The rift over zoning in the All Progressives Congress (APC) has not been addressed three weeks before the party’s March 26 convention.
There is still a misunderstanding over which zones will attain some key offices, notwithstanding last week’s setting up of the Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq zoning committee.
The committee, which is expected to submit its report today, was disclosed to be divided over which zones to take the positions of deputy chairman (North) and national secretary.
Some governors and ministers are believed to be behind those who are in the dissenting group in the eight-man zoning committee.
But Kwara State Governor AbdulRazaq is planning ahead to submit the report based on the latest zoning arrangement.
Other members of the zoning panel are Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, Prof. Etim Nyong, Dr. M.B. Shehu, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, Senator Teslim Folarin, Alhaji Sadeeq Sanni and Anambra State Deputy Governor Nkem Okeke, who is secretary.
Another dimension to the zoning rift is the move allegedly by Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello to galvanize some governors to force the party to call the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party without the assistance of the leadership of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
But President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday raised the hope that the leading party will address the crisis rocking it.
He said those expecting the downfall of the party at the end of his tenure would be disappointed.
He stated that the APC had the capacity to overcome its challenges.
On February 28, President Buhari acceded a zoning formula supported by influential ministers.
In that arrangement, the National Chairman was zoned to the Northcentral; the Deputy National Chairman (North) to the Northwest; the National Secretary to the South South and Deputy National Chairman (South) to the Southeast.
However, the proposal was later discarded, following complaints by some governors, led by a Northwest governor.
Thus, on March 1, at the meeting of the APC governors with the president, the proposal was edited.
Under the new zoning arrangement, the National Chairman was retained to the Northcentral, with Senator Abdullahi Adamu, being endorsed as the intended beneficiary, the Deputy National Chairman (North) was zoned to Northeast; the Secretary to Southwest, and the Deputy National Chairman (South) to Southeast. This was approved.
This list was submitted to the AbdulRazaq zoning committee to work with. It was not expected to depart from this in its report, which the caretaker committee will approve.
But, the change of zoning of Deputy National Chairman from Northwest to Northeast, and the National Secretary from Southsouth to Southwest was revealed to have resulted to a deep rift.
A source said: “Barring any unforeseen contingency, the zoning committee is expected to submit its report to the party today. The party is not expecting anything new.”
The President, who spoke with newsmen before travelling to London for a medical check-up, stated that those doubting the APC’s ability to address its internal problems should watch out for how it will bounce back, reminding them of how the party took over a ruling party.
President Buhari said: “They should wait and see. How did we come as a party to take power from the ruling party who had been there before us for so many years? So, we have the capacity. Everything will be alright.”
On how the country would be managed in his absence, Buhari said Nigeria was in safe hands.
He added: “I cannot claim to be doing the work alone. The government is fully represented.
“The Vice President is there. Constitutionally, when I’m away, he’s in charge and the Secretary to the Government and then the Chief of Staff, so no problem.”