APC Convention: Southwest Governors Pick Kekemeke, Omisore


….Akeredolu warns against interference

….Aspirants screening failed to hold yesterday

…..Senators splits on Musa, Adamu, Al-Makura


Six days to the All Progressives Congress (APC) convention, there is no consensus yet on who will be the national chairman.

President Muhammadu Buhari is believed to be supporting Senator Abdullahi Adamu, but other aspirants have obtained forms and are campaigning.

The Southwest geo-political zone has shared out the position allocated to it.

The region has nominated Mr. Isaac Kekemeke (Ondo State) as its candidate for National Vice Chairman (Southwest) and Senator Iyiola Omisore (Osun) as National Secretary.

Kekemeke is a former Secretary to the Ondo State government and one-time Attorney-General.

Omisore was a two-time senator.

Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who is the coordinator of the Southwest Governors Forum, announced the nominations yesterday.

He, however, warned against any plot by external forces to truncate the declared interest of the zonal leaders and stakeholders.

He vowed that the zone would resist efforts to create division by attempting to impose aspirants for party offices.

Akeredolu explained that APC stakeholders in the Southwest micro-zoned the positions that were brought to the region.

Speaking through his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, Akeredolu said Kekemeke’s aspiration was not just an Ondo project, but a Southwest project.

He said: “He has paid his dues and that is exactly what Mr. Governor has rallied his colleagues to reciprocate.

“Those who are peddling other stories such as national secretary outside Oyo and Osun axis are instruments in the hands of external forces desirous to create division among leaders in the Southwest to impose persons on the party.

“For emphasis, what we are going for is national vice chairman with Kekemeke as our candidate and not the national secretary. Those outside the Southwest, who are attempting to micro-zone our offices for us in Southwest are only creating unnecessary confusion and any such of their permutations outside the decision of stakeholders in the Southwest should be ignored.”

There was suspense yesterday, following the failure of the screening committee to commence its assignment. The committee is headed by Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari.

The screening, which was billed to have taken place at the weekend at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, was cancelled without any communication from the party.

It was learnt that some committee members and aspirants that showed up at the screening had to leave when no information was forthcoming.

It was, however, gathered that the delay in carrying out the screening was informed by the late submission of nomination forms by some aspirants.

A source attributed the none take-off of the screening to moves by some blocs in the party pushing for the harmonisation of the two sub-committees constituted by Chairman Mai Mala Buni, and the one inaugurated by former acting chairman Governor Abubakar Sani Bello.

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The Buni committee had Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak as chairman while the committee inaugurated by Bello is chaired by Masari.

It was further gathered that the harmonisation is billed to be carried out today to enable the committee to swing to action by tomorrow.

But, another source said Masari has divided his committee into six subunits, with each of the units handling screening at each geo-political zone.

The source said: “Each of the six will be sub-divided again into three. With Unit A handling the screening of National Working Committee (NWC) aspirants, Unit B will handle Non-NWC offices.

“Unit C will handle zonal positions so that they can finish their job in one day and present their report to the Appeal Committee.”

APC governors are still divided over the choice of chairman as of yesterday.

The governors were also not at ease over the emergence of a list of some preferred candidates by Buhari.

They have split into caucuses to come up with a Unity List for a second look by Buhari.

The governors may, however, meet with the President during the week on the matter.

Issues generating tension are as follows:

*Whether or not to adopt consensus or open race for the national chairman

*Opposition to the imposition of candidates.

* Rejection of tinkering with micro-zoning at the last minute.

*Need for the President to respect the inputs of the governors.

*Preparation of a Unity List by governors to present to Buhari

A source said: “Governors and party leaders have retired into caucuses on how to address some of these last-minute issues. The President prefers adoption of consensus for the offices; governors want outright open contest by aspirants

“For instance, it was learnt that the President was trying to build consensus around ex-Governor Abdullahi Adamu for the office of the national chairman. But the former governor does not enjoy the backing of most APC governors.

“Others in the list of favoured candidates are a former President of the Senate, Dr. Ken Nnamani (Deputy National Chairman, South); Farouk Adamu Aliyu (Northwest) for Deputy National Chairman (North); and Ifeolu Oyedele from Ondo State (National Secretary).

“The governors are claiming that the President’s choices may alter the micro-zoning formula adopted in some geo-political zones.

“There is disquiet in the North. The Deputy National Chairman (North) ought to come from the Northeast and not Northwest. Even Buhari’s strategist, Farouk Adamu Aliyu from Jigawa State in the Northwest, who is allegedly favoured by the Presidency, is not supported by Governor Abubakar Badaru and other governors in the zone.

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“In the Southwest, the governors in the geopolitical area met and zoned the National Secretary to Oyo/Osun axis and not Ondo State. What the governors ceded to Ondo State were the National Vice Chairman (Southwest) and Zonal Youth Leader.

“There are many examples of the distortion of the micro-zoning formula in all the six geopolitical zones.”

A governor said: “We want to work on a Unity List which can assist APC to consolidate and win the hearts of Nigerians in the 2023 elections.

“We do not want imposition of candidates. We want them to emerge from the members of the party.

“We believe that the President ought to seek the inputs of the governors. We will meet him before the convention with our advisory.”

All is set

Buni yesterday said that all is now set for the convention on Saturday.

He said the activities of “the Protocols Sub-committee had instilled confidence in members that all is set for the biggest party in Africa to now hold its National Convention.”

Buni, who was briefed by the Protocols sub-committee chairman and Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in Abuja at the weekend, noted that “the committee has gingered hitherto pessimistic party members that the convention is going to hold”.

Ganduje, in a statement by his Commissioner for Information and co-opted member of the committee, Malam Muhammad Garba, quoted Buni as assuring that “the APC is organising a convention with a global outlook that calls for concerted efforts by all members.”

Ganduje told Buni that recruitment of young men and women who will serve as protocol officers and ushers during the convention has been completed.

“They recruits are receiving training, which is part of the responsibilities of the Protocols committee,” Ganduje added.

Other members of the committee are the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio; Minister of State for Health, Senator Adeleke Mamora; Rep. Hafiz Kawu from Tarauni Federal Constituency; Abdullahi Shu’aibu, among others.

Stepping down yesterday, Sheriff said: “I, Ali Modu Sheriff, will not offer myself for the contest on Saturday because it has been zoned out of my zone. I am from the Northeast.

“Northcentral is made of Kogi, Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau states. These are the places where the chairman will come out from. Borno State is Northeast of Nigeria.

“Therefore, that’s the position as of today and I want you to communicate to all of our followership, men and women all over the country so that they don’t expect to see my name on the ballot paper.”

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APC senators divided over aspirants

Sources said APC Senators are divided over the chairmanship race.

The lawmakers appear to be in dilemma because of three of their colleagues who are in the race.

They include Senators Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Sani Musa (Niger) and Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa).

It was gathered that some senators are supporting the candidacy of Adamu, based on information that he is the choice of President Buhari.

It was also alleged that the senators working for the emergence of Adamu as APC’s National Chairman, are also supporting the choice of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, as a Presidential candidate.

A senator said: “The game plan is to make Abdullahi Adamu the chairman of the party and Farouk Aliyu, a former House of Representatives member from Jigawa State, as the deputy.

“They are working with some people in the presidency to ensure the emergence of Rotimi Amaechi as the APC presidential candidate.

“Their plan is clearly against the wishes of the majority of the party members who believe that a man with his political structures should emerge as the candidate.

“They have already met with the President and they claimed that the President had bought into their game plan.”

Our reporter observed that some senators were at the Area 11 Garki, Abuja campaign office of Senator Adamu on Friday when the aspirant unveiled the newly renovated edifice.

The senators who attended the ceremony and spoke on the occasion included, Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi; Chief Whip Orji Uzor Kalu; Adamu Aliero and Mohammed Ali Ndume, among others.

Senator Ndume confirmed that he was supporting Adamu because of his competence and blunt attitude.

He said: “I am supporting Abdullahi Adamu because he is the most qualified and courageous among other aspirants.

“Adamu is somebody who cannot be influenced by money. He is not afraid to say anything in favour of whatever he believes in.”

Senators Al-Makura, Musa and Adamu could not be reached for comments.

However, Senator Musa said: “I respect those that are older than me and I also reciprocate the same gesture of respect to those that I am ahead of in terms of age.

“I respect those that are my seniors. I will seize this opportunity to call on those that have been in this system to give those that are new, a trial so that we will come up with fresh ideas.

“At 57, I should be able to steer the ship of APC and put it on the pedestal of success and of winning elections.”

(The Nation)

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