Why APC national convention is being delayed

Over one year after the All Progressives Congress (APC) set up a Caretaker and Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) with a mandate to reposition the party and conduct a national convention within six months, the party is yet to fix a date for the national convention to produce a new National Working Committee (NWC) to take charge of the day-to-day workings of the party.

The drama began when the Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party was dissolved in June 2020 and the Caretaker and Extra Ordinary Convention Committee led by Yobe State’s Governor Mai Mala Buni was put in place by the National Executive Committee (NEC). It was given the mandate to conduct a national convention within six months and give the party a new NWC. While that six-month winds down, it was obvious that the Buni-led Caretaker Committee was not prepared to leave the stage, as there was no plan to conduct a convention. The excuse then was that the party needed to carry out a new membership registration, which was not initially part of the mandate of the committee. Another justification was that the party must conclude the reconciliation drive that was already ongoing at the time.
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Thus, the mandate of the committee was extended by another six months and it was expected to conduct a national convention by the end of June 2021. With June now in the past, it is not certain when the party will hold the convention, even though it has released a timetable for the conduct of its various congresses from the ward to the state level. Indications from the party’s national secretariat are that it may be waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to approve a date for the convention. But, the president had said in an interview on national television that the party convention will soon hold to elect new leaders for the party. Nevertheless, he failed to give a specific date for the convention.

The CECPC Secretary, Senator John Akpanduoehehe who has practically been saddled with the responsibility of running the party was quoted as saying that President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors and some critical party stakeholders are the ones to determine a date for the convention. Incidentally, since after the December 2020 NEC meeting that extended the tenure of the caretaker committee, neither the NEC nor the national caucus of the party met; this gives credence to arguments in some quarters that all organs of the party are practically dead. At the moment, no elected organ of the party at all levels is functioning; they have all been disbanded and caretaker committees put in place.

Unresolved crisis:

However, indications from some of its state chapters suggest that the party is still neck-deep in the crisis that led to the setting up of the caretaker committee. Many state chapters are currently enjoying the peace of the graveyard. For example, the Ekiti State chapter is enmeshed in a silent war between the governor’s faction and others leading to suspension and counter suspension of members. Also, the Kwara State chapter is also enmeshed in a deep crisis. The statement credited to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that there will no congress until everybody is registered is a clear indication that all is not well with the chapter. With former Senate President, Bukola Saraki restrategizing to stage a comeback, it is clear that the APC must put its house in order in Kwara, if it must retain its seat in the coming elections. The minister was also quoted as describing the state governor as a “one-chance governor”.

One thing that is clear is the fact that only a few members of the party accepted the appeal made by the president during the June 2020 NEC meeting that all aggrieved members should embrace reconciliation. Director-General of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman believes that the failure of the party leadership to conduct the national convention could be regarded as a betrayal of the trust of the president. Lukman’s warning that under no circumstances should there be any extension of the tenure of the caretaker committee appeared to have fallen on deaf ears, as the committee is currently enjoying a new lease of life; even without an official extension as was the case in December when the NEC gave it a new mandate. In a statement in Abuja, the PGF boss asked all party members and leaders to ensure that the caretaker committee is able to complete the task of organising a national convention where new leaders would be elected.

But, he believe that despite the shortcomings, the APC still remain the bastion of democracy in the country. He said: “The APC is the only party where contestation is taking place and leaders recognise the challenges facing the party. If democracy is about contestation, with all its problems, the APC represents the hope for a democratic Nigeria. For that to become a reality, the APC must pass all its litmus tests. A strong pillar, which is the catalysing element for the party to be able to pass all its litmus tests is the liberal leadership of President Buhari, based on which he doesn’t interfere in the management of the party. The caretaker committee must not abuse the president’s confidence by delaying the national convention of the party.

“No party in Nigeria has the liberal atmosphere provided in the APC. Whether the APC will be able to pass all its litmus tests will depend a lot on whether the caretaker committee is committed to finishing its assignment by June 2021. Even if it is able to complete the assignment, processes of internal negotiation to produce leaders of the party, the character and capacity of the new leadership, as well as the scope of membership participation during congresses and national convention will be determining factors of whether the party is conforming to both democratic principles and progressive ideals.”

Ideological renewal:

A member of the party from Akwa Ibom State and National Coordinator of the Progressives Patriots’ Initiative, Athanasius Okon believes that until the party returns to its original ideology, the crisis in the fold will not go away. The coordinator who was one of those who contested the APC primary for a seat in the House of Representatives prior to the 2019 general elections is however worried about the likely gale of legal suits the party would have to contend with in the coming months. He is not sure if what is on the ground right now is the same APC that was formed in 2014 with the coming together of the legacy parties.

Okon said: “Are you sure the APC we laboured and worked for, which was formed formally in 2014, comprising genuine progressives, is still the same party today? I really doubt it. Even when we had interim administration under Chief Bisi Akande, I think we were better a political platform than what we have today. The APC today has lost all its legal organs, including the NEC, to be qualified as a political party. What we have today, certainly, is for privileged people in the corridors of power.”

On the indefinite postponement of the national convention, he said: “How can you talk about the convention when the legal organs of the party are not there? As far as I am concerned, this party is no longer progressive in any way. Where in the party constitution does it give the president the power to give directives to the party, the power to set up a caretaker to run the party, and the same power to determine their tenure?”

He is, however, disappointed that the party has left its campaign promises and now wooing those it once brandished as predators, economic saboteurs and people that ruined the country for 16 years. He asked, “Is it an achievement for the party and its members to go enlist and recruit governors, senators and other stakeholders of the PDP?” He expressed fear over the number of litigations that will be evolving soon, saying “I can see them coming, especially the fall out of the proposed congresses, which has been so far hijacked by powerful forces the APC recruited from the PDP, after winning the 2015 general elections”.

The chieftain Progressives Patriots’ Initiative said the APC has lost its ideology. His words: “A party without a clear-cut ideology is certainly for all comers, especially money bags. Until the APC is saddled with the progressive elements, to run its affairs and government, the confusion within the party will persist. The only option left now for the APC is to drop opening its doors wide for every manner of politician, just because of the money and privilege positions they occupy. He said the APC should rather concern itself with the promotion of a reward system, rather than abandoning its foot soldiers that laboured and toiled day and night to see that we have the so-called change. He dismissed the reconciliation effort embarked upon by the party, describing it as a smokescreen. He said: “The APC was never genuinely involved in reconciliation. All I could see was a smokescreen exercise conducted by those without legal backing. If we are sincere, there are crises in some major state chapters. The APC can only be serious when those setting up such committees are themselves not part of the crises in their various states.”

Defections counterproductive:

Like Okon, other members of the APC are not comfortable with the turn of events within the party. Even though there appears to be a festival of defection from the PDP to the party, some members have argued that accepting these defectors is giving chance to another round of crisis, when the party should be making efforts to resolve the existing ones. In states like Ebonyi, Cross River and now Zamfara where the governors have joined the APC from the PDP, the new crisis in these states will be about who take charge of the party leadership.

However, there are believes that the pressure being mounted on the party leadership is responsible for the delay in the conduct of the national convention. The agitation for which part of the country will produce the next presidential candidate of the party is creating tension within the rank and file of the party. While many stakeholders are working against a possible imposition of candidates on the party during the convention, it is evident that the side of the country that will produce the next chairman will not be in contention for the presidential slot. With almost all contenders for the chairmanship coming from the North, one of the groups within the party, the APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign (APCLAC), led by Ismail Ahmed, has warned that no member of the party would be allowed to take undue advantage of the legitimate aspirations of members for a responsive and representative government. The group said: “Our leaders are not in denial and are responding to the challenges. Our party, the APC, is the only party in the country, which leadership has acknowledged its internal problems and has initiated processes of resolving them. Thanks to the leadership of President Buhari, the APC has been undergoing a deep-rooted rebuilding and repositioning process. New leadership will emerge at the end of this process.”

Akpanudoedehe is not unaware of the feeling of party members. He has, however, dismissed claims that the committee was not willing to vacate office. He is quoted as saying: “We have never lied on our party activities and we simply have no reason to. The consultative party leadership style instituted by Governor Mai Mala Buni as chairman of the caretaker committee has institutionalised the APC as a party of processes and internal democracy. The CECPC is focused and is delivering its mandate to recover, rebuild and reposition the APC, as well as achieve peace-building, true reconciliation and to give a sense of belonging to every member of the party. You don’t expect us to come and lie; if we have to need to extend, we will go to the public and give them the reason to do that. The exercise has been extended. It is still a continuous exercise.”

A chieftain of the party in the Southeast believes the Buni-led caretaker committee is doing a great job. The party chieftain who gave Zamfara as an example said: “You saw what has happened in Zamfara; Governor Bello Matawalle has now collapsed his government structure into the APC. All the senators from the state came along with the governor. Do you think that just happened for nothing? That is just Zamfara; we are expecting some other states that are very strategic to the party, to our victory, to come into the fold. We are expecting a governor from the Northeast. We are working on another one from this region (Southeast) too.

Buni committee on course:

“In fact, we have a former governor from this zone who wants to be the national chairman and he knows that he needs to deliver his zone to the party to be able to lead the party. So, as you can see, the Buni-led committee wants all these done before it finally fixes a date for the convention. The party is also trying to galvanise and resolve its internal crisis before the convention. For me, these are the two major issues delaying the convention and I believe they are close to being resolved. Once we do all these, even right now, the opposition parties are already jittery with the defection of PDP governors into our party. So, the postponement of the convention will have any negative implication on APC or our chances in the 2023 general elections.”

Speaking in a similar vein, a party official in one of the Northwest states said the postponement of the national convention is to further enable the caretaker committee to deliver on its assignment of repositioning the party. He said: “If you don’t know, the APC caretaker committee has been given an additional assignment to further reposition the party. They have been able to do a lot and are still doing more to reposition the party towards an overwhelming victory in all elections before and the next general elections in 2023.

“At present, there is no opposition that will challenge the APC. After successfully completing the registration and revalidation exercise, the party is now set to conduct congresses beginning from the ward level and climax with the national convention before the end of the year. As part of their successes, today every notable politician is either returning or coming to the APC. The additional time they have been given is well deserved and I am sure they will further use it to position the party for outstanding success.”

Be that as it may, many members are spoiling for a showdown with the Caretaker Committee whom they believe has overstayed its welcome. They want a new NWC put in place as soon as possible. But a source within the party is of the view that the caretaker committee is eager to leave the stage, but was quick to add that forces within the Presidency, who are wary of the implosion that may arise from the convention are the ones pushing forward the scheduled date for the convention. He said: “There is no consensus or official position on which zone will produce the presidential candidate in 2023. That’s a decision that could unsettle the party. In the absence of official pronouncements, the national convention will expose everything since a zone that produces the national chairman cannot produce the presidential candidate. So, in the absence of a national convention, the race for the presidential ticket is kept open.”

Against this background, those that have been following developments within the party are warning against the further delay of the convention. They warned that if the national officers are not elected on time and given enough time to settle down, the party may find itself in the same position it was in 2019.

Fear of the unknown:

A political analyst, Alhaji Tajudeen Tijjani believes the ruling party is taking its time to avoid the unknown. Tijjani said if the convention takes place today amidst the current challenges facing the party, it may not be able to control the situation. His words: “Don’t forget there are crises everywhere as we speak; the entire country is not really in peace and the target for those who may not know is the APC. So, if you do a convention that is not acceptable to some blocs in the party, the problem may escalate and that is what the party is running away from. So, they want to put their house in order before they go to the convention.

“Let me tell you, the APC has two things in their hands; the disagreement over zoning policy; some are saying there is zoning, while others are insisting there is no zoning. So, if you don’t allow the two sides to come together and decide which way do we go, you are going to have a problem, if you have a national convention because there would be camps of those who agree and those who don’t agree, which is normal in politics. But, it is always better to put your house in order to know exactly what you want to do. The defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) did it and they succeeded during the Gboko 82. There was a crisis of removing the late Adisa Akinloye in Kano. The late MKO Abiola wanted to be the chairman and what they did was to prevail on MKO to wait, while Akinloye was asked to continue for another four years. At least, the house was put in order not to rock the boat.

“In the case of the APC now, there is a difference because the party’s national chairman must emerge from a zone different from the one that will produce the presidential candidate. The APC case, unlike that of the NPN, is a time bomb and they don’t want to give another political party an opportunity to capitalize on their internal crisis; that is why they are taking their time to put their house in order, because it would amount to foolishness to say there is no crisis in the APC.”

On the implications of a delayed convention, Tijjani said the APC must do the convention before the deadline set for political parties to do it by INEC, in order not to go against the laws.

A Kaduna based legal practitioner, Usman Idris said the postponement of the convention may not be unconnected with internal politicking or a quest to be politically correct. Idris said: “The party indeed has shifted the goal post over and again regarding its national convention. This may not be unconnected with internal politicking or a quest to be politically right. If the party eventually holds the convention this time and discordant voices arise as a result of the series of postponement, the party may recede further into internal crisis, which may affect its chances in the next general elections.

“On the other hand, as the president bows out in 2023, the Buhari factor, which has helped the party to win in previous elections, will be missing. This could reduce the chances of the party. On second thought, with the number of governors and other top opposition members defecting into the APC, the impact of the Buhari factor may not be felt that much.”

Wrong signals:

Elder statesman and immediate past Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Anthony Sani is of the view that the postponement may send wrong signals to people that the party has challenges in the management of its internal affairs. Nevertheless, he said the main opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) is not taking advantage of the misfortunes of the ruling party. He said: “Yet, instead of the main opposition party to take advantage of the observed imperfections of the ruling party as a viable alternative platform, its members are defecting to the APC.”

He added: “This should not surprise any political pundits precisely because, in Nigeria, politicians do not join political parties because of their ideology and capacity to deliver on the promise of democracy, but because of their capacity to win elections. Just count our political gladiators and the number of political parties they have been members of, for a realistic appreciation of the import of what I am saying. That explains why a senator from the opposition party could be Deputy Senate President. In a multiparty democracy, except in a coalition government, such is odd. That speaks volumes about the fact that we do not seem to know the place of political parties in multiparty democracy.

“I believe if Nigerians understand the place of multiparty democracy which allows each political party to represent distinct approaches to solving national problems, the topsy-turvy in the political cockpit about the restructuring of the country would not arise. All that would be required is for each political party to present its own version of restructuring as contained in its manifesto and use same to canvass for electoral mandate needed for execution. But, as of today, despite the hues and cries about restructuring, Nigerians do not know the positions of each political party on restructuring. The APC emerged as a coalition of political parties of different persuasions with the sole aim of defeating the PDP. As a result, the National Assembly controlled by the ruling party constituted opposition to the executive arm of the government. It was a situation where the party was at war with itself. Even the presidency was affected by such development when the president was seen as presiding over a divided presidency.

“In due course, many members of the ruling party defected to the opposition party. As a result, some of us thought the water was finding its level where like minds were regrouping for proper multiparty democracy to take root. But, when the APC prevailed in 2019, there was a sigh of relief that Nigerians knew what they wanted by ensuring both the executive and the legislative arms of government are united to work in synergy for the ruling party to deliver its campaign promises. We have seen the benefits of such cooperation between the two arms of government.”

Mixed feelings:

In the Southwest, there are mixed feelings over the decision of President Buhari to extend the tenure of members of the National Caretaker Committee indefinitely, and also postpone the national convention. They seem to be at loss about the rationale of the postponement, given the fact that general elections are less than two years away. Some party chieftains who spoke with The Nation in confidence said they could not figure the reason behind the continuous extension of the tenure of the national caretaker committee led by Buni. They complained that a governing party is expected to get its acts together to enable it to prepare well for the forthcoming general election.

A governorship election will hold in Anambra State this year, while another one will hold in Ekiti and Osun in June and August 2021 respectively. Though a chieftain of the party in Oyo State posited that the leaders might be working towards a hidden agenda, another said he believed that the continuous shifts of the convention may be deliberate to enable the party to accommodate new governors that are defecting to APC from other parties. The latter said the national leaders are fully aware that some governors have concluded arrangements to defect to APC, stressing that it was the reason they have been shifting the convention. The chieftain posited that the APC has nothing to fear about the forthcoming elections because it keeps welcoming new members from other parties.

Another chieftain accused the national leadership of sidelining others in the party, accusing them of taking unilateral decisions. The chieftain expressed displeasure in the national leadership for taking decisions on core party issues without consultation with those at state and local government levels. The chieftain said: “They just announce decisions. No one is consulted. Every party member and leader is just following their unilateral directives. They are lucky because our party is popular and governing in many states. But that is not a good reason to shove people aside when making decisions that affect them.”

In Ogun State, there are similar indications that some critical stakeholders in the party are largely in the dark about the decisions. The Nation observed that many of them do not know why the convention is still being delayed despite being a major political party in the coming elections. A chieftain of the party who craved anonymity told our correspondent that he has no knowledge of anything pertaining to the convention.

He said: “I’m not an oracle to know why the convention has been delayed or why the date is shifted. I’m also not an oracle to know what that portends for the party two years to a general election. If I may ask, have you seen or heard of any meeting of the party stakeholders here? So, I don’t know or have the answer to your questions.”

It was further learnt that those occupying posts in the caretaker committee arrangements from ward to national level may be enjoying the privileges attached to their offices, thereby making them comfortable with the current extension. The party chieftain puts this way: “They are not in a hurry to lose the position, especially some of them that are career politicians without a second address.”

But, the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Kunle Oluomo said the party was on course and that due process will be followed to organize the convention. He said a good party structure has to first be put in place from the wards, local government to the state level. Oluomo said the guidelines and process will come from the national caretaker committee, adding that the notice has been published.

APC restrategising:

In Ondo State, some chieftains have said that questions would only be raised if the Buni-led caretaker committee fails to organise the national convention by December. Any further delay, they added, would mean the Buni-led committee has a hidden agenda.

However, its Director of Media and Publicity, Steve Otaloro expressed optimism that the APC would have its elected executives by December. He said the delay would not affect the chances of the party in the next general elections because the APC has achieved a lot to showcase to Nigerians. He said stakeholders in the Ondo APC have been asked to return to the grassroots to mobilise support for the party especially those seeking to contest in the congresses.

But, a party chieftain in Osun State differed from others in his opinion. He said the national leaders may have been delaying the congresses and convention, realising that there exist deep-seated acrimonies among members in many states which can cause implosion if not well managed. He said the continuous postponement and extension of tenure for caretaker committees are deliberately done to keep members together for longer, and closer to the coming elections.

He said: “Those decisions are signs that our party is in panic. It shows that it understood that it may be unable to manage the fallout of congresses in many states due to enormous internal crises. They believe that the best decision is to hide under those two decisions. But, frankly speaking, we cannot run away from congresses. Yet, if anything happens now, it can kill the party. I think it may be wise to extend the tenure of the current executives up to the state level though they may have limited power. But, it is allowed.”

Party chieftains from the Southeast also share the views of their counterparts from the Southwest. For instance, the spokesperson for the APC Patriots and former House of Representatives member, Victor Ogene also believes the delay will give the party ample time to restrategize. He said the APC national leadership has been working day and night to make sure that the party gets it right. As a result, he said the shift in date is good for the party.

Ogene, who represented Ogbaru Federal Constituency, said a committee was set up by the NWC in the Southeast to reconcile aggrieved members under the leadership of the former Senate President, Dr Ken Nnamani. He said that was the reason some of them who were aggrieved decided to come back and take up the responsibility of taking APC to a new height in the zone.

The former lawmaker said the Patriots are doing consultations to reconcile some of the aggrieved persons and that the results are being seen in Anambra State and the entire region. He said the NWC, which is saddled with that responsibility, is waiting for the appropriate time to fix it and that the Patriots are not relenting in making sure that the APC takes over the Southeast, beginning with Anambra election.

Another chieftain of the party from Anambra, Chief Modestus Umenzekwe said the APC is more stable now than ever before. He added: “There are many things happening underground and they are all for good. There is no need to rush the convention. The postponement is in order. Efforts are on to bring everyone together. Yes, people are free to be angry over one thing or the other, but the bottom line is that the APC will work as a team to achieve results.”

Smacks of illegality:

Prof Obasi Igwe, an APC chieftain in Enugu State, believes the inability of the party’s national caretaker committee to conduct a national convention at the appropriate time smacks of illegality. Speaking with The Nation, Prof. Igwe expressed disappointment that the party leadership has been handed over the presidency and that the latter has been acting without taking cognizance of the party’s constitution.

His words: “The inability of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee (CECPC) to fix a date for the APC National Convention smacks of illegality. There is no reason why there should be a caretaker for up to one year without proper convention. The APC has a constitution, but it is not being followed. The APC as a party is different from the presidency. But, it now appears that it is the presidency that is now controlling the party, instead of the party helping the presidency to implement the APC manifesto and make it better than what the PDP was doing.

“Many of us are in the APC because of the words ‘progressives’, ‘anti-corruption’ and ‘restructuring’. The best way to achieve these things is through internal party democracy. But our APC has shifted away from being a progressive party and seemingly pursuing a feudal system. Instead of being progressive that will embrace all Nigerians, APC seems now overtaken by forces that tend to weaken and divide Nigeria and drag the country back to the middle ages. That is not progressive. If this trend continues, the implication is that there is not going to be a genuine election in 2023. I want the APC to retain power after 2023, but that has to be done genuinely.”

But, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, disagreed with Igwe’s position. He said the national caretaker committee was only being pragmatic by trying to raise funds in order to get logistics to conduct the national convention. My own understanding of the entire thing is that Mr President has said that the government’s money would not be used to run the party and that members of APC should generate funds for the running of the party. He said that it would be against his anti-corruption stand to use the Federal Government’s fund to run the party.

Okechukwu added: “Accordingly, the national Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee headed by Governor Buni has laid out plans on how to raise funds to run the ward congress, local government congress and state congress and then the national convention. That is why if you noticed the advert, whoever is running for the chairman of the ward, has to pay N10,000. Those interested in running for vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer of the ward will pay N5,000, while the rest of the 24 positions have to pay N2,000 each.

“It is not about dictatorship. What they’re planning is that if they could raise money from conducting the ward, local government and state congresses, they can now have logistics from the proceeds to fix a date and do the national convention. It’s simply being pragmatic. With this, the party can now organize a very credible convention. Unlike when the PDP was in charge, they would put hands in public coffers to hold conventions. I think they should be commended for not using money that should have been used to provide infrastructure to run the APC and conduct party conventions. So, anybody who is talking about dictatorship doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Imo State chairman, Prince Marcellinus Nlemigbo said the APC is on course, as far as the national convention is concerned. He said: “We have to finish the ward, local government and state congresses before organising the national convention. The general election is in 2023, so we still have the whole of 2021 and 2022 to plan. So, shifting of the national convention to a later date will in no way affect the fortunes of the party during the next general elections.

Convention in the offing:

Its Director General, Media, Jude Cajetan agrees with Nlemigbo. He said arrangements have been concluded for the national convention, beginning with the ward, local governments and state congresses. He said: “I speak with you; a timetable has been released for the conduct of ward congress, local government and state congresses. And you know, it is from the ward congresses that you elect the local government delegates and the local government delegates will elect a three-man delegate for the national convention.

“So, now that the dates had been announced for the ward, local government and state congresses, I am convinced that the caretaker committee is in the right direction for the conduct of the national convention. I am also aware that a timetable has been sent to the leader of the party, President Buhari to attend an emergency NEC meeting of the party, to fix a date for the national convention. In view of that, you will find out that every arrangement has been set in motion for the national convention. By July 24, we will be going for our ward congresses and two weeks after that, we will go for our local government congress and on September 14, we will also go for the state congress.”

Nwachukwu Eze, a chieftain of the party in Ebonyi State, said the committee has done exceptionally well to the extent that “I am tempted to ask Mr Buni to resign as governor and contest during the congress”. He added: “The party today is witnessing an influx of many opposition members, including governors. That shows they are doing well. The thinking might have been to allow them to complete that process; hence the postponement and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”

Abia State chairman, Donatus Nwankpa said there is no cause for alarm. He said: “There is nothing abnormal about the postponement of the convention. Knowing the insecurity challenge in the country coupled with other things, if the APC decided to go into convention under the prevailing circumstances, people will say that the party is more interested in power than the welfare of the people.

“The environment must create a conducive atmosphere for the convention of the party to hold. Ordinarily, the convention was supposed to hold in 2022, but because of the dissolution of the National Working Committee and the National Executive Council, it affected it. Remember that the Northeast chairman and the Northeast generally is threatened by insecurity. As things currently stand, nobody can be blamed for that. We are only trying to be sensitive to the situation on the ground.

“It will not affect APC’s plan in 2023. Congresses are supposed to start from May next year, so we have nothing to fear about.”