ On the numerous litigation, he added: “The directive had been issued before, unfortunately, some members failed to heed the directive.
“Thus, at this time, it must be made a Resolution of the Party which must be effectively enforced with dire consequences for members who choose to ignore the directive.’’ The President said in order to return to the “winning ways’’, the APC must maintain cohesion by closing its ranks.
He further said: “We must be alive to the time and the task that is before us. As we all know, we are immediately confronted with the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States. Therefore, this is the time to get our acts together.
’’ The emergency NEC meeting adopted all the recommendations by President Buhari, and appointed the Governor of Yobe State, Mallam Mai Mala Buni, as Caretaker National Chairman, while Senator John Akpanudoede was designated Caretaker National Secretary.