By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA—Barring any last-minute change in its fortunes, the non-elective national convention of ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, earlier slated for April 29, may not hold, Vanguard can authoritatively report.
Also, the party last week cancelled its National Executive Council, NEC, and Caucus meetings earlier scheduled for this week due to the President’s ill-health.
Initially slated for today and tomorrow respectively, both meetings would have had President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance as the leader of the party.
“We told them (party leadership) that the President would not be able to attend both meetings, and that perhaps informed their decision to postpone it indefinitely,” said a top Presidency source who was privy to the communication between both sides.
Announcing the postponement last week, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Bolaji Abdullahi, said “the postponement is due to unexpected developments.”
Except for his appearances at two Juma’at prayers at Aso Villa Mosque, President Buhari had rarely been seen in public since his return from weeks of medical vacation in London.
Asked why the President could not delegate his deputy to chair the two meetings, the Presidency source, who pleaded not to be named, said governance issues were different from politicking.
According to him, Buhari’s advisers are not too keen on having the two meetings hold in his absence, especially because Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, belongs to the Bola Tinubu/ACN bloc.
According to the source, “the crucial decisions that would be taken at such meetings may not be in the best political interest of the President’s CPC bloc. And with the level of uncertainties in the polity, the President’s political steps have to be well-measured or guided.”
‘’Do not forget that there were some people who wanted the two meetings to have even held while the President was away in London but some of us insisted that the President had to be around for the meeting, especially because he had not told the party to go ahead with the meetings without him,” the source said.
Last month, a committee put in place by the APC to review its constitution had abandoned the job, ostensibly due to paucity of funds.
The constitution review, the NEC and Caucus meetings would have been major hurdles to cross for the party to go ahead with its non-elective national convention which was tentatively fixed for April 29.
By its constitution, the various chapters of the party are supposed to have held congresses to fill vacant positions, following which the national caucus meeting would hold and then the NEC meeting, which would approve the date for the national convention.
“The congresses will be followed by the National Caucus meeting, and finalised with the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party which will consider and set the dates for the National Convention, which is expected to hold not later than April of 2017,” party spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi, had said in an earlier statement.
Article 25 (A)(i) of the APC constitution states that the National Convention of the Party shall be held once in two years at a date, venue and time to be recommended by the National Working Committee, NWC, and approved by the National Executive Committee, NEC, subject to the giving of the statutory notices to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and at least 14 days notice given to members eligible to attend.
APC’s national convention should have held latest by October last year.