By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor, Henry Umoru, Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu, ABUJA
After the much-postponed national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, the focus has shifted to who will pick the party’s presidential ticket at the primaries to be held in May.
Currently, the party has no fewer than nine presidential hopefuls and some of them played crucial roles in the emergence of the new National Working Committee, NWC, led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, which was sworn-in at Eagle Square, Abuja, yesterday.
All Times Global Magazine gathered yesterday that the emergence of Adamu may swing the pendulum in favour of either governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, or Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
The president had said he would shock Nigerians with his choice of successor. Observers believe the shock the President spoke about could be a dark horse.
The presidential aspirants and those considered to be eyeing the Aso Villa seat on the platform of the APC, aside from these two, include National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Transportation Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and Rev Moses Ayom.
Some aspirants like Tinubu, Emefiele, Umahi, Yahaya Bello, and Okorocha made their presence felt at the Saturday national convention. Some of them had their loyalists in the new NWC.
While Tinubu (Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN), Rochas Okorocha (All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA) are among the founding fathers and legacy parties that formed the APC in 2013, Mr Amaechi was part of the n-PDP that merged with APC in 2014
Now, the new national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, came from the n-PDP, although he emerged as consensus chairman with the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari, some APC governors and other stakeholders
Senator Adamu is a strong loyalist of the President and has said he would not do anything to undermine the President.
Put in other words, he is expected to back the President’s anointed successor.
Who will the anointed successor be? Is he among the nine or will a dark horse emerge?
They are Abdullahi Adamu, National Chairman; Iyiola Omisore, National Secretary; Festus Fuanter, Deputy National Secretary; F.N. Nwosu, National Welfare Secretary; Mustapha Salihu, National Vice-Chairman (North-West); Muazu Bawa Rjau, National Vice-Chairman (North-Central); Nze Chidi Duru, Deputy National Organizing Secretary; Ahmed El-Marzuk, National Legal Adviser; Uguru Matthew Ofoka, National Treasurer; Betta Edu, National Women Leader; and Abubakar Maikafi, National Auditor
With the outcome of the national convention, all the APC governors had their candidates returned as consensus officials.
Among the presidential aspirants, Tinubu had a hand in the emergence of the National Secretary, National Youth Leader and National Vice Chairman. Fayemi’s effort was gathered produced National Ex-Officio and Zonal Ex-Officio.
Apart from the 22 states where APC have governors, there are 14 other states and Abuja, that will also produce delegates for the presidential primaries. One of the leading aspirants from the South-West is said to have made in-roads in these states and is expected to reap benefits if elective primaries are held.
However, there are fears that the party may use consensus once more to choose its presidential candidate, which may lead to crisis. APC dodged answers to this question, weekend, saying “when we get to the bridge we shall cross it.”
With the emergence of Adamu, the President’s favourite as chairman, indications are rife that the development could provide a smooth sail for Osinbajo in the lead up to next year’s general election.
Some party chieftains, who circulated pictures of Osinbajo with Adamu and others at the convention, said there was a subtle endorsement of the vice president by the powers that be.
Asked if Osinbajo might have been subtly anointed for the plum job in 2023, one of the chieftains, who is close to the vice president said: “Just watch and see how things unfold. Adamu was brought in to give Osinbajo a smooth sail.”
However, Buhari’s body language on his anointed successor has not indicated any direction. Nevertheless, party sources said he would show direction before the presidential primaries in May.
In response to reports of party founders’ unwritten agreement at the formation of the APC in 2013 to cede power to the South-West in 2023, a minister said: “That is the feeling in some quarters. It is not true but even if it is true it is difficult to tell if Baba would support a South-West candidate to succeed him.
“President Buhari is very taciturn. No human being can tell where Baba’s thought is. I don’t know who will succeed him but I know those who will not succeed him.
“The question of President Buhari’s likely successor is a major issue. It is germane. That is why the next national chairman has to be 100 per cent loyal to the President for the President to have his preferred choice as the presidential candidate of the APC. If the chairman is not loyal, before you know it, another candidate will emerge.”
Indeed, Senator Adamu has promised to be loyal to President Buhari and operate a transparent and open-door policy to ensure the APC approaches the 2023 polls with a united front.
Meanwhile, the new National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has mocked the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for allegedly trying to destabilize weekend’s national convention of his party.
Adamu in his acceptance speech at the Eagle Square, venue of the convention, yesterday, said the PDP mismanaged the country for 16 years.
Vanguard recalls that Adamu was a founding member of the PDP as far back as 1998 and served as governor of Nasarawa State on the platform of the opposition party and also clinched his senatorial position as a member of the PDP in 2011.
At the end of his two-term governorship, Adamu became the secretary, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the PDP and only defected from the PDP in 2013, having joined the then “New PDP” which left with some chieftains of the then ruling party to join APC.
At the event yesterday, Adamu also congratulated party men and women who also aspired to occupy the national offices of the party.
“They did not succeed this time but in God’s time, many of them will yet realize their ambitions to serve our party and country in many other positions of responsibility.
“As politicians, we are not strangers to gains, losses and disappointments with the outcome of every political contest.
“Let us show maturity and good sportsmanship and accept the outcome of this convention with grace. Our party needs all hands on the steering wheel so that together we can steer the ship of state through the inclement weather of our divisive national politics to the promised land.
“I thank all of them very much for their spirit of sportsmanship and we will continue to count on their cooperation as loyal party members and patriots.
As we conclude this very successful convention of our great party, I know that our opponents in PDP and other opposition parties are now sulking, wearing long faces of sadness, bewilderment and dismay.
“They had been hoping and praying to make a fortune out of our misfortunes. They were also hoping and praying to capitalize on assumed failures of our party to reap political benefits,” Adamu said.
He noted that for almost seven years now, APC administrations at the federal, state and local levels had been battling night and day to enhance the livelihood of Nigerians through policies, programmes and projects.
“We need to renew our faith in our party and its leadership at all levels in order to herald a new dawn. We need to commit to the resolution of our crisis within the confines of our party’s constitution.
“We must resist the temptation to blow every minor personal disagreement into a major party crisis. It is time for us to do things differently. When we quarrel, we open our flanks to our rival political parties that are only too eager to exploit them for their own benefit,” he stated.
However, the PDP in a swift reaction, asked Adamu to spare a moment to reflect on his corruption charges before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for which he was yet to clear his name.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, said: “A bad workman complains of his tools and an irredeemably bad workman complains of others. “Adamu does not deserve a response from the PDP. He has a lot of baggage bordering on corruption allegations. He should first and foremost tell Nigerians, particularly the people of Nasarawa State, the whereabouts of the huge sums of money he is accused of diverting.”
On claims by Adamu that PDP destroyed Nigeria in 16 years, Ologunagba said: “A party that promised Nigerians change but brought them sorrow, pain and death should keep quiet at a time well-meaning Nigerians are exploring ways to get the country back on track.
“Instead of change, APC brought us chaos, chaos in national security, chaos in economy, chaos in education and chaos across all sectors.
“There is no basis to compare the 16 glorious years of the PDP with the seven sorrowful years of the APC. Take to the streets and ask ordinary Nigerians to tell you the condition of their lives under APC and the PDP.”
Ologunagba urged Adamu and all newly-elected officials of the APC to celebrate their emergence with caution, stressing that “the Mala Buni caretaker committee that presided over the convention was illegal and something cannot stand on nothing. At the appropriate time, Adamu and co-travellers will have themselves to blame.
“At a time they were doing what they called a convention, terrorists wreaked havoc, seized the Kaduna airport and prevented innocent Nigerians from flying. Adamu should brace up for what awaits him and his party. Nigerians have moved on,” he added.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has said the emergence of Senator Adamu Abdullahi as the new national chairman of ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and other members of the National Working Committee, NWC, has drawn the envy of the opposition and rivals as well as sent jitters down their spines.
Lawan who congratulated Senator Abdullahi Adamu on his emergence as the new national chairman of the APC said his victory at Saturday’s national convention of the party was a testimony to the tremendous respect he enjoyed across the polity for his integrity, experience and leadership capacity.
In a statement issued yesterday by his Media Adviser, Ola Awoniyi, Lawan said: “I heartily congratulate Senator Abdullahi Adamu, on his emergence as the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the just concluded national convention of our great party.
“The unanimous affirmation of Senator Adamu’s candidature at the convention is a testimony to the tremendous respect that he enjoys across the polity for his integrity, experience and leadership capacity.
“I share this common belief in his suitability for piloting the affairs of our great party from this very important juncture. Senator Adamu’s antecedents as a political leader and astute administrator show that our party has made a great choice in his election as our national chairman.”
Lawan, who also congratulated other members of the National Working Committee, NWC, and other zonal officers of the party, urged them to do their best to deliver their mandates and live up to the great expectations of the teeming members of APC across and outside of Nigeria.
He said: “The emergence of Senator Adamu and his great team from a rancour-free convention has drawn the envy of our rivals and sent jitters down their spines. “That is unavoidable, given the status of the APC in the Nigerian polity and the warm place it has occupied in the hearts of Nigerians since its formation and assumption of national governance.
“I commend all the aspirants whose sacrifices, cooperation and abiding love for the party provided the environment and impetus for the attainment of consensus in the leadership selection process at the convention. Posterity will recognise their great sacrifices.
“I also thank President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of our great party whose exemplary leadership and wise counsels led to the success of the convention.
“With the successful conclusion of the National Convention, our great party is good to go for our primaries within the time frame prescribed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“I am confident that we will also have peaceful primaries that will propel us to another resounding success at the general elections in 2023.”
Meanwhile, a former Governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and chieftain of the APC in Rivers State, Prince Tonye Princewill, yesterday, queried the purported unity of the party in the state, recalling how Worgu Boms, the candidate of Senator Magnus Abe refused to step down for Victor Giadom, an ally of Transportation Minister, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
Explaining how Giadom had earlier been adopted as the candidate of the South-South, Princewill wondered why it was difficult for Senator Abe to have accepted the position of other stakeholders, saying the action was responsible for the disgraceful outing of his candidate who managed to poll three votes for the position of National Vice Chairman, South-South.
Speaking to Vanguard on the outcome of the convention, Princewill said the conduct of the exercise is a lesson for Nigerians about political party leadership.
He said: “First I just want to say a big thank you to the party for putting together a solid performance and showing Nigeria what party political leadership is about. Politics is not easy, but agreeing to disagree to then come to an agreement, is hard work. It requires maturity, it requires patience and it requires mutual respect. I witness this in abundance, I could not have been more proud.
“Bad news travels fast, so it was no surprise to me that leading up to it, all the news was about if the convention would hold, whether it would be free of rancour and how it would lead to the break-up of the party. Now you have your answer.
The ultimate test of the new Electoral Act, a balancing of all interests and an outcome that could not have been better.”
See Full list of 77 newly elected APC national officials:
1:National Chairman – Senator Abdullahi Adamu: (Nasarawa State)
2:Deputy National Chairman (North): Sen. Abubakar Kyari (Borno State)
3:Deputy National Chairman (South): Chief Emma Eneukwu (Enugu State)
4:National Secretary: Otunba lyiola Omisore (Osun State)
5:Deputy National Secretary: Fetus Fuanter (Plateau State)
6:National Vice Chairman: (North-Central): Muhazu Bawa Rijau (Niger State)
7:National Vice Chairman (North-East): Mustapha Salihu (Adamawa State)
8:National Vice Chairman (North-West): Salihu Lukman (Kaduna State)
9:National Vice Chairman (South-East): Dr. Ijeomah Arodiogbu (Imo State)
10:National Vice Chairman (South-South): Chief Hon. Victor Ton Giadom (Rivers State)
11:National Vice Chairman (South-West): Dr Isaac Kekemeke (Ondo state)
12:National Legal Adviser: Ahmed El-Marzuk (Katsina State)
13:National Treasurer: Uguru Mathew Ofoke (Ebonyi State)
14:National Financial Secretary: Bashir Usman Gumel (Jigawa State)
15:National Organizing Secretary: Suleiman M Argungu (Kebbi State)
16:National Youth Leader: Dayo Abdullah Israel (Lagos State)
17:National Welfare Secretary: F.N. Nwosu (Abia)
18: National Publicity Secretary: Felix Morka (Delta)
19:National Auditor: Senator Abubakar Makarfi (Bauchi)
20:National Women’s leader: Dr. Betta Edu (Cross River)
21: Special Persons With Disability(PWD) Leader: Tolu Bankole (Ogun)
22.Deputy National Legal Adviser: Ibrahim Salawu (Kwara)
23: Deputy National Treasurer: Omorede Osifo (Edo)
24: Deputy Financial Secretary : Hamma-Adama Ali Kumo (Gombe)
25:Deputy National Organising Secretary: Nze Chidi Duru (Anambra)
26: Deputy National Publicity Secretary: Yakubu Murtala Ajaka (Kogi)
27:Deputy National Welfare Secretary: Dr Christopher Akpan( Akwa Ibom)
28: Deputy National Auditor: Olufemi Egbedeyi (Oyo)
29: Deputy National Women’s Leader: Zainab Abubakar Ibrahim (Taraba)
30:Deputy National Youth leader: Jamaludden Kabir (Zamfara)
31:National Ex-officio (North-Central): Oluwatoyin Opawuye (Kwara)
32:National Ex-officio (North-East): Sirajo Dabuwa (Bauchi)
33: National Ex-officio (North-West): Aliyu Ahmed Yako (Kano)
34: National Ex-officio (South-East): Agunwa Anekwe (Anambra)
35:National Ex-officio (South-South): Diriwari Akedewei (Bayelsa)
36:National Ex-officio ( South-West): Mrs Bunmi Oriniowo (Ekiti)
37:Zonal Secretary (North-Central): Yakubu Mohammed Adamu (FCT)
38:Zonal Secretary (North-East): Mohammed Wali Shettima (Yobe)
39:Zonal Secretary (North-West): Barr. Bello Goronyo (Sokoto)
40:Zonal Secretary (South-West): Vincent Bewaji (Ekiti)
41:Zonal Secretary (South-East): Azobi Innocent Itapi (Ebonyi)
42:Zonal Secretary (South-South): Dr Ita Udosen (Akwa Ibom)
43:Zonal Legal Adviser (North-East): Dauda Chapo (Taraba)
44:Zonal Legal Adviser (North-Central): Hadiza Aliyu (Kogi)
45:Zonal Legal Adviser (North-West):Barr.Dauda Usaini Dutse ( Jigawa)
46:Zonal Legal Adviser (South-West): Ismail Kolawole Majoro (Oyo)
47:Zonal Legal Adviser (South-East): Mayor Ogbona Ernest (Ebonyi)
48:Zonal Legal Adviser (South South): Nil
49:Zonal Organising Secretary(North-East): Abubakar Adamu Musa (Taraba)
50:Zonal Organising Secretary (North-West): Salisu Uba (Zamfara)
51:Zonal Organising Secretary (North-Central): Ahmed Attah (Kogi)
52:Zonal Organising Secretary (South-West): Lateef Ibirogba
53: Zonal Organising Secretary (South-East): Dozie Ikadite (Anambra)
54:Zonal Organising Secretary (South-South): Blessing Agboma (Edo)
55:Zonal Publicity Secretary (North-East): Lamido Mohammed (Gombe)
56:Zonal Publicity Secretary (North-Central): John Okobo (Benue)
57:Zonal Publicity Secretary (North -West): Musa Makatiya (Zamfara)
58:Zonal Publicity Secretary (South-East): Augustine Onyedebehi (Imo)
59:Zonal Publicity Secretary (South-South)
60:Zonal Publicity Secretary (south-West): Ayo Afolabi
61:Zonal Women’s leader (North-Central): Oluwatoyin Opawuye (Kwara)
62:Zonal Women’s leader (North-East): Zainab Abubakar Alman (Gombe)
63:Zonal Women’s leader (North-West): Hajiya Hadiza Shagari (Sokoto)
64:Zonal Women’s leader (South-West): Mrs Yetunde Adesanya (Ogun)
65:Zonal Women’s leader (South-South): Caroline Owugha (Bayelsa)
Zonal Women’s leader (South-East): Mimi Uchenna Diyokeh (Enugu)
Zonal Youth leader (North-Central): Zubairu Aliyu (Kwara)
68: Zonal Youth leader (North-West): Abdulhamid Umar Mohammed (Kano)
69:Zonal Youth leader (North-East): Jason Baba Kkwaghe (Adamawa)
70:Zonal Youth leader (South-East): Nkenna Anyalewechi (Abia)
71:Zonal Youth leader (South-West): Kolade Lawal (Ondo)
72:Zonal Youth Leader (South-South): Comrade Ebimobowe (Delta)
73: Zonal leader of Person with Disability (North-Central): Laho Lazarus Audu (Benue)
74:Zonal leader of Person with Disability(North-East): Mohammed Baba Isa (Yobe)
75:Zonal leader of Person with Disability (North-West): Lawal Na Rago (Kano)
76:Zonal leader of Person with Disability (South-South): Chief Edet Aziz (Cross River)
77:Zonal leader of Person with Disability (South-East): Dr Nwachukwu Stanley Chinedu (Imo)
78:Zonal Leader of Persons With Disability (South West): Mashood Erubami (Oyo State).