There were strong indications on Sunday that the National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC would hold in October, 2021.
A member of the APC national caucus, who confided in CompassNG, said that with the myriad problems arising from the party’s membership registration exercise, there was no way the national convention would be held earlier than October.
CompassNG also scooped that the Mala Buni-led interim National Caretaker Committee was still battling with crises in state chapters of the party.
Recall that following the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee, NWC, on June 25, 2020, and the constitution of the Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Committee, the caretaker committee was given six months to conduct the party’s national convention.
However, on December 8, 2020, the caretaker committee’s tenure was extended to allow for membership registration and revalidation.
It was gathered that those pushing for additional time for the Buni-led committee hinged their advocacy on the fact that the panel had yet to conclude the data capturing required to finalise the registration and validation of the party’s membership.
It was also gathered that the committee would seek additional time to conclude the reconciliation of aggrieved party members to prepare ground for ward, local government and state congresses before the national convention.
Logistics, according to impeccable sources, would also be a huddle as President Muhammadu Buhari had insisted that public funds should not be used to fund party activities.
Meanwhile, the anti-tenure extension proponents had stepped up efforts to thwart the plan of the committee, on the grounds that giving the panel additional time would dent the image of the party.
Although, accordi g to CompassNG findings, consultations were still ongoing about the zoning formula, multiple sources within the party hierarchy confirmed the party’s plan to commence sale of forms for the various party offices “by the end of June.”
A member of the party’s national caucus, who spoke on condition of anonymity, because has no authority to speak to the media on the issue, said, “To be realistic, if we want to do a thorough job like I’m sure we want to, we cannot hold this convention before October.
“As we speak, we are still processing the raw data collected from the states after the just concluded membership registration and revalidation. We need to have the database which is required for the national membership register.
“If you recall, that was what our party was doing in Lagos in 2014 or thereabouts when the Department of State Services, DSS, under the Goodluck Jonathan administration disrupted it. This whole exercise is designed to rebuild and update the database.
“You also have the issue of the ongoing reconciliation of party leaders and members across board. No party member would want us to enter into the convention with a divided house. To the best of my knowledge, members of the Buni-led committee are eager to conclude their assignment and move on, but they cannot leave their job half done. That is where we are.”
A chieftain of the party from Enugu State, Osita Okechukwu, who before now spoke about the possibility of the convention holding in June, said fresh evidence available to him indicated that the issue of logistics had yet to be fully sorted out.
He said, “Logistics is still a major factor. I am aware that Mr President has made it clear to all party members that under his watch, public funds would not be used to fund party activities. President Buhari is a stickler for respect for the rule of law and adherence to financial regulations.
“The party must look within to generate funds to fund its activities; this is a major factor. I am, however, confident that the caretaker committee under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni remains committed to delivering its mandate.”
But the spokesman for party supporters, under the aegis of Concerned APC Members, CAM, Abdullahi Dauda, said, “We have known from the very beginning that this delay tactics will stretch to this time. The committee was initially given six months to reconcile aggrieved members and convene a national convention but the committee added another function to its original mandate.
“The registration of members was not part of their mandate; they included it and got another six months. We can only wait to see what they want to do this time after the second six months expires.”
Recall that the pioneer interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, had warned the committee against yielding to the temptation of sitting tight.
Speaking while revalidating his membership of the party in his country home, Akande said, “Please, permit me to make two observations. The first is that in normal circumstances, a caretaker executive committee for a political party is an abnormality. If not carefully controlled and expeditiously managed, most aberrant authorities end up in contempt and disgrace.”
Meanwhile attempts to seek the opinion of the secretary of the Buni-led committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, proved abortive, as he was yet to respond to a message sent to him mobile number as at the time of filing this report.