The national caucus of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) met last night at the presidential villa.
The caucus comprises of party leaders across the country who may or may not belong to the National Executive Committee (NEC). The NEC meeting holds today.
Among those who attended the caucus meeting were Pres. Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, party chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, Bola Tinubu, Bisi Akande, Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, and the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
Others include: Former Senate President Ken Nnamani, Former Speaker Patricia Etteh, Former Deputy Speaker Chibudum Nwuche, Governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Sani Bello (Niger), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Bindo Jibrila (Adamawa), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Aminu Maisari (Katsina), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa) Kashim Shettima (Borno), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo).
Ministers: Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment), Rotimi Ameachi (Transportation), Lai Mohammed (Information) Udoma Udo Udoma (Budget and Planning). Others in attendance: former Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Segun Oshoba (Ogun), Segun Oni (Ekiti), Niyi Adebayo (Ondo), Jim Nwabodo (old Anambra State), Martins Elechi (Ebonyi), Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara), Timipreye Silva (Bayelsa), Joshua Dariye (Plateau) and former Military Administrator Buba Marwa.
The caucus meeting has set the tone for today’s all-important NEC meeting, the first since March 2016.
Here are the three things we would be looking out for from today’s meeting:
1. Convention: To hold or not to hold:
The last APC convention held in 2014, contrary to the party’s constitution which provides that “The National Convention of the Party shall be held once in two (2) years.” The convention is supposed to ratify amendments to the party’s constitution as reviewed by the Muiz Banire-led Constitution Review Committee, but the APC leadership has been unable to put its house in order to hold it.
The APC national publicity secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, was quoted last week to have said that the convention may not hold until the first quarter of next year. However, he issued a clarification later saying: “the date of the convention can only be determined by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party which will meet on the 31st of this month. At no time did I make the statement which the journalists attributed to me to validate the purported postponement of the convention.”
2. Oyegun: To survive or not to survive:
The national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun has been criticised several times for his leadership, including by senior party chieftains like Bola Tinubu (who accused him of fraud and called for his resignation) and Bukola Saraki (who said the party is drifting under Oyegun’s leadership and members are not happy). There are reports that some governors are working behind the scenes to have Oyegun removed, with former Edo Gov. Adams Oshiomhole being touted as a possible successor.
On Monday, some youths protested at the party’s headquarters calling for the chairman’s resignation. “If Odigie-Oyegun is not removed within the next one month, the APC youths will picket this national secretariat and make it a no-go area to everybody; both staff, the officials and even the security staff will be chased out of the secretariat and none of them will be allowed to come in here,” the leader of the protesters, Peter Oyewole said.
We would be watching to see if any pronouncement is made – for good or bad – on Oyegun’s stewardship at the NEC meeting.
3. Buhari: To be endorsed or not:
The signs are there that Pres. Buhari is interested in a second term. His inner circle have been making moves in recent weeks to rev up the wheels of his political machine. There were reports that Pres. Buhari is seeking a vote of confidence from the party’s NEC, especially in light of some comments from leaders like former chairman Bisi Akande, who said any interested person can run against the President.
We would be watching to see if the NEC makes any pronouncement on a second term for Buhari – like giving him a right of first refusal for the ticket or just passing a vote of confidence in him.