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APC NATIONAL CONVENTION: We’ve invested over N.5bn on project –Aspirants

…say spending money without knowing party’s zoning formula

Nineteen months after the Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was constituted with a six month mandate, some of the aspirants to the National Chairmanship position on Thursday, decried the delay in the conduct of the National Convention of the party.

The Caretaker Committee was put in place on June 26, 2019 to organise the convention that would usher in another National Working Committee (NWC) members after the sack of the former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC. Unfortunately, the Caretaker Committee is yet to come up with a definite date for the Convention, as they have extended their tenure three times.

The tenure was billed to expire on December 9, 2020, but was later shifted to June 2021 and then December 2021. At the moment, the fate of the National Chairman and other members of the NWC of the party remain hanging indefinitely in the balance as the Caretaker Committee is yet to fix a date for the National Convention. However, some of the aspirants seeking to lead the party told New Telegraph in confidence that they have spent over N500 million on campaigns and logistics. Although the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Atiku Bagudu, had announced February 2022 for the Convention, there are uncertainties as the Caretaker Committee is yet to fix a definite date.

There have been insinuations in many quarters that the Caretaker Committee was considering shifting the APC Convention to June 2022, an allegation the Committee had come out to refute. Secretary to the Caretaker Committee, Senator John AkpanUdoedehe, who debunked the insinuation on Wednesday, advised the public to regard such information as fake news.

“The general public is advisedtocompletelydisregard fake news on the reported suspension of the planned National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) till June, as reported by some media outlets. “Dates for party activities such as meetings, primaries, congresses, and national conventions are communicated through well-known official channels and not through ‘sources.” Expressing his concerns on the delay, one of the National Chairmanship aspirants, who preferred to remain anonymous, said it had created a lot of anxiety in the party.

“Well, basically l will say it has created anxiety in the sense that for those of us who have invested so much in this project. We are not new in it and it is something that as much l am prepared, at the same time because you are dealing with different spheres of opinions, it has created a lot of anxiety in the sense that we are now looking at the workload that would be there for us to surmount if we get into office, God willing. “In terms of cost, for me I wouldn’t say l have suffered so much injury because l am enjoying some kind of goodwill that this project has taken on a life of its own.

People are investing in it. People are the ones who have taken much of the bills off me but at the same time, I feel for them and I am also concerned for putting some of them through the stress and the expenses they are incurring. “I wish we had finished this and put it to the past so that the party can have enough time to reconcile and plan properly for the general elections of 2023.

“I am sure that those who are at the helm of affairs and, in my opinion, know what is at stake, so they will also know that they don’t need to jeopardize their own chances too. I want to give them the benefit of doubt that whatever they are doing is in the best interest of the larger house since they are the ones piloting the affairs of the party for now. There are certain decisions or things they know better than some of us who are vying or who are outside. I wish we had done with all these so we can have enough time to settle down and concentrate better.”

Another aspirant said the delay has taken a huge financial toll on him. According to him, he has visited all the states with the hope that the Convention would have been held now. “The states would also expect that l visit back once the date is announced. “Also you should know what it takes to erect a political billboard.

If you have 10 of such billboards you should know the cost for a month. “For me without sounding immodest, I have spent close to N100 million on campaigning yet the Convention has not been held. You should not also forget that these monies are being spent without us knowing the zoning formula of the party. “Beyond the date of the Convention, the Caretaker Committee has not been able to bring out the zoning of the offices,” he said. Meanwhile, the Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman has warned the Caretaker Committee that delaying the National Convention beyond February would reduce the electoral fortunes of the ruling party. Lukman, who stated this in a statement he issued on Thursday in Abuja, also appealed to all APC leaders to take the issue of leadership recruitment beyond the question of loyalty.

 

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