From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) governors, under the umbrella of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) have revealed that they would secure a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve sundry issues of zoning arrangements for both the national leadership of the party, the presidential ticket and ultimately the date for the party’s National Convention.
This is as President Buhari has endorsed February 2022 as new date for the national convention.
Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu, who was not specific on the exact date for the convention in February, said the convention was shifted because Anambra, Zamfara and two other states, were yet to complete their congresses. The governors reached the agreement at the end of their meeting on Sunday night in Abuja. Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi and Chairman of the PGF, who briefed newsmen, said he did not know when the party’s national convention would hold.
“We agreed as a forum to seek an appointment to meet with President Buhari and discuss the on-coming national convention of the party.
“Mind you, we are just one organ of the party, and since we are making suggestions to both the party and our leaders, I think it is not fair to preempt or disclose it before the meeting holds.
“We hope to secure that appointment as quickly as possible. We are seeking the appointment as soon as possible, maybe in the next few days.
The PGF chairman said the forum would keep the public informed on its decision on zoning of elective offices after its meeting with President Buhari.
He, however, said that insinuations in some quarters that the governors’ planned meeting with Buhari was to discourage him from assenting to the amended electoral bill should be disregarded.
“That is not correct. I just told you what we are meeting the president for, it is to discuss the on-coming national convention of the party.’’
Bagudu said that the forum also discussed issues of good governance, development in the polity and other issues that were pertinent to the progress of the party and the country.
He said the forum passed a vote of confidence on the party’s Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee.
“We passed a vote of confidence on the caretaker committee that has done a wonderful job, chaired by Gov. Buni of Yobe and two other governors who are members of the committee.’’
Bagudu lauded the committee for successfully organising congresses for the party at the ward, local and state levels.
He noted that the committee had been making efforts to carry every party member along, including those that were aggrieved or felt dissatisfied by the outcome of the congresses.
The governor said such individuals were invited and persuaded to support the party in the interest of all.
“Sometimes, electoral processes are not without annoyance, but we are happy with the conduct of the caretaker committee,’’ he said.
The PGF chairman assured that the APC would not implode anytime soon as was being speculated in some quarters, adding that those expressing such fears were not representing reality.
Bagudu said the APC had brought into its fold three outstanding governors, the deputy governor of Anambra, members of the National Assembly and distinguished Nigerians from all walks of life.
“We are seeking for Nigerians to join us so that we can unify and serve Nigerians. While other parties are sending people away, we are, in spite of our strength, inviting them to join us so that together we can reposition and keep the progressive agenda going,’’ he said.
On the outcome of the November 6 Anambra governorship election, Bagudu said Nigeria had won and president Buhari had made a statement about that. Although the forum could not disclose its resolution on the outcome of the Anambra State governorship election, it, however, argued that conducting an election under such tensed security situation, should be enough celebration.
“That an election took place in Anambra. I think Nigeria has won and the President had made a statement about that. We are equally proud of our security agencies.
“The party candidates in all elections have the pride of place to determine their views about the outcome. But we are proud that under the APC, that an election that hitherto people thought will be impossible had taken place,’’ he said.
Governor Buni, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting, said: “The Progressive Governors’ Forum after their meeting, has suggested February to the party and the president has concurred so we are going ahead to plan for the convention in February.Nigerians should expect more unity and progress as a result of the forthcoming convention.”
On insinuations that he might be delaying the convention to extend his tenure as the Caretaker Chairman of the APC, Buni said, “Am I a jobless person who is always trying to extend his tenure; to do what? I have my primary responsibility as a Governor to go back to my state and carry out my primary responsibility.
“What I am here to do is ad-hoc and of course to reposition the party and that is exactly what we have been able to achieve.”
Meanwhie, the APC Rebirth Group/Concerned APC Stakeholders has disassociated itself from calls for the dissolution of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee. The group in a statement described the call as an intemperate action.
“It’s the considered opinion of the APC Rebirth Group that all party members must show respect and regard for offices and those who occupy them. While we believe that all groups and individuals within the party have the absolute right to express their grievances and even push for the needed reforms, just like we have done severally, we nonetheless believe that such actions must be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the party.”
“We would not encourage any group or individuals arrogating to themselves powers they do not have. While we reiterate our position on inclusion and the need to build a party that works for everyone, we call on all who feel strongly about the APC to exercise decorum, respect the rules of the party and not seek to engage in anti-social behaviours that violate the sanctity of the APC.”