The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), a platform for governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is split following struggles for control of the party and when to hold the party’s national convention.
A faction opposing the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party on Thursday berated the committee in a statement by the Director General of the PGF, Mr Salihu Lukman.
Lukman slammed Buni’s handling of the party’s affairs and called him a saboteur poised to wreck the party for selfish agenda.
The governors have been trying to take their struggle to president Muhammadu Buhari for amicable resolution but have not been successful so far.
Some of those opposed to Buni include all South West governors except that of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi; Ebonyi State governor, Mr Dave Umahi, and Governor Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano State.
A statement by Lukman , who has dissociated the PGF from the alleged game being played by Buni, described the denial of the Buni committee on the shift in convention date as part of the strategy to sabotage the party.
Lukman said denying the postponement of convention as fake news without announcing a date was deceptive and “Very disappointing.”
He noted that, it is “a slap on the faces of Nigerians and an insult on party members. How can a statement from ‘a focus-driven, process-oriented political party’, make such a scandalous statement allegedly assuring that a Convention scheduled to hold in February without indicating a date and venue for the Convention?
“If subcommittees, whether for budget or anything are to be set up, to perhaps mobilise funds for the Convention, why are they not set up with just about two weeks to the end of January?”
Lukman accused the CECPC of intentionally promoting speculations around the APC national convention by claiming to embark on ‘consultations with party stakeholders to prepare the ground for a rancour-free National Convention.’
He said the meeting of November 22, 2021, led by the Chairman of PGF, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, which included Mai Mala Buni, to President Muhammadu Buhari to finalise consultations on the date of the Convention was enough to enable the committee set machinery in place towards the convention.
He said, “Immediately after the meeting with President Buhari, Bagudu announced the agreement reached with President Buhari to the effect that the Convention will hold in February 2022.
“With such an agreement, the responsibility of the CECPC is to go ahead and start organising the Convention.”
He noted that unfortunately, almost two months after, the CECPC has not issued any notice of the Convention to anyone. He stated that even the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which by the provision of the Electoral Act as amended, is required to be given at least 21 days’ notice, has not been notified, meaning the February convention will not hold.
He said, “It is very difficult not to conclude that both the Chairman and all members of the CECPC have no respect for President Buhari, which is responsible for why they are doing everything possible to sabotage decisions validly taken to hold the APC National Convention in February after consultation with the President.
“For whatever reasons, it would appear that the leadership of CECPC is enjoying all the public speculations maligning Governors and some other senior leaders of the party as working to stop the APC National Convention from holding in February 2022. This is most unfortunate.
“The truth must be told, the responsibility of organising the February 2022 APC National Convention rests squarely with the CECPC.
“It will be necessary to remind all members of the CECPC and by extension all leaders of APC that part of the reasons that made it very necessary to dissolve the Mr Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee, NWC, was the disrespect for leaders and members of the party, especially by Oshiomhole.
“It was on record that during the tenure of Oshiomhole as National Chairman, the recommendations of party leaders and members were hardly considered.
He said the APC, being a party envisioned to facilitate the process of political change in Nigeria, must appropriately use the present challenges to begin to introduce changes to the process of political leadership recruitment in Nigeria.
He advanced the argument that the first challenge was to ensure that the CECPC will have no option but to organize the national convention in February 2022 as decided, based on all the consultations that had taken place.
“Therefore, in the event that the CECPC is unable to implement the decision to hold the Convention in February 2022, as decided, the leadership of the CECPC should honourably resign to save the APC, its leaders (including Progressive Governors) and members from the current spate of avoidable public embarrassment, simply because the leadership of the CECPC have decided to disrespect the decision to hold the APC National Convention in February,” he stated.