All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders are rallying to keep the party on track for its crucial national convention following Thursday’s warning by President Muhammadu Buhari that the party should keep its house in order ahead of next year’s elections.
Governors elected on the platform of the APC yesterday met with Buhari, 24 hours after his warning as part of the efforts to resolve the logjam holding up the convention.
A follow-up meeting of the governors has been scheduled for Wednesday to pick a definite date for the convention.
The meeting was originally planned for tomorrow.
Buhari personally asked for the convention timetable from the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party,
This came as some members of the party approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to restrain the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) from holding the national convention next month.
Simultaneously, the Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, wrote a memo to the APC hierarchy, asking the CECPC to proceed with the convention plan or resign.
It was learnt that some governors, including an influential one, had reached out to the President in the last one and a half weeks to intervene in the hiccups delaying the convention.
According to investigation, Buhari had received representations from some governors and party leaders on the danger of not holding APC National Convention on time.
It was learnt that the President was no longer comfortable with the delay of the convention.
A top source said yesterday: “The dilly-dallying over APC National Convention may soon end because President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Caretaker Committee to come up with a timetable for the convention.
“The President’s directive might have been informed by representations from some governors and stakeholders to him in the past few weeks.
“The representations and looming stress in the party made the President to warn APC leaders and members on Thursday of the consequences of disunity in the party.
“If the Caretaker Committee can draw a timeline, there will be less tension in the party. Let us hope something will be done.”
But a Presidency source said: “I have not been told that (the directive)”, while a state governor said he was aware that the President “has taken action and given advisory to the Caretaker Committee to act on a timeline for the convention.”
The governor added: “We have got a notice of a meeting of APC governors on Sunday in Abuja. We will discuss the advisory of the President and agree on a date for the convention.
A governor said: “We have reached a critical point to save the party and the CECPC from rebellion. Some of us are becoming impatient with the conduct of the Caretaker Committee, but we do not want a full blown crisis in APC.
“A few of us have gone to the President to give him the other side of the way the party is being managed and the danger ahead.
“Ordinarily, the Chairman of CECPC, Governor Mai Mala Buni, is a good man who cannot hurt a fly. But some of our leaders are taking advantage of his broad-mindedness to misdirect the Caretaker Committee.
“Even some governors who did not know how APC was formed are neck-deep in trying to hijack the activities of the Caretaker Committee.”
Governors Simon Lalong of Plateau State yesterday confirmed a planned meeting of the APC governors to decide on a definite date for the party’s National Convention.
Emerging from a meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Lalong said the President’s Thursday warning to the party was a signal for the APC to have a seamless convention to avert disintegration.
The warning, according to him, was for the APC to redouble its effort and do the right thing.
His words: “You know, when convention is coming, there are fears here and there. Some people will tell you it will work, it will not work.
“I don’t want to jump to conclusion, but the visit to the President has already assured us and you know that there is already a notice that all the governors are meeting on Sunday.
“By Sunday, we will tell you when we’re doing the convention.”
It was learnt last night that the meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday.
“We’ve taken a date already. I think (during) our first date before Christmas, we said we were going to do convention in February and we are still working for convention as far as I’m concerned, except things change from another angle.
“But as far as I’m concerned, we’re working for our convention in February.
“These are the things that the President was raising fears about. But we’ve already given him assurances that nothing will stop us from having a very peaceful election.
“Some parties have done their own. The PDP did their own; nothing will stop APC from doing their own.
“So, all the fears that we’re talking about, which the President also re-echoed, is all about telling the governors ‘please do more, keep the party alive’. So, by God’s grace, we’re going to keep our party alive.
“Well, these are things we’re going to discuss. But I’m not drawing any conclusion. I always tell you that a political party is a cumulation of interests. The interests may be the same, they may not be the same, but at the end of the day, what we’ll do is that we are going to elect people who are going to represent you.”