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National Convention: APC Elects Chairman, Others



APC delegates arriving Eagles Square, Abuja for the party’s National Convention

Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory is agog as Nigeria’s main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, holds its maiden National Convention.
National Executive Committee, NEC, members that will lead the party in the 2015 general elections already scheduled for early next year by the Independent National Electoral Commission will be elected at the Convention which will kick off later in the day.
We observed that party members were busy with accreditation that will allow them access to the Eagle Square venue of the event at the various designated points this morning.However, security has been tightened at Eagle Square with detachments of police men conducting thorough checks on those who want to access the venue.
Also, the flags of the party have been hoisted at different parts of the venue while aspirants for the governorship and other elected positions in the impending 2015 elections are using the opportunity of the convention to sell their candidature by pasting their posters in various places at the Square.

Supporters of some of the aspirants who arrived Abuja from various parts of the country have also been busy dancing round the square with posters of the aspirants they are supporting.
Also, voting materials, especially ballot boxes have already been arranged at the main bowl of Eagle Square waiting for delegates as at the time of filing in this story.
Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State who is the Chairman of the Convention Committee told reporters Thursday that at least 6,855 delegates across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were expected to participate at the event.

It was gathered that the party chieftain had worked out a zoning formular that will ensure fairness to all parts of the country at an all night meeting which began on Tuesday.
It was gathered that party leaders at the meeting agreed to zone the position of the National chairman, Deputy National Secretary and the Deputy National Legal Adviser to the South-south zone while Southwest will produce APC’s Deputy National Chairman, National Legal Adviser and the National Financial Secretary.

Also, the Southeast will produce occupants for the position of the National Organising Secretary, the National Auditor, Deputy Finance Secretary and Deputy Women Leader.
The North Central zone will produce the National Publicity Secretary, the National Women Leader, the Deputy Treasurer and the Deputy Welfare Secretary while the position of the National Secretary, the National Youth Leader and the Deputy National Auditor has been zoned to the North East zone.
The North West zone will produce the Welfare Secretary, Deputy National Chairman, National Treasurer and Deputy National Organising secretary.

Also, each of the six geopolitical zones will produce one zonal national vice chairman, one zonal women leader, one zonal youth leader and one ex-officio.
Alhaji Kawu Baraje, the Chairman of the Convention Sub-committee on the Election, told reporters yesterday that 47 positions would be contested for at the Convention.
He added that 58 aspirants had indicated interest in vying for the various posts.
According to him, four aspirants have indicated their interest in becoming the first substantive chairman of the mega opposition party.

We gathered that party chieftains are trying to reach consensus and have been engaged in horse trading for this purpose since the beginning of the week.
Baraje said even if there is a consensus, there will still be voting. “Even if they reach a consensus, there will still be voting. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like unopposed. What we are going to adopt for the election is a simple majority,” said Baraje, a former Acting Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
Obviously, the most contentious of the positions being contested for is the chairmanship of the party.
The four aspirants for the position are Chiefs John Odigie-Oyegun, Tom Ikimi, Sam Jaja and Timipre Sylva, a former Governor of Bayelsa State.

It was gathered that Sylva and Chief Oyegun remain the leading two candidates for the position as at this morning. Odigie Oyegun, a former chieftain of NADECO, who has the support of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State is the choice of heavyweights of the party to emerge the Chairman of the party.
However, it was learnt this morning that some key leaders of the party, including APC governors from the Northern part of the country are insisting on Slyva, who it was learnt may have also secured the support of former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (retired) and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

We learnt that the support for Slyva is hinged on the belief that the former governor is capable of helping to split the solid support President Jonathan currently enjoys in Bayelsa State in particular and the South-South region of the country in general.
Those against him however argued that the former governor who succeeded Jonathan as chief executive of Bayelsa State did not have the clout to divide the President’s solid support in their home base.
This is apart from the fact that Sylvia is also being prosecuted for corruption cases by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Sources close to the party said that with the EFCC case, there is already a solid ground for harassment of the former Bayelsa State Governor by the Jonathan-led Federal Government if he emerges the APC Chairman.
We gathered that Chief Ikimi’s ambition is not receiving enough support as only Ali Modu Sheriff, the former Governor of Borno State seem to be backing the former late General Sani Abacha minister.
But it was gathered that Ikimi is still going ahead and preparing to participate in the APC Chairmanship race as at the time of filing in this story.

But there are also indications that Chief Jaja may have been convinced to drop his ambition.
However learnt that except they are able to reach a consensus, the aspirants will have to go for election, though leaders of the party are still working on reaching a consensus.
In the same vein, Alhaji Kashim Imam is the leading candidate for the position of the national secretary of the party as at the time of filing in this story.
But it was also learnt that members of the party from all the geopolitical zones are meeting to select a consensus candidate for the various positions allocated to them.

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