**Blocs refuse to shift ground
By Nkem Okereh
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is enmeshed in a serious political battle as it inches closer to a convention that must hold someday. The battle of who controls the levers of power during the presidential primaries has put the party in a dilemma as it is currently at a crossroad and could be heading into bigger crisis following the 2023 presidential and vice presidential position ambition of almost all the party’s governors major stakeholders.
The ambitions of the governors and major stakeholders may have stalled further preparations to the party’s proposed February 26 national convention, as no governor has agreed to shift ground in their quest for 2023 political relevance, hence convention date has been trailed with uncertainty.
With barely five days to the February 26 convention date, the APC caretaker and Extra Ordinary Convention Committee (CECPV) has kept aspirants and stakeholders guessing as what would be the fate of the party, following sharp disagreement between the presidency and a section of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) on one side and among the Governors of the PGF on the other side over the choice of consensus candidates and zoning of party offices.
It was gathered that while the zoning of national Working Committee (NWC) offices would also determine the zoning of 2023 political offices, the sharp disagreement has ensued as most of the North Wes, North east and North Central governors are said to be eyeing either the presidential or vice presidential ticket of he party, have rejected he zoning of two leading NWC positions, National chairman and National Secretary o their zones.
It was gathered further that all the zones or states interested on the Presidential or Vice Presidential tickets of the party have also refused to accept the two positions (National Chairman and National Secretary) in their zones or states.
Following rejections, especially from the North central governors, whose eyes are all on the vice presidential ticket, a close party revealed a the weekend that the National chairmanship position could be zone o the North West.
While five aspirants from North Central are vying for the APC national chairmanship position, , North East has three, while North West has two.
According to the source, the South West does not want the position of the National Secretary because of the Presidential ambition of the zone. They would rather prefer any of the lesser positions in the NWC.
It was widely rumoured that the North Central zone would produce the party’s national chairman, but governors from the zone had clashed with the PGF chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi sae and his Jigawa State counterpart, Abubakar Badaru, who were accused of pushing the Norh cenral agenda because of their vice presidential ambitions.
The governors of Kogi and Niger States, Yahaya Bello and Sani Bello respectively are affecting the situation in the zone.
Also in the North East, where candidates like the former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sherriff, former governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda and others for the National Chairmanship are, the ambitions of the Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, and his counterpart in Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum have also affected the zoning of the position to the zone.
“The options open to the party might be to zone the National Chairmanship to the North West, where the former Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Abdullaziz Yari and former National Secretary of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Alhaji Abdullahi Sani Shinkafi are candidates or the position would be thrown open,” a pary source stated.
A former Senator and governorship hopeful from the South South described the situation in the party as a shame, adding that the situation in the party shows lack of leadership.
He said, “It is a shame, a big shame. These are people that got into offices by accident. If you have the privilege which is an advantage of being a governor and you do well and you worth your onions why should anything scare you. Why should anything scare you, a governor in office for 8 years and he wants the party to bend rules for him to cheat and get his chosen successor to win primaries. You have been in office for 8 years and you have the structure under you, yet you still want to compromise the primaries to get your candidate elected. It is a shame. Is it how we are going to retain power or do they think Nigerians are not watching us. It is a shame and this because of lack of leadership.”
Another party chieftain alleged that the former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, who is representing the South East zone in the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee has rejected the position of the National Secretary of the party for the South East. According to the Chieftain, Senator Nnamani prefers APC Deputy National Chairman (South), a position he wants to occupy.
Also the governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade is said to have rejected the National Secretary of the party for the state on the ground that he would not want to have any trouble from any national officer ahead of the 2023 elections in the state.
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