The brewing crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) took a new twist Monday afternoon as Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni and National Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe notified the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of March 26, 2022 as new date for its Zonal Congresses.
The new date runs contrary to the generally agreed date of February 26, believed to have received the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the majority of APC governors.
Although the letter to INEC talked about zonal congresses to be held on March 26, some members of the party believe that it gives an impression that the National convention has been postponed, at least moved from its original February 26 schedule.
A schedule sighted by Prime Business Africa, showed that, according to the new plan, national convention would, indeed, hold on a new date of March 26.
”It is at the national convention that the officers at the zones are elected. The party had not been holding separate zonal congresses before now. This is especially as zonal congresses are usually held simultaneously with the national convention at the same venue,” said one of the leading figures in the party.
”It is a decoy to force a shift in date for the National Convention,” the source said.
Another high-profile APC leader, who would not want to be named, said ”holding zonal congresses differently from the National Convention goes against the tradition of the party.”
Various sources within the party say big trouble is brewing as the action is believed to be an affront on President Muhammadu Buhari and the the Progressives Governors’ Forum.
At least, three governors are suspected to have mounted pressure on Buni to move the date, contrary to the expectation of the Presidency and their colleagues. The governors were alleged to have first moved for perpetuation of the caretaker committee chairman in office.
It is believed that the decision on zoning arrangement and who eventually becomes National Chairman of the party as well as who emerges the Presidential candidate of the APC in the 2023 general elections is at the heart of the crisis trailing plans for the Congresses.
”This goes contrary to the expectations of the Presidency,” a leading member of the party told Prime Business Africa on Monday.
Buni’s memo to INEC, tagged ”Notice for the Conduct of Zonal Congresses,” said the announcement ”supersedes our earlier notice for the National Convention referenced APC/NHDQ/INEC/09/22/14. ”This, the memo said, ”is predicated on the evaluation of our Party Constitution.”
”In furtherance to Article 85 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and compliance with Section 12.6 of our Party Constitution, we hereby write to notify the Commission that our great Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has scheduled to hold its Zonal Congress on Saturday 26th March, 2022.
”Kindly arrange for your officials to monitor the exercise accordingly. While hoping to receive your cooperation, please accept the assurances of our highest esteem,” the Party’s letter to INEC concluded.
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