Abuja—Speculations that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, had accepted a zoning formula and that President Muhammadu Buhari had selected a candidate to become the national chairman of the party were criticized, yesterday, by the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, which set up a committee to come up with a zoning formula.
National Secretary of the CECPC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, in a communique revealed Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as chairman of the committee.
Also, Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege as deputy chairman; and Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke as secretary, members of the committee include Prof. Etim Nyong, Dr. MB Shehu, Mustapha Salihu, Senator Teslim Folarin and Alhaji Sadeeq Sami.
The Committee is expected to forward its report on March 7, 2022.
Although the terms of reference of the committee were not listed immediately, it was gathered that the CECPC will inform the committee of all necessary details as soon as possible.
A top party source stated that the committee is essentially to work out a zoning formula which would be reviewed by the CECPC for possible adoption.
The development effectively neutralizes reports credited to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on the party’s zoning formula as the CECPC has now taken ownership of the zoning process.
It also put paid to speculation that President Buhari might have approved Abdullahi Adamu a former Governor of Nasarawa State, as a consensus national chairmanship candidate.
Sheriff vows to abide by Buhari’s decision
Meanwhile, amid reports that President Buhari might have endorsed one of the 12 national chairmanship aspirants of the APC ahead of its March 26 national convention, one of the aspirants and former Governor Ali Sheriff of Borno State, has vowed to abide by any such decision.
Speaking with journalists, yesterday, Sheriff who debunked reports of any endorsement noted that while he remained in the race, he would not however go against any decision taken by President Buhari as the leader of the party.
He said: “Of late, I have been inundated by insinuations and rumors that President Buhari has zoned and endorsed a candidate for this all important position in our party’s leadership.
“It has become very pertinent and exigent to address these concerns. First, I am not aware of any official statement or position by Mr. President on endorsement of any particular candidate and/or zoning of the chairmanship position of our great party.
“Mr. President and indeed the Party are yet to issue a formal statement on these issues. I am in the race for the National Chairmanship position of our party APC because of my strength of character, capacity and competence. My intentions are clear and explicitly for public good rather than self-interest.
“As a loyal party member, I will abide by the decisions of Mr. President at any time he makes an official decision on zoning or endorsement of any particular candidate. I have unequivocal confidence in Mr. President’s capacity to make the right choice for the growth of our party. I am totally committed to work with anyone/everyone to reposition our party towards actualizing a resounding victory in the 2023 general elections and beyond.”
Another chairmanship aspirant, Mallam Saliu Mustapha also debunked claims of any agreement on consensus candidacy.
Speaking through his Media aide, Dapo Okubanjo, the aspirant said he “is a core party man so he expects that once a decision is taken on a matter as important as that of a consensus candidate, it will be passed on by the party leadership through official channels.
“And until that is done, he believes that the race is still open to all contenders who showed interest in being the next National Chairman of the APC.”