From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied zoning its national chairmanship to North Central.
Senator James Akpanudoedehe, national secretary of the party’s Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) said this when he spoke with newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
Reacting to a media report, he said the issue of zoning was not part of the mandates of the Governor Buni-led CECPC.
“I have the mandate to report that whatever decision the CECPC takes, and to the best of my knowledge, the committee has not discussed zoning.’’
He added that with the party’s national convention slated for February 2022, it was expected that party members would come up with different zoning speculations.
“People are just flying what will favour their interest; all I know is that the caretaker committee has not discussed or reached a zoning decision,’’ he said.
Also Senator Victor Lar, media director, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff Campaign Organisation, said the report was laughable and a figment of the imagination of those who planted it.
“We find the purported story as very laughable because the organs of the party that are supposed to communicate that kind of information are not the ones communicating it. For that reason, we will take it with a pinch of salt. Again, the APC as a party has never adopted zoning, therefore, the story of it zoning the national championship to the North Central can better be described as a figment of the imaginations of those who planted it. We find the report as the very poor scheming of people who are scared of contesting the position with Sheriff,’’ Lar said.
Lar added that the race for the APC national chairmanship was an open contest, saying the best candidate should be allowed to emerge. He said this was necessary for the party to be galvanised for victory in the 2023 general elections.
However, there appeared to be no letup in the internal crisis plaguing the party as its youth wing, yesterday, handed the Buni-led CECPC an ultimatum to pack and go.
“Today is the day that story of youths are leaders of tomorrow ended. Today, we are leaders of here and now and we will change Nigeria. We have been recognised by Mr. President and by all the members of the party. I can tell you that the leaders are currently scrambling and having meeting on how to align with us.
“This Caretaker Committee has sacked the Buni-led caretaker committee and (it) stands dissolved, disbanded and no longer represent the APC members. As the new committee, we will take up the monumental task of reconciliation,” the group under the aegis of the APC Progressive Youth Movement (APC-PYM) said.
It also inaugurated a caretaker committee to conduct the party’s national convention in February next year.
Chairman of the APC-PYM Caretaker Committee, Mustapha Audu, who made the disclosure in Abuja, gave the party’s national leadership January 3 ultimatum to vacate the national secretariat.
He said the group would not only write to the Buni-led committee next week to handover and vacate the national secretariat but would also write an audit firm to look into the accounts of the ruling party since the caretaker committee took over last year.
But the CECPC have dismissed the purported sack, insisting that it would not join issues with paid, misguided group.
The party, in a statement by the National Secretary, Caretaker Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, denied knowledge of the existence of the group in the party even as it claimed its borders on treasonable felony.
“We have received several enquiries from the media and concerned APC members on the felonious activities of a purported group parading themselves as Progressive Youth Movement.
“The purported group and membership are unknown to the party, its structure or as a registered support group, hence we completely disown them and cannot account for their activities or join issues with them.
“However laughable, the criminal attempt of the purported group to usurp the leadership of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC now borders on treasonable felony. Relevant security bodies must now check and address their unscrupulous activities.
“The attention the purported group seeks will not be given to them by the party. We can only advise that the general public completely disregard them. Members of this group are not registered members of the APC and are being used by opposition elements and fifth columnists to cause confusion.
“As widely reported, the successful meeting between the APC leadership, Progressive Governors’ Forum and the president produced February 2022 as the timeframe for the party’s national convention. Our focus now is preparing the ground for a rancour-free exercise,” Akpanudoedehe.
Regardless, APC-PYM said: “It is clear that there are issues in our great party and we all know that there are constitutional lacuna we are facing and the opposition is not happy with what is going on.
“The composition of the sacked APC was in clear violation of the party and Nigeria’s constitution but we have resolved that constitution lacuna and we are no longer unprepared for the 2023 general elections. To show you the power of young people, we met just a week ago in Kaduna and fixed our convention for February 2022 only for the governors to assemble in Abuja 24 hours after.
“They went to the president claiming that he had agreed on the same February. We met with Mr. President in January and he told us to go all out and change the narrative.
“There is enough problem existing already and majority of it came from the governors. In order to fix the problems as youths, we have to stand up bravely and boldly to face the challenges. We are going in to reconcile the APC hand-in-hand with party leaders and we are not going to chastise anybody.”
Asked where they would operate from after dissolving the Buni-led Committee, he said: “We will be writing formally to the Buni-led caretaker committee next week to tell them to vacant the office for us to occupy. We will also demand a handover note, we will also write to PricewaterhouseCoopers to do a thorough audit of the accounts of the APC since June last year when the Buni-led caretaker committee was inaugurated to establish the exact state of things,” he said.
Announcing the zoning of the national leadership to be contested on February 26, 2022, the group disclosed that the North would produce the national chairman, deputy national chairman would be zoned to the South while the deputy national chairman North would be a female. All the officials, except the chairman must be 45 years and below.
The national secretary, (South), national legal adviser (North), national treasurer, (South), national financial secretary, national organising secretary (North), national publicity secretary (South) among other positions.