According to reports, the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC and the party’s governors, on Wednesday, fixed July 29, 2017, for the party’s ward congresses, marking the beginning of the APC’s national convention.
They also set a committee, headed by Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, to come up with the ruling party’s definition of restructuring.
Others in the 10-member committee include the governors of Osun State, Rauf Arebegsola; Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), and Simon Lalong (Plateau).
Other members are Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; a former governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor; the APC National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso; the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi; and Hajia Fatima Bala.
Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi will serve as the committee’s secretary.
These were part of the decisions reached after a three-hour closed-door meeting between the APC’s NWC and the governors elected on the platform of the party.
The party leadership also agreed that henceforth, principal officers of the National Assembly, who are members of the party, would be part of the NWC/governors’ consultative meeting.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said, “Some of the key issues we discussed include restructuring, the national convention and the processes leading to the national convention of the party.
“We also decided that this regular meeting with the governors be extended to principal officers of the National Assembly.
“I have repeatedly mentioned it that when we mentioned setting up a committee on restructuring, what we are talking about is a committee that will articulate what the APC meant by restructuring.
“We have realised for some time now that when people talk about restructuring, we are no longer sure if they are talking about the same thing.
“People have said that the APC promised restructuring. So, we need to sit down as a party to develop a shared understanding of what we mean by restructuring in our manifesto.
“This committee, that is set up, is mainly to define exactly what the APC means by restructuring so that every member will know what exactly we mean. It is not a committee to set up modalities for restructuring.”
The APC had, in its manifesto, promised to, among other things, “Initiate action to amend our Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to states and local governments in order to entrench true federalism and the federal spirit;
“Restructure government for a leaner, more efficient and adequately compensated public service; require full disclosure in all media outlets of all government contracts of over N100m prior to award and during implementation at regular intervals.”
El-Rufai had, in an interview on Channels Television, said, “As I said, a lot of the talks on restructuring are political opportunism and irresponsibility in my opinion. It is popular and people, who have presidential aspiration, think it is a platform which they can exploit.”
The APC had come under heavy criticisms for abandoning its promise to restructure the country.
Also, the Zamfara State Governor, Abdul-Aziz Yari, who spoke on behalf of the APC governors, explained that the ward congresses of the party would start the process leading up to the national convention.
Yari stated, “We discussed a number of issues ranging from congresses, which will commence on Saturday to elect two delegates for the convention.
“We discussed the issue of the relationship between the governors and the National Assembly and the need to have this meeting between the principal officers of the National Assembly, the governors and the party.”
The governor added that the party leadership reviewed the Osun State senatorial election and came to the conclusion that mistakes were made and strategies should be put in place to avoid such in the future.
Yari dismissed insinuations that the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Osun State election meant that the party had resurrected in the state.
He said, “Let me say it is a wake-up call on how to deal with things like that in future. We are in a democratic setting and (Ademola) Adeleke is from the APC and his late brother was of the APC and we all know what happened.
“We have discussed that extensively and measures have been taken to avoid future occurrence.”
Asked if the recent development in the opposition PDP was responsible for APC’s decision to reactivate its convention mechanism, Yari said, “But you know that the President is the leader of this party and before getting to the convention, there is a process.
“You know the situation of our President today. We have been fixing time, but because of his illness, we have not been able to hold the meeting. But we have to put a process in place so that we can hold the mid -term convention.
“It is not an elective convention and the three delegates to be elected on Saturday, July 29, will be the delegates for the convention, which will fill some of the existing vacancies. This convention has nothing to do with the PDP.”
In his opening remarks, the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said the turnout of the governors at the meeting indicated that it had become an avenue to gauge opinion towards the smooth running of the party.
Those who attended the meeting included Yari, governors Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); el-Rufai (Kaduna); Simon Lalong (Plateau); Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); Yahaya Bello (Kogi); and Abdullahi Ganduje ( Kano).
The deputy governors of Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger and Borno represented their governors.