Raphael Ede, Enugu
Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON) and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has allayed fears over the APC national convention, billed for this weekend.
Okechukwu who disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen on Sunday over the crisis festering the ruling party may likely affect the national convention, said that the convention would be hitch-free because President Muhammadu Buhari remains the presumptive consensus candidate of the ruling party for 2019 presidential election.
The VON DG said in spite of conflicting reports of parallel congresses, he envisages a hitch-free national convention on June 23, since the entire tendencies within the party share a common ground in their support for President Buhari.
He predicted that most of the delegates would vote for former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshimole as the chairman of the party since President Buhari had endorsed him.
“To be honest, in spite of conflicting reports of parallel congresses, one envisages a hitch-free national convention of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on 23rd because we have President Muhammadu Buhari who from every index is the presumptive consensus candidate, come 2019 presidential election. Mr President is more like a guardian post for our great party. He is the canopy covering us all from bad weather.”
“Remember that what we operate is a presidential system, where unlike the parliamentary system the supremacy of the party is less profound. Every president in all presidential systems I know, be it in the United States, tailors the cloth of the party to his size,” he said.
On the connection between the gulf created by the fractious parallel congresses and the so called presumed consensus presidential candidate, he said: “ My observation is that all the tendencies and factions have a common ground, which in simple translation is the endorsement of Mr President. Mr President is our common denominator, we are all his supporters, hence citing political parlance, the struggle is for the control of party structure for 2023 general elections.
“In addition those who lost in the congresses are not only loyalists to Buhari, but are aware of the truism that they were swimming against the tide of the provisions of APC’s Constitution, which mandated the National Working Committee, subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee to make rules and regulations for nomination of candidates. Nobody has the right to reverse the national delegates list validly elected during the local government congress.
“With such iconic leader, like Buhari loyalty is enhanced. Loyalty to one leader minimises intra-party conflict. It could have been different if we have two strong presidential contenders.” Okechukwu advanced”, he stated.
He however, maintained that their collective support for Mr. President makes it easy for reconciliation and mending of fences in APC, post the national convention and before the 2019 general elections, the tonic of which was clearly gazetted by the unanimous support President Buhari’s endorsement of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the chairman of the party generated.