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North-Central, South West Ex-govs May Replace Adamu, Omisore

The new leadership of the All Progressives Congress has written to intimate President Bola Tinubu on the postponement of the long awaited National Caucus and National Executive Committee meetings, The PUNCH learnt.

The development is coming barely 24 hours after the Acting National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abubakar Kyari, announced the resignation of his successor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore.

This was even as multiple sources confirmed that the National Working Committee might be looking towards October to convene a National Convention to complete the transition of filling up the vacant offices.

Aside from the offices of the National Chairman and secretary, other positions that are presently vacant includes Deputy National Publicity Secretary, formerly occupied by Murtala Ajaka, who is running for the office of Kogi governor on the platform of Social Democratic Party and National Welfare Officer, which was previously occupied by the late Friday Nwosu.

Speaking exclusively with The PUNCH, National Vice Chairman for South East, Dr Ijeoma Arodiogbu noted though the ruling party would eventually hold the convention, he however stressed that caucus and NEC meetings were of priority.

He said, “We are still preparing for our NEC and National Caucus meeting. It is after we have those two meetings that we will know the direction of the party. Nobody is talking about Convention. It is the caucus and NEC meetings that we are focus on for now.”

Asked to confirm if the new leadership of the party is planning to have a private meeting with the president, the NWC member nodded.

“Yes. In fact, we have sent a letter to the president to intimate him about our decision to postpone both the caucus and NEC meetings. So we are in the planning stage because of the new leadership,” he said.

On whether the exit of Kyari and few notable persons being considered for ministerial positions will create an additional vacuum before an emergency Convention takes place, Arodiogbu disagreed.

“No. The people being considered for ministerial appointments already know themselves and they are keen on retaining the party’s position like myself. Whatever backing we take, it is something we will, as a party, decides on the best way to fill them before the NEC.

“The date for the NEC has not been decided yet. My own thinking is maybe towards the end of the year. You know the planning of congress is not something that will happen within the one month. I don’t think so. We are more concerned with the NEC happening within the next two weeks. But then, the government must settle down first by announcing and inaugurating the cabinet,” he noted.

Continuing, the national vice chairman for South-East admitted that though having a frozen account as a result of the change in leadership may slightly cause a delay in staff salaries and the day-to-day running of the party’s affairs, he expressed optimism they will find a way around it.

An informed source at the party secretariat also confirmed that some representatives of the APC leadership that may include the national chairman, secretary and an undisclosed person are preparing to visit the president.

He also disclosed that several names, which include former governors and heavyweights in the North-Central and Souty West are currently being considered to replace both Adamu and Omisore.

“Definitely, they (NWC) are due to meet with the president any moment for them to decide on the all important NEC and caucus meetings. It is a must they meet to agree on the new dates.

Speaking on possible replacement for the post of substantive national chairman, the source fingered former governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura; former governor of Niger State, Abu Lolo; former Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Silas Ali Agara and former governor of Plateau State.

He, however, exempted strong conviction Lolo may not be given the opportunity because he lacked the governor doesn’t have the capacity to ‘proeprly manage people.’

“Where the real problem lies is in who replaces Omisore as substantive national secretary. There is the general notion that Isaac Kekemeke should be allowed to occupy the position. There is also that urgent need to pick somebody from Osun to strengthen the state and rally the APC supporters after the last disastrous election where we lost virtually all the elective seats. But the question is who? Aside from former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, Osun currently has no heavyweights outside the camp of the rebellious Aregbesola’s faction.

“But I must say the focus of the NWC at the moment are NEC, reuniting party members and fine-tuning the audit report. That is the focus for now. I am sure after the NEC, fixing the National Convention shouldn’t go beyond October. The real challenge I think we have now is if Kyari, who is expected to be announced as a minister soon, will be made to stay the course till a substantive national chairman emerges or resign his position immediately.

“I understand the National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, is also coming back to the country from London today. I believe you are aware he travelled two weeks ago for his daughter’s graduation and seized the opportunity to stay off the radar. Quite a lot of people have been bombing us with calls on why he stayed back when the national headquarters of the party is on fire.

“But again, you can’t blame him that much. Haven’t you been wondering why Omisore has been the one signing press statements and making announcements in the last one month? That’s the level we have sunk as a party,” he stated.

When The PUNCH paid a scheduled visit to the party secretariat on Wednesday, the heavy security presence and retinue of officials were no longer there.

Our correspondent also observed the spaces at the car park reserved exclusively for the SUVs of Adamu and Omisore have been occupied by vehicles of the acting national chairman and the secretary.

The mood and ambience also suggested that the staff at the national headquarters have also come to accept the change in leadership as each person went about their activities, albeit with extreme caution.

Efforts made to reach the APC Director of Publicity, Bala Ibrahim, for reaction was unsuccessful

Meanwhile, as the party intensifies search for a new national chairman, a chieftain of the party, Garus Gololo, has ruled out the possibility of Abiodun Faleke succeeding the former Nasarawa State governor.

Gololo premised his stand on the fact that Faleke represents Ikeja Federal Constituency of Lagos State and as such, does not qualify for consideration for the vacant office even though he is originally from Kogi State.

This is just as the retired army general told one of our correspondents that the party would retain the chairmanship in the North Central geo-political zone comprising Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Kwara, Benue and Kogi States.

Speaking exclusively with our correspondent, Gololo said, “Faleke can never become the APC National Chairman because he represents Lagos State in the National Assembly even though he is originally from Kogi State. It is not possible for us to have a President from Lagos State and a party chairman from the same Lagos. He is trying to be smart but it is not going to be possible.

“Faleke may push for this (National Chairmanship of the APC) but we are not going to accept it. He is a lawmaker from Lagos State, not a lawmaker from Kogi State. If he knows he is from Kogi State, let him go and register as a member of the party in his State’s constituency. I am solidly behind Al-Makura. He is a good material for the job who can hold the party firmly.”

On whom is likely to succeed Adamu, Gololo said the party would decide on the matter.

“It is a party decision, but I am a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress. I don’t know what the party will decide. The National Chairmanship of the APC will still be retained in the North Central. We may still retain it in Nasarawa because we are targeting the former Governor of that State, Tanko Al-Makura. We also have Sani Musa from Niger State in mind,” he said.

On the likely successor to Iyiola Omisore who was swept away alongside Adamu as National Secretary, the APC chieftain said in the interest of fairness, a new party scribe must be of South-East extraction.

“If we want to be fair to all sections of the country, the next National Secretary should come from the South-East. The President is from the South-West, the secretary of the party is not supposed to come from the South-West.

“We did our convention before the elections, but I think this is the opportunity to bring a sense of balance in the power equation of the party. The secretary should come from the South-East,” he added.

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