Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the camps within the party have stormed Abuja for what sources say would be a stormy session, as forces loyal to the embattled national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the camps of the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, have been said to be gearing up for a last minute battle of wit.
According to Tribune, it was gathered that Odigie-Oyegun’s sympathisers, whose rank has since been depleted following the volte face by the governors, are in final push for a block support from the state chairmen of the ruling party.
But indications emerged at the weekend that the peace between the camps of President Muhammadu Buhari and Tinubu appeared to have been consolidated following the resolution of the Governor Simon Lalong-led technical committee to toe the line of constitutionality, a development that is said to be sending jitters down the spine of those in Odigie-Oyegun’s camp.
Findings revealed that the forum of 36 state chairmen would have been beneficiary of the tenure elongation granted the Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) by the National Executive Committee at its meeting last February before the March gathering where President Buhari expressed reservations and called for the jettisoning of the NEC’s earlier resolution.
A party source, however, confided in Sunday Tribune that it would be difficult for the state chairmen to continue to back Odigie-Oyegun, as it would amount to open confrontation with governors in their respective states.
“It will be difficult for state chairmen in states controlled by the APC to maintain support for Chief Odigie-Oyegun. It is only in states where APC is in opposition that the state chairmen can indulge in such folly. I am sure the national chairman can play on sentiments in South-South and South-East states to sway support for him,” the source said.
Further checks revealed that the camp of the former Lagos State governor and the APC Governors’ Forum led by the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, were already looking beyond the Monday meeting, following the recommendation of the technical committee led by Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, which recommended the conduct of ward, state congresses and national convention to replace existing structures of the party at all levels.
The committee, which submitted its report on Friday, was said to have recommended the immediate commencement of plans for congresses and convention, which will usher in another leadership of the party.
That position will be unveiled at the NEC meeting, sources close to the party said at the weekend.
It was gathered that the Lalong Committee had recommended something similar to the position of the president at the last NEC meeting of the party and that arrangements would be put in place from Monday to conduct congresses and the convention.
It was gathered that the National Convention Committee of the party would be put in place on Monday after the NEC would have ratified the report of the technical committee.
“Everything appears as if the peace accord between President Buhari and Senator Tinubu is being consolidated right now. The technical committee has recommended the commencement of congresses and conventions. The president and Tinubu have also agreed to the choice of former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, as the replacement for Chief John Odigie-Oyegun as the national chairman of the party. The whole report will be unveiled at the NEC on Monday,” a source said.
Sources in the party also confirmed that the list of members of the National Convention Committee, which will be unveiled on Monday, has been compiled by the president, in consultation with some members of the party, contrary to indications that the National Working Committee (NWC) will prepare the list for announcement at the NEC.
A source, however, said that the president may transfer the list of Convention Committee to the NWC just before the NEC meeting of Monday.
“The president has clearly imbibed the advice that legal implications are lurking in the wings if the convention is not held. He has agreed with the need to obey the constitution of the party and that exactly is what Tinubu was clamouring for all along,” a source said.
It was also learnt that the former governor of Lagos State would begin the full reconciliation assignment after the national convention might have ushered in a new NWC.
Credits: Taiwo Adisa and Taiwo Amodu