Barring any last minute change, 29 of the elective offices up for grab at today’s first elective National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), will be thrown open to aspirants.
It was gathered that conflict of interests among key stakeholders of the party led to the death of the consensus plan aimed at ensuring an easy and rancour-free election.
After series of consultations failed to secure endorsement for a consensus list of aspirants yesterday, the party asked each zone to go and draw up its own unity list which will be harmonised at the convention venue.
However, the immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, was confirmed for the chairmanship position, following the withdrawal of his opponents – Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, Clement Ebri and Chief Ibrahim Emokpaire.
As a result of the failed “unity list”, about 160 aspirants will slug it out for 29 seats in the National Working Committee while aspirants for the 21 NWC positions will be returned unopposed.
Three aspirants will contest for the position of National Secretary. They are the incumbent, Mai Mala Buni, Kashim Imam, Waziri Bulama and Abdulrahaman Terab.
Out of the about 160 aspirants, 17 are from the South-east alone and they are contesting for the three NWC positions of National Vice Chairman, National Organising Secretary and National Auditor.
The aspirants for the Organising Secretary’s position include the incumbent, Osita Izunaso (South-east caucus); Emma Ibediro (Governor Okorocha’s candidate); Chidi Nwogu (from Okadigbo Rainbow Coalition), Longinus Anyanwu (from anti-Okorocha’s group).
For the National Publicity Secretary’s position, the incumbent, Bolaji Abdulahi will battle Lanre Issa Onilu and Abu Sidik Meseko.
Contestants for the National Woman Leader’s position are the incumbent, Ramatu Aliyu and Salmatu Bawa.
Meanwhile, Abuja is agog with about 6,800 delegates and thousands of other dignitaries, party men and women, camped in various hotels across the city.
Security was also very tight yesterday at the Eagle Square, venue of the convention, with the police and DSS personnel doing last minute checks.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has ordered the deployment of 5,000 personnel, two helicopters and six Armoured Personnel Carriers to maintain security in today’s All Progressives Congress (APC) National Convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), Moshood Jimoh, said in a statement yesterday, that the IGP has directed the implementation of a robust security arrangement to ensure a secure and hitch-free convention.
He said: “A total number of 5,000 Police personnel, comprising the Police Mobile Force (PMF), the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Protection Unit (SPU), the Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD), the Police Mounted Troop, The Dog Section (K9), the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), the Police Air-wing and the Force Armament Unit, have been deployed under the supervision of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations, to ensure adequate security for all the accredited participants at the convention.
“In addition, two Police helicopters, Six Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) are already deployed for the security of the convention. Personnel of other security and safety agencies are also being deployed to complement the Nigeria Police Force in ensuring adequate security and a hitch-free convention.”
Against this backdrop, he said there would be diversion of traffic from all the routes to the Eagle Square from Ahmadu Bello Way, Shehu Shagari Way and other Roads leading to the venue of the convention.
“Road users and other members of the public are advised to use alternative routes. The diversion of traffic will take effect from 2200Hrs of 22nd of June, 2018 till the end of the convention,” he said.
Meanwhile, four chairmen of the APC from the South-east zone have warned President Muhammadu Buhari to disassociate himself from the purported “unity list” in circulation, threatening that his re-election bid will be at the stake in the region if he backs the list.
Addressing journalists at the APC national secretariat yesterday, four out five state chairmen from the South-east cautioned that any attempt to ignore the earlier endorsement of the outgoing national officers for re-election would be an aberration on their part.
The state chairmen included Chief Ben Nwoye of Enugu, Eze Nwachukwu Eze of Ebonyi, Donatus Nwankpa of Abia and Emeka Obasi of Anambra.