The All Progressives Congress Youth Development and Solidarity Forum has warned that over 20 million party members would be disenfranchised should the APC proceed with its proposed February 26th national convention.
The group said these party faithful cut across 14 states in the federation, comprising more than 200 local government areas where congresses didn’t hold or were held under controversial circumstances.
The APC Youth Development and Solidarity Forum made this known in a press conference today in Abuja.
In his address, the forum’s secretary, Hon. Tobias Ogbeh, regretted that Governor Mai Mala Buni-led the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) allowed itself to be railroaded by a few individuals, particularly some northern state governors.
Ogbeh lamented that the APC CECPC has failed to yield to the warnings of some concerned stakeholders over the impending doom that awaits the party.
The forum, therefore, advised the Governor Buni-led committee to accept the position of the Abdullahi Adamu-led Reconciliation Committee which recommended more time to settle factional differences and the postponement of the convention.
They further cautioned the national leadership of the party and CECPC must urgently distance themselves from the overbearing state governors that are bent on going ahead with the convention despite the known pitfalls.
The APC Youth Development and Solidarity Forum, however, warned that any attempt to disenfranchise the overwhelming population of party men and women, whose rights have been trampled upon by powerful forces within the power will be rejected.
The statement reads:
Gentlemen of the press, we thank you for honouring our invitation to this press conference. We invited you here today to intimate you with the unfolding attempt to disenfranchise members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) by certain individuals that have hijacked the party from its genuine members.
By way of a background, recall that Saturday February 26 has been scheduled as the date for the elective National Convention of the APC. This date was arrived at without recourse to the protestations from party members and leaders from almost all the state chapters of the party. The reason for these protests is well known. Things are not the way they should be at the state level of the party.
Therefore, we find it perverse that the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) allowed itself to be railroaded by few individuals, among whom are some governors of some northern states, into accepting a date for the convention when fundamental questions that could spell doom for the party have not been addressed. The February 26 date is nothing but an attempt at disenfranchising party members in states that are yet to resolve their crisis.
In the days leading to the announcement of this phantom date for the convention, we were all witnesses to how one state chapter after the other thronged the national headquarters in Abuja to register their displeasure at how the national level seemed to be unperturbed by the crisis that have crippled the party at the state chapters.
As worrisome as this initial indifference was, it is nothing compared to the snub that genuine APC stakeholders have been getting since the mistake was made to announce a convention date without hearing out the aggrieved sides to the array of crises rocking Nigeria’s largest political party.
It is on record that these stakeholders have expressed concerns at the threat to APC’s prospects at next year’s general elections should it press ahead to hold its National Convention without first reconciling its warring factions at the state level.
Even the Dr. Abdulahi Adamu-led Reconciliation Committee has clearly asked that there should be a rescheduling of the convention for it to have more time to complete the task of mending fences among the contending factions. Gentlemen of the press, the contention and factions are all about the failure of one faction to do the right thing and the insistence of the other faction that the right thing must be done. These are issues that will undermine the APC were aggrieved factions are forced to mount judicial challenges to the day light robberies they are protesting.
One possible consequence of the foregoing is that a singular court ruling could throw all the outcomes of a hasty national convention out of the window. Those that are insisting on having their way have not been able to convincingly state what would happen to the party if all its candidates are disqualified by the courts on account of a faulty convention. Does the APC want to find itself in such a quandary?
We are pained that many well-intended appeals, requests and demands for the national body to do the right thing has been met with a coordinated obstinacy that confirms that a few people have pocketed our great party and those of us that toiled to build this structure have now been turned into second class, even third class, party members in the piloting of the affairs of the party. We are being disenfranchised by virtue of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) scheduling the convention for a date that majority of stakeholders have rejected on account of the points herein raised.
It is on this note that the APC Youth Development and Solidarity Forum warns against plans by the CEPC to disenfranchise members of the party in over 14 States comprising more than 200 local government areas. These are the places where state congresses did not hold or held under controversial circumstances. As a result, such states cannot be said to have legitimate delegates to a National Convention. The situation has not been remedied as there is no availability of the right party instrument to manage the process.
We demand that the position canvassed by the Abdullahi Adamu-led Reconciliation Committee, which clearly stated the need for more time to settle factional differences, must be immediately accepted and the date for the convention changed. The national leadership of the party and CECPC must urgently distance themselves from the overbearing state governors that are bent on going ahead with the convention despite the known pitfalls.
Our Forum hereby categorically warn that any attempt to disenfranchise the overwhelming population of party men and women, whose rights have been trampled upon by powerful forces within the power, will be rejected. Party members are the ones that queue up to vote during elections, no matter how powerful governors are perceived to be each of them can only cast one vote on election day and this message should be made clear to them.
We strongly warn and demand that the APC Convention National Convention be immediately postponed without any further delay and rescheduled to such time as the states presently in crisis are resolved and delegates properly elected from recognized state congresses that are not the machinations of state governors.
It is our fervent hope that CECPC will pivot to the side of justice, equity and fair play so that the APC can truly be seen as leading Nigeria by example.