From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
An All Progressives Congress (APC) pressure group, Concerned Stakeholders of the APC, has warned that urgent measures should be taken to reverse the imminent descent of the ruling party into possible extinction.
The stakeholders issued the warning at a media parley in Abuja on Wednesday, lamenting that the party had deviated from its ideals as envisioned by its founders in 2013.
The chief convener, Abubakar Sadiq Usman, who read a prepared speech frowned at the nature of congresses conducted by the party’s national leadership, warning that party members will no longer accept consensus arrangements.
In the speech entitled “Before the APC goes into extinction”, the stakeholders predicted doom for the party, warning that what happened to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
‘We want to draw the attention of members and supporters of the APC, both within and outside the country on the urgent need to reverse the imminent descent of the party into possible extinction.
‘As part of activities leading to our National Convention, we have held Ward and Local Government Congresses in a very undemocratic way, clearly imposing leadership on members at the grassroots in the guise of the so-called ‘consensus’ candidate.
‘While we acknowledge that consensus is one of our party’s constitutional provisions, it is an irrefutable fact that the APC Constitution did not envisage a situation where certain individuals, whether as governors, former governors or party leaders would coerce members into accepting a premeditated outcome as a mutually agreed option.
‘A forced outcome is never a consensus because any procedure that does not uphold the freedom of choice of individuals cannot be said to embody the progressive politics that APC ought to represent.
‘We may have missed the opportunity to right these wrongs at the two levels where congresses already held, but the forthcoming national convention presents a perfect opportunity that we must take advantage of.
‘Consequently, these Concerned Stakeholders demand that open contestation must be the only option for every position in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, rather than the imposition of anointed candidates in the name of consensus as was the case with the party’s recent Wards and Local Government congresses.
‘We demand that the set of leaders that will emerge from the forthcoming national convention must be those who do not only have what it takes to give a new life to the APC in the interest of all members, they must be people with unquestionable characters and proven records of progressiveness.
‘Therefore, stringent conditions must be given as criteria qualifying anyone to hold a national office in the All Progressives Congress. The question of the many ex-this and ex-that having to run the affairs of the party despite their glaring failures in previous responsibilities must not be entertained,’ the group stated.
Speaking further, the stakeholders warned: ‘We equally charge the party’s Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) with ensuring that the National Convention’s date, guidelines, and other arrangements are made public prior to the state Congress slated for October 16, 2021. This will not only dispel the widely held belief that the Buni-led committee is playing out a script with its continuous stay in office, it will ensure proper and adequate planning for the convention.
‘Conducting this national convention and handing over to a duly elected and constituted National Working Committee is even more germane at this point in time that many legal challenges have been mounted against the Caretaker Committee in the court of law,” they insisted.
Responding to their threats, National Secretary of the CECPC Sen John James Akpanudoedehe appealed to them not to pull down the party because they lost out in the control of the party structure.
‘People have aspirations and if they fail or are not met they are bound to form associations. We will always look for credible candidates to win. People must make themselves love the party. What people should be talking about is the performance of the party in giving dividends to Nigerians. It is their right to vent anger but consensus allows cohesion and cohesiveness.
‘Those God wants to be there will be there. The beauty of this CECPC is to ensure a rancour-free process and we are doing that. But not everybody will be happy. I want to advise them to stay at the party and associate with the stakeholders and lobby them.
‘We followed the constitution of the party to conduct the process. The report before us doesn’t give an impression that the processes were flawed. People should stop playing to the gallery. We set up appeal panels and I am not sure they explored the channel for redress. Even when they go, they can’t prove their case.’
The party’s National Secretary also dismissed the claim that party faithful were not carried along, stressing: ‘We will continue to mend fences, I won’t say people are carried along with hundred per cent but I can say the party is owned by the people now, not by power blocs or minority.
‘They must trust the chairman of having the elasticity to accommodate everybody and bring everybody together. People will always complain when they lose. This caretaker can say that since inception, we have never had it so good as a party. We have stabilised the party and brought more people to the party. Instead of vilifying us, they should be praising President Muhammadu Buhari,’ he said.