LAGOS – The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may have concluded plans to zone the national chairmanship position of the party to the North.
A credible source, who is a top ranking member of the party, told our correspondent on Tuesday that there was no way the position of national chairman could remain in the South again with the clamour that the party should zone the presidential ticket to the South in 2023.
It would be recalled that the position became vacant following the Appeal Court ruling which upheld the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the party’s national chairman in June.
Owing to the protracted leadership crisis that ensued following Oshiomhole’s removal, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, at an emergency meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, dissolved the National Working Committee (NWC) on June 25, 2020.
In its place, the party constituted a Caretaker/ Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee to see to the day-to-day affairs of the party. The committee is headed by the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.
However, South-South leaders of the APC have rejected moves to zone the national chairmanship position to the North, saying since the former national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, had a four-year term, which was truncated by two years, his replacement should also come from the South-South and not any other region.
Also, last month, Salihu Lukman, Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), said some people were plotting to return Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman of the party.
However, our source said many of the decision-makers in the APC had agreed to look in the direction of the North in search for the next national chairman.
According to him, their belief is that it would be illogical for the South to have the two key positions of president and national chairman.
“The argument of the South-South leaders is noted. One can say that they have a valid point in demanding that their zone should produce the national chairman since the last occupant (Oshiomhole) did not finish his tenure.
“But the reality is that the same Southern leaders are demanding that the presidency be moved to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari’s two terms in 2023.
“Any national chairman we elect at our convention will serve for four years.
“If we listen to them and zone the presidency to the North and also zone the national chairmanship position to the South, it will be unfair to the North and it will negate the motto of our great party which is justice, peace, and unity.
“There are also concerns in some quarters that since its formation in 2013, no national chairman of APC. Northerner has produced the
“At formation, it was (Bisi) Akande, then Odigie-Oyegun, and Oshiomhole. These are some factors we are considering in deciding to zone it to the North,” he said.
“There are two ways to it. If the South-South are unanimous, vociferous and are adamant that someone from the zone should replace Oshiomhole, they may have their way. The person may complete Oshiomhole’s tenure and even do beyond that.
“When we calculate the years, after completing Oshiomhole’s tenure which is two years from now, the party would not have held the presidential primary because Oshiomhole’s tenure is meant to end in 2022.
“The way I see it now, the convention will hold by January or February 2021.
“I believe the party leaders need to talk and agree. The fact that they are zoning the presidency to the South doesn’t mean the national chairman can’t still come from the South.
“It has happened before where the national chairman and president are from the same zone.
“However, I believe that if they shift the national chairman position to the North, the clamour for the presidency to move to the South will gather more momentum,” he said.
When contacted, Yekini Nabena, deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, said the party had not discussed zoning of offices ahead of the convention.
He said, for now, the priority of the party was how to ensure unity in its fold and win the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
“For now, we are more concerned about our election in Edo and Ondo states and the unity of the party.
“We have not discussed zoning. When we get to that bridge, we will cross it and Nigerians will know our position on it,” he said.