By Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The coast seems to be clear for the proposed extension of the time frame given to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee following the endorsement by the Progressive Governors Forum, the state party chairmen and the Non-National Working Committee members.
No fewer than three state governors, comprising the governors of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, Kebbi state, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and their Jigawa state, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and almost all the state party chairmen and Non-NWC rose from several hours meeting to endorse the extension.
Speaking after the meeting, the immediate past National Vice Chairman North East, Patron of State Chairmen of APC and NON-NWC NEC members of the APC, Mustapha Saliu, said that organising National Convention is now a secondary issue.
Asked the purpose of the meeting, he said: “We are here just for consultative meeting. We call it joint meeting, this is second of its kind where the forum of State Chairmen, forum of NON-NWC NEC members come together, deliberate on issues bordering their welfare, their job security and also the progress of the party and the country at large. So basically that is it.
“We have very fruitful deliberation. In attendance we have the representative of the Extraordinarily Caretaker Committee in person of Professor Tahir Mamman (SAN) who we deliberate intensively with him and he gave us all the legal efforts made to harmonize and streamline the transition processes of the Caretaker Committee. Also, in attendance are three Governors, the leadership of the Progressive Governors Forum and they gave assurance, they gave their support to the Caretaker Committee and also the Welfare of the NON-NWC NEC members and the forum of State Chairmen and the ranks and files of the party at large and their commitment to building the party from bottom to top.
“This meeting is highly symbolic with regards to unity of the party. I as the Parton of the joint Forum convene this meeting and I convene this meeting like eight months ago if you people remember we have serious tussle within NWC that time and we declined giving any statement because of the sensitive nature of the time but now that we have unity in the party, we have the effrontery to come out and stand before camera to tell you that we are one united family you see there is no part of this country that is not represented in the NON-NWC NEC members and the forum of State Chairmen. This is a welcome development and for the first time we have such attendance,” he said.
On tenure elongation for the Caretaker Committee, he said: “I don’t know what you are about tenure elongation, in the first place the Caretaker Committee doesn’t have tenure, they only have timeline to actualize the mandate given to them. They don’t have tenure because they’re not voted for.
“Tenure as defined by our constitution is when you are being voted for, for four years but these ones are the appointed to actualize certain goals and these goals are not actualize yet, they are in the process so the timeline will continue until these deliverables are being actualize.
“If there is need for extension to actualize these goals they will get extension from the National Executive Council (NEC) and they will continue until they actualize this,” he said.
Mustapha equally spoke on National Convention, stressing: “In line with what I just answered, there are prerequisites to this convention. There are things you need to achieve before we get to that convention. First of all like the registration, there is no party that will exist without standard registration.
“We have registration before the constitution says we should update our register six months, every six months. We are going to now do a general update and the revalidation of our own register which has been since 2014.
“This is now the biggest mandate which this Caretaker Committee has after which we will now rejig this party. What we are saying rejig we will do some reaffirmation from bottom to top which will now culminate with (into) the convention. There are some prerequisite we need to do before we get to convention so we will not want to put the cart before the horse.
“Now we’re taking about registration, we will take them one at a time when we finish registration will we talk about how we are going to rejig the party, we will see the reaffirmations within the ward, local governments and states then we will now culminate into the convention and then we’ll now have a solid, one, indivisible party,” he said.
Asked if there was any deliberation on 2023, he said: “There is nothing about 2023. We are talking about governance now. People should understand that there is time for governance, there is time for politics. When you start talking about 2023 now, I don’t think we are fair to Nigerians that gave us this mandate.
“Its proper for us now to talk about how we are going to deliver dividends of democracy, how are we going to deliver on the mandate given to us by Nigerians before we begin to talk about 2023.
“From now to 2023 is a life time only God knows how many of us will even reach 2023 but we know that we have mandate of Nigerians to deliver dividends of democracy and that is what we are talking about. We have bigger issues to talk about rather than 2023,” he said.