The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will Sunday begin the screening of some aspirants for various positions in the National Working Committee (NWC), ahead of the March 26 National Convention. APC 2022 National Convention Screening Committee headed by the Kastina State Governor, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari had earlier scheduled to conduct the screening exercise in two batches on Saturday and Sunday.
THISDAY however gathered that the exercise did not start on Saturday as scheduled apparently due to the late submission of forms by the aspirants. Though the party gave no reason for not commencing the exercise as scheduled, it was learnt that the aspirants were still returning their forms as of 7 p.m. Saturday night.
With the delay in the commencement of the screening, the seven chairmanship aspirants are expected to be screened on Monday.
This is coming as the Chairman of Venue, Decoration, and Site Servicing Committee for the National Convention and Plateau State Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong has promised adequate security and logistics for the event.
Chairmanship aspirants who beat the deadline for the submission of nomination forms were two former governors of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura; Mallam Saliu Mustapha; Senator Sani Mohammed Musa; former Governor of Benue State and Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume; former Governor of Zamfara State, Senator Abdulaziz Yari; and the youngest aspirant, Mr. Etsu Mohammed.
Yari, who is from the North-west, is the only aspirant that is not from the North-central, which is expected to produce the party’s national chairmanship, according to the zoning arrangement.
Yari was a two-term Governor of Zamfara State and a one-time Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), a position that gave him a lot of influence and respect among his former colleagues and some serving governors. He has the resources and political experience.
If antecedents are anything to go by, then it would be difficult for Yari to realise his ambition. The way Yari managed the 2018 primaries before the 2019 elections caused all the APC candidates in the state to lose the elections to the PDP. Also, his inability to curtail bandits during his tenure as the governor of Zamfara State was a disaster. Today, bandits have almost crippled not only the state but the nation. The defection of the current Governor Bello Matawalle to the ruling APC is seen by political watchers as a threat to his aspirations. Matawalle is reportedly not on the same page with Yari. The zoning arrangement of APC is also not in his favour.
He is the Turaki of Ilorin. Mallam Saliu Mustapha is the founder of Saliu Mustapha Foundation (SMF) which is involved in huge philanthropic services.
A die-hard Buharist, Mustapha paid his dues in political party administration. He was once a national deputy chairman of the defunct CPC, one of the legacy parties that formed the APC. His membership of the defunct CPC gave him an edge as both ACN and ANPP blocs have had their slots; it is the turn of the CPC bloc to produce the next national chairman.
His weakness is that he lacks leadership experience as he has never held any other political appointment apart from the deputy chairman of the defunct CPC.
Akume was a two-term governor of Benue State, former senator, and a serving Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs. With these positions, he has acquired enough leadership experience to manage the diverse interests of the ruling party.
As a cabinet member, he can also galvanise the support of some of his colleagues to realise his ambition. He also has the intellectual and mental capacity required to battle for the national chairmanship seat. His major weak point was the loss of APC in the state to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Al-Makura is also a former Nasarawa State Governor. The 69-year-old businessman-turned-politician is also keen on becoming the next APC chairman. As a former governor and serving Senator, Al-Makura has the required resources, experience, and network to become the next national chairman. Al-Makura has running battles with the EFCC. Last year, he visited the EFCC headquarters a couple of times to answer questions on money laundering running into billions of naira. The former governor, however, said he was only invited by the EFCC but was never detained.
Adamu was the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and the current senator representing Nasarawa West senatorial district in the National Assembly.
Adamu was governor of Nasarawa State from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007. He is believed to have been anointed as the consensus national chairman but the other contestants have refused to accept his nomination.
As a third-term senator and former governor, he has the enormous experience to pilot the affairs of the ruling party.
At 75, some party leaders believe Adamu is too old to be in the race, taking into cognisance the complex nature of the job.
Sani Mohammed Musa
The 54-year-old member of the upper chamber of the National Assembly represents Niger East senatorial district. He has a good relationship with party members. Two governors were said to have recommended him to President Muhammadu Buhari as a consensus candidate. However, he does not have the necessary experience as a party administrator.
At just 37, Mohammed is the youngest of all the aspirants. He is an aide to Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State and a former youth leader of the defunct ANPP. Not much is known about him politically.
For the position of the National Secretary of the party, zoned to the South-west, a former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore has also submitted his nomination form. Omisore was a senator from 2003 to 2011. A former Minister for Communication, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, and an Executive Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr. Ife Oyedele are also in the race but it was not clear if they had submitted their forms as of last night.
A former Minister for Communication, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu is the first person to indicate interest in the office of APC National Secretary. However, Shittu’s aspiration did not garner the support of the APC governors in the South-west. That did not deter him from pursuing his aspiration, leveraging on his goodwill with Buhari’s political allies.
Shittu, a member of the 2005 National Political Reform Conference, has been an ally of Buhari.
Executive Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr. Ife Oyedele, is another aspirant for the office of APC National Secretary. Before he was appointed NDPHC’s executive director in charge of Engineering &Technical Services, little was known about Oyedele. Like Shittu, he has been close to the political family of the president since the time of the defunct CPC.
He was among the key persons that promoted Buhari’s presidential aspiration in 2011. At its formation, Oyedele served on the CPC Constitution Drafting Committee and also represented the party during the alliance talk in 2011 and merger talks that produced the APC in 2013. He also contested the governorship election in Ondo State in 2016 and 2020.
The position of the Deputy National Chairman (North) is being contested by Mr. Sunny Monidafe, and Senator Abubakar Girei, while the National Vice Chairman (South-south) is being contested by Mr. Yekini Nabena, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC.
Mr. Ismaeel Ahmed and Abubakar Fakai are contesting for the post of National Organising Secretary, while Mr. Isaacs Kekemeke and Afeez Bolaji Repete, are jostling for the position of the National Vice Chairman (South-west)
For the position of the National Women Leader, Mary Eta and Hellen Effiong are in the race for the job.
The position of the Zonal Organising Secretary (South-west) is being contested by Mr. Femi Egbedeyi, while Mr. Olusegun Dada and Rinsola Abiola are in the race for the position of the National Youth Leader.
The Deputy National Youth Leader is being contested by Jamal Kabiru, while the Zonal Organising Secretary (North-West) is being contested by Salihu Uba.
Halima Ibrahim is contesting for the position of the Deputy National Women Leader of the APC. This list is however not exhausting as more aspirants were still returning their forms last night.
We Will Provide Adequate Security, Logistics for Convention, Says Lalong
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Venue, Decoration and Site Servicing committee, and Plateau State Governor, Lalong has promised a hitch-free convention.
A statement by Lalong’s director of press, Simon Macham quoted the governor as saying, “We are working closely with the committees on security, protocol, and others to ensure that there is a synergy which will lead to the conduct of a hitch-free exercise.”
Lalong had led members of the committee to Eagle Square Abuja, the venue of the proposed convention to inspect the facility and also interface with the management.
He said the Committee would have started making arrangements at the venue before now, but for the Science and Technology Expo which just ended at the same venue.
Lalong however said he had been meeting and engaging relevant stakeholders to ensure that the plans for the venue and associated services are put in place for the comfort of delegates and officials during the APC convention.
Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Seriki Adinoyi in Jos