Ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Convention and zoning of elective positions, APC Youth Leaders and Stakeholders, have reminded the national leaders that the party has never been big and rigid on zoning.
Addressing newsmen after several hours meeting at the party’s headquarters on Sunday, the group maintained that instead of being rigid on zoning, the party has rather been big on balancing of positions.
Responding to the crisis trailing zoning in the party, APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Youth Leader, Barr Ismaeel Buba Ahmed, said: “The issue of zoning, APC has never been big on zoning like that, to be honest, it has always been big on balancing not necessarily zoning and you would remember that in 2014 primaries that President Muhammadu Buhari emerged five people contested for the President, only two were from the same zone.
“All the others were from different zones. Late Sam Nda Isaiah was from the North-central, Atiku Abubakar from the North-East, Rochas Okorocha from the South-East. Only Buhari and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso were from the North-West. So the party did not sit down and zone particular positions.
“Even in 2014 convention that happened in August, where Chief John Odigie-Oyegyun became the National Chairman, there was no and open committee on zoning that said okay positions, but there was balancing internally. It was like an informal arrangement everybody knew about it.
“Yes, this meeting discussed the issue of zoning, the only thing we want, zoned is not to the political zones, but to the generational zone, which is young people. We want certain positions zoned to us as young people. And that position, once it is zoned, we are also craving the indulgence of the leadership of the party to allow us as young people and stakeholders to be able to decide the leadership of at least that wing of the party and so ditto for women.
“For other positions that we want to run, if the NEC by its wisdom decided to zone them to any place we have capable young people in every zone that can match and run for those positions. So, we are expecting that the NEC will sit down at some point before the convention and decide where they want to balance the positions.
“Whatever they decide we want to be part of that decision, one. Two, once that decision is taking wherever it is taking to we have capable young people in every zone, to represent us,” he said.
He equally fielded questions on the issue of direct or indirect primaries, noting; “this is not an exhaustive meeting. So, there are certain things we did not discuss. But, ordinarily, as members of this party, we love direct primaries because it’s an opportunity for open inclusion. Everybody gets involved in deciding. Of course, there are certain things that we are afraid of may be the magnitude of the exercise, whether or not any political party in this country should be restricted to a single way of bringing out candidates and whether or not we have the manpower to man 8812 wards when we are doing primaries.
“But, other than that, is an open season, is an opportunity for young people to participate in the process. So, direct primaries is something that we will encourage. The party needs to do a lot of homework before it gets to that point. It is not a decision we have taken.
“I am just saying my own opinion. We have, not as a young people decided on whether or not we support it. I think the National Assembly has done its job, it is up to the President. Once the President signed it, it doesn’t matter what your opinion is,” he said.
Reading out the communique agreed at the meeting, Deputy National Youth Leader, Hon Bolaji Hafiz Repete, said: “As leadership of the party, we welcome and applaud the decision of the President, the Progressives Governors’ Forum and all other critical stakeholders of the party to have our National Convention in February 2022, this we believe is in the best interest of the party.
“The youth leadership therefore recognized the opportunity given to youth in leadership positions at the Wards, Local Governments and States Congresses and also appeal for inclusion of more Youth in the National Executive Committee (NEC) in the February 2021 Elective Convention.
“The youth leadership is using this opportunity to encourage youth in the party to present themselves for elective positions in the forthcoming National Convention.
“The APC youth leadership also encourage all members of the party with any form of discontent to take advantage of the National Reconciliation Committee headed by Senator Abdulahi Adamu to air their grievances and seek adequate recompense rather than slugging it out on the pages of newspapers, Social Media, Television or Radio stations.
“In conclusion, the Youth leadership of APC hereby call on all Party stalwarts at every level to please put the interest of party first because promoting personal interest will only lead to the destruction of the party,” the communique read.
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