Convention: APC notifies INEC, to release time-table

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has submitted a 21-Day notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a requirement for the conduct of congresses and national convention.

Party sources that confirmed this yesterday also said the time table for ward, local government and states congresses as well as the national convention might be rolled out before the end of the week.

Our sources said it might likely be released on Thursday, but this could not be confirmed by party officials.

The list of the convention committee would also be announced soon, sources said with one even hinting that Governor Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State would serve as chairman.

It was also gathered that based on the documents being worked on at the moment, ward congresses would be held in the first week of May, while local government, state and finally the national convention would follow, including opportunities for objections and petitions as the elections progresses.

Credible sources at the APC secretariat said last night that the NWC was asked in February to prepare time-table for the congresses but its tenure was controversially extended by a year.

A party source said: “A motion was moved at NEC (on Monday) that NWC be given the power to tinker with the previously submitted timetable for the schedule of activities that will lead to congresses and convention. It was voted and approved. You know that they have to give notice to INEC. So, few changes need to be effected.”

“It was actually the convention committee that will fine-tune all of these things; but what I can assure is that all shall be well,” one of the sources said.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, did not respond to a call last night to confirm the exact day the election time table would be released.

But the National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Maimala Buni, said the party had executed the first most important step towards conducting the elections, which is giving INEC 21 day ultimatum.

“Yes, we have issued the ultimatum which is a great success and so many things are being perfected,” he said.

On the exact day the time table would be released, Maimala said, “I can’t talk on that now but we are definitely working on it. It would be released soon.”

A 10-man NEC Technical Committee headed by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State had recommended that as a roadmap to the congress and the convention, 21 days statutory notice for the holding of elective congresses and convention be given to INEC.

The committee’s report, which also recommended that all pending suits in respect of the tenure extension matter be withdrawn, had been endorsed by the NEC on Monday.

NWC members reach out to govs for support gathered that many of the outgoing national leaders of the APC who want to stage a comeback have begun reaching out to governors in their states as well as those in their zones to seek for support.

It was gathered that most of them had cashed on the call President Buhari made at the NEC meeting that they should be granted waivers to enable those interested in vying for a second term to do so.

“Considering the provision of Article 30 Section 1 and Subsection 3 of our party constitution which requires any serving officer desirous of seeking re-election to resign from office 30 days before the election, I’m not sure of the practicality of the present serings officers ability to meet this condition,” Buhari said at the meeting.

“Accordingly, the party may consider granting waivers to party executives at all levels so that they are not disenfranchised in participating in the elections provided this does not violate our rights or our rules.

“Necessary waivers should also be extended to executives at the ward level whose tenures May have elapsed and indeed to anyone knocking on our doors from other parties,” he said.

Many of the national officers from the six geo-political zones would rely on the endorsement of their governors, who in turn would seek the support of other governors in the zone.

It was learnt that other members of the APC who want to challenge them are also making moves to get the endorsement of their governors and other party leaders.

The Lalong committee had proposed that the current zoning formula for party offices be retained.

In 2014, all the national offices of the party were shared according to zones and states ahead of the national convention of the party.

Attempts to hear the opinion of some of the outgoing officers on their second term ambition were not successful with some  saying they were still consulting.

But names of some aspirants have emerged. For instance, there are insinuations that Chief Oyegun might likely contest. However, ex- Governor Adams Oshiomhole and ex- Cross River governor, Clement Ebri, who are all from the South South, have indicated interest in the post.

It was gathered that Oyegun had during the NEC meeting “subtly” indicated interest. “But the fact is that he needs ample support from his state and the South South; and as you know, Oshiomhole is well grounded there, so only time can tell,” a source said.

There are over 40 vacancies, including ex-officio members  to be filled during the convention. This is besides hundreds of offices at ward, local and state levels.