Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Five governors on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), on Wednesday, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the President Villa, Abuja, with a resolve to abide by the party’s constitution and hold Ward congresses.
Tuesday meeting with the President had ended in deadlock.
The governors of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Yari, Plateau State, Simon Lalong, Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje and Ogun Ibikunle Amosun, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting which held in the office of the president.
According to Governor Yari, “Gentlemen of the press, you know yesterday we left you in the dark after the meeting and today we have seen so many captions that there is disagreement between the governors over the issue of party Chairman or about the party leadership.
“No. We had a meeting with Mr. President yesterday (Tuesday), and we extended the meeting to night and we followed up with the consultations with the President now.
“We consulted and all the 24 governors of the APC are in the same page with Mr. President that we are going to respect our party constitution, we are going to respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So therefore, we collectively agreed that we will have congresses at all levels – Local – State and National.
And the committee set up by the National Secretariat of our party headed by governor of Plateau State, is presenting its report later today. The governors are also meeting with the working committee today so that we come up with convention committee names as well as timetable of the election.
“So, there is no deadlock in our meeting, we have progressed and very soon you will have the names of the convention committee members as well as the timetable.”
Governor Okorocha, on his part said, “I just want to let you know that there is no crisis in the APC at all. And we want to use this opportunity to advise the media operatives to stop spreading rumors of crisis in APC. There is no single crisis in APC.
“The issue was one of people who believe that we did not have enough time to organize a party congress and run election. Some people felt that it was a good idea but the most important thing is that, if we do that we will be contravening both our party constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is the major issue that we have that they call crisis. We do not have virus.
This morning we met with Mr. President to fine-tune issues, one regarding the congress and we have resolved that the congresses at all levels and the Chairman of the elongation committee, is also fine-tuning the arrangement in the same line. To this effect, the convention committee will be set out, it will be announced.
“But let me correct one impression, the issue of congress and convention does not mean that the previous people who have served the party have done badly. And it does not mean that they cannot come back or that they cannot re-contest, that is not it.
“We are simply saying that their tenure has ended and those who wish to re-contest can re-contest and can be elected into our party structure. So we are all one as family and we are set to go for 2019 elections in victory.”
Lalong said, “I’m submitting my report today. There is no crisis in our party.”
Buhari had at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of March 27 in Abuja, said NWC’s tenure extension decided at NEC’s meeting on February 27 was illegal and unconstitutional.
The NEC had extended the tenure of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC and other executive committees of the party across all levels in the country by one year, starting from June.
The president had explained that the decision was already causing acrimony within the party as some of its members who were not comfortable with the matter had taken it to court.
Following the president’s rejection of the extension he called a closed-door meeting with the APC governors on Tuesday.
After the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday, most of the governors wore long faces when they emerged from the meeting which lasted for close to two hours.
They simply declined to comment on the outcome of their meeting when State House correspondents approached some of them.