• Former CPC members, North-Central move to claim slot
By Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation THE NATIONS EXPRESS
Fresh intrigues are building up in the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the party’s search for a new national chairman intensifies, it was gathered on Saturday.
Some leaders from one of the legacy parties that transformed into APC, the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), want the next APC chairman to come from their group.
Their reason is that of the three main legacy parties that formed the APC, only the CPC caucus, from where President Muhammadu Buhari came, has not occupied the chairmanship seat.
With the President exiting in 2023, the former CPC leaders believe that someone from the caucus leading the party will be a good bargain.
The Northcentral geo-political zone is also lobbying for the slot.
The zone alleges that the APC structure since 2014 has always left it marginalised.
It was learnt that two ex-governors from Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura , are being considered for the chairmanship slot by some party leaders from the zone.
The two ex-governors have joined the league of those speculated to be on the chairmanship shopping list, joining the likes of ex-governors Abdulaziz Yari, Modu Ali Sheriff, Clement Ebri and Kashim Shettima.
However, rival groups in the party are trying to read the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari on his preferred candidate.
The new chairman and other members of the national executive committee of the party are expected to emerge during the national convention scheduled for June.
Party sources said on Saturday that a lot of intrigues are already emerging ahead of the convention.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The CPC elements are pushing for the chairmanship slot because since the birth of the merger, only the caucus has not produced the national chairman of APC.
“The first chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, came from the former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) bloc. His successor, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was from another legacy party, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and the immediate past national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was from ACN.
“The CPC Caucus wants the slot for equity and fairness to all legacy parties.
“The fact that the President will be exiting power in 2023 was said to have emboldened members of the CPC Caucus.”
Leaders of the other legacy parties do not seem to agree.
Another reliable source said: “There will be imbalance in the party if the CPC bloc produces the next chairman, because it is still holding the presidency.
“Other parties to the merger will certainly be alienated if the CPC bloc produces the next chairman.
“Buhari saw this coming when he endorsed Oshiomhole as the chairman of the party.
“There are already fears that CPC is seeking to dominate the merger and eventually subdue all the legacy parties.
“The way things stand now, the ANPP bloc is fizzling out with the end of the tenure of Oyegun.
“The Chairman of the interim national caretaker committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, is a hybrid of the defunct Action Congress and ANPP.
“So, the task before our leaders is to work on how to sustain the merger in a manner that APC will outlive all of us.”
It was also gathered that in the event of the Northcentral getting the chairmanship slot, it will truncate the presidential aspiration of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
A former zonal officer said: “I think those who are lobbying for APC chairmanship for Northcentral are only facing the reality. There is a growing consensus that power must shift to the South with the Southwest agitating for it.
“The Northcentral has been marginalized in APC. It is time for us to lead the party. We can serve as an arbiter for all tendencies in the party.
“In spite of the fact that Governor Yahaya is aspiring to be the next President, he may not go far in his aspiration because the zone is not united for him.”
Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who is one of the two top members from the zone being mentioned for the chairmanship position, played a yeoman’s role in defending Buhari in the 8th Senate.
He succeeded in returning to the Senate following the personal intervention of the President.
But old age pressure is said to be his major constraint.
The other, Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura, was a member of the National Executive Committee of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
He has been in party politics since the Second Republic.
He was also the only CPC governor who participated in the merger talks.
A governor said: “The possible candidacy of Adamu or Al-Makura is part of the latest intrigues.
“They are both close associates and confidants of the President. This makes the game more interesting if it goes to the Northcentral.
“In all honesty, the choice of the next APC national chairman is still open. But we will try to build a consensus in order to make the party stronger ahead of 2023 elections.”
The two ex-governors have joined the league of those speculated to be on the chairmanship shopping list, including ex-governors Abdulaziz Yari, Modu Ali Sheriff, Clement Ebri and Kashim Shettima among others.
The ongoing probe of Yari by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may be a challenge for him.
“Despite his travails, some governors want him to lead the party,” a party source added.