2023 victory, internal democracy top Adamu-led APC’s agenda

Luck smiled on Abdullahi Adamu, former governor of Nasarawa and senator representing Western Senatorial District of the state when against all permutations; he was on Saturday unanimously elected the new national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The event was the ruling party’s national convention held at the Eagle square Abuja with about 5,000 delegates, including President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance

Adamu was returned elected by Abubakar Badaru, chairman of the election sub-committee of the APC and governor of Jigawa State, sequel to the voice affirmation by delegates at the convention.

Earlier, six national chairmanship aspirants – George Akume, Tanko Al-makura, Abdulaziz Yari, Sani Musa, Saliu Mustapha, Etsu Muhammed had stepped down for him to emerge as the consensus candidate.

The former Nasarawa State governor was a late entrant into the race of APC national chairmanship race.

Indeed, as of January 31, 2022, when he submitted the Interim Report of the National Reconciliation Committee of the party which he chaired, his name was not among the list of aspirants for the exalted seat.

However, fate smiled on him when President Muhammadu Buhari persuaded other aspirants to adopt the Nasarawa West senator as the consensus national chairmanship candidate.

In their withdrawal letter signed by Akume, the other aspirants stated that they jettisoned their ambitions because of Buhari’s request.

The letter reads: “May I kindly refer to the appeal by Mr. President for the chairmanship aspirants of our great party to agree to a consensus arrangement wherein our colleague, Senator Abdullahl Adamu is made our consensus candidate for the chairmanship position and hereby forward letters of withdrawal from the under listed aspirants to wit: “Senator Tanko Al-Makura , Senator George Akume, Abdulaziz Yari, Senator Sani Musa Muhammad, Etsu Muhammed, Turaki Salifu Mustapha.”

Having been sworn into office yesterday, Adamu has the onerous task of unifying aggrieved members of the party, instituting internal party democracy and resolving conflicts in several chapters of the party.

A founding member of the APC and former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorochs, said the new chairman should as a matter of priority embark on immediate reconciliation of all aggrieved party members

“I am happy we now have a new chairman. My advice to him is to immediately begin reconciling aggrieved party men and women because in almost all the state chapters there are issues that need urgent attention”

“First, he needs to reconcile with his co-aspirants and those for other offices that had their ambitions thwarted after been prevailed on to withdraw for a consensus candidate. That’s the only way we can make progress as a party”, he said

Serving senator and successor to Adamu who incidentally was Adamu’s main challenger, Tanko Al’Makura agreed on the need for reconciliation but said that alone would not be enough. He urged Adamu to match his words with action, be upright, accommodating and magnanimous in victory

“We agreed to step down for him to honour Mr. President because I was very sure of victory. For instance, Mr. President asked the party to refund other aspirants the money they paid for forms. So far I have spent over N700 million in this campaign and you want to give me N20 million. How does that make me happy? I will advise the new chairman to go beyond refunding to genuine peace and reconciliation”, he said.

Another key stakeholder in the party and current managing director, National Inland Waterways Authority, (NIWA) George Muoghalu advised Adamu to adopt an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to settle some of the issues that made aggrieved party members and leaders to drag the party to court.

Read also: Here is a complete list of APC national officials elected at the convention

BusinessDay learnt that currently, the party has over 200 cases instituted against it in various courts across the country On his part, Mahmud Dauda, a delegate from Zamfara State said Adamu must also look into the crisis that precipitated the local government and state congresses in which parallel leaders emerged in many states.

According to him, many of those recognised by the former Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) were not the actual winners of the primaries in the states.

He mentioned of Sokoto, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Kwara and Taraba State chapters of the party where, due to unresolved crisis, only statutory delegates were allowed to attend and vote at the convention

It would be recalled that multifaceted issues arising from the state congresses led the defunct CECPC to last year, set up a reconciliation committee headed by Abdullahi Adamu

Interestingly, the new APC national chairman now has the task of implementing the recommendations of the report of the reconciliation committee which he headed.

While submitting the report in January he had said that the committee received over 47 petitions from aggrieved party chieftains across the country

Pundits believe that the new APC national chairman would need to set the machinery in motion for the conduct of primary election for the nomination of candidates for the various elective positions in the upcoming 2023 general election.

He has between Monday, April 4 and Friday, June 3, 2022, to conduct party primaries and resolve disputes that would likely arise from the exercise so as to beat INEC deadline for submission of names of party candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections.

INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu had last month warned that “any political party that operates outside the timeline provided by the commission with respect to party primaries, would not be expected to submit the names of a candidate to the commission.”

To meet the INEC timetable and the Electoral Act 2022, Adamu and his would immediately commence the process for the conduct of primary elections.

Already, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is resolute on taking over power from the ruling party has commenced the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms for the 2023 general elections. It has fixed its primary elections between May 7 and May 29.

On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari in his address at the occasion tasked the new Adamu-led NWC members to promote internal party democracy and equal opportunities and ensure that party primaries are not influenced by “highest bidders” going into the 2023 elections.

Ultimately, Adamu will be faced with the task of leading the APC campaign for the 2023 general elections in the face of stiff opposition as well as various other issues confronting the party’s led Federal Government, including insecurity. Others include fuel scarcity, rising inflation, huge unemployment, harsh living conditions, dwindling economy, epileptic power supply and disobedience to rule of law