After many postponements, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) held their elective national convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja on Saturday, 23rd June 2018.
The congress hosted about 7,000 delegates from the 36 states and 179 aspirants who contested for different posts within the party on the National level. The elective convention was to give the opportunity to become members of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC), which is the party’s primary decision-making body. This was in the aftermath of contentious state congresses across the nation that provided the delegates to this convention.
What were the highlights of the convention?
Adams Oshiomole, former Nigerian Labour Congress leader and Governor of Edo State, emerged as the new party Chairman and was sworn in at the convention. He succeeded another former Edo Governor, John Odigie-Oyegun. The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, administered the oath of office to him.
After the withdrawal of all the national Chairmanship aspirants, including former Governor of Cross River state, Clement Ebri and yet another former Governor of Edo State, Oserheimen Osunbor, Oshiomole emerged winner unopposed through affirmation.
The aggrieved members of the APC in the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) camp, despite being unhappy with the ruling party, attended the National convention.
According to Abubakar Baraje, leader of the nPDP, the group decided to attend the convention to demonstrate their loyalty to the party to Nigerians and their supporters. He, however, explained that their presence does not mean that their grievances towards the APC have been forgotten. Notably, former presidential aspirant and Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso was absent.
In May, the faction wrote a 4-page letter to the APC leadership stating their grudges with the party. The letter, a call to address the perceived marginalisation of some of its members and disregard for the rule of law in general, was received by the party and assured that its content will be addressed.
“The fact that we were able to attend the APC convention and the convention is going on well, is not an interpretation that the suffering of the masses had been alleviated and is not an answer that the security in the country which has been seriously jeopardized is being addressed” - Abubakar Baraje
The group’s agitation is yet to be fully addressed, and the resolution will test the bonds of the ruling party.
President Buhari’s speech
While addressing the delegates at the convention, President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to aggrieved members of the party to keep the faith. According to him, inter-party squabbles are normal and will only make members stronger.
”I want to assure everyone here that despite a few lingering issues with the congresses in some states, our great party will emerge stronger after this convention. The unresolved cases we have is the price we have to pay for success, as everyone wants to be associated with a winning team. I am imploring all those with grievances to keep faith with the party until we put things right.” - Muhammadu Buhari
The President, emphasizing the importance of working together to satisfy Nigerians, advised party members to forget about personal considerations and put the party ahead at all times. This was however drowned out when a fight broke out between Imo delegates loyal and opposed to Governor Rochas Okorocha.
What should we expect?
In all, the newly elected leaders under the party have assured Nigerians that they will uphold the executive arm of Government and deliver in their duties. A lot of Nigerians are not sure what the APC will be like with new officers, but they will be tasked with uniting the fracturing party and leading it into a successful 2019 election season.