Defunct ACN drafts Akande into BoT race
· Tony Momoh leads ex-CPC bloc to regain party
The struggle for the soul of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a new twist.
State governors elected under its platform have joined some national leaders of the party to plot the fall of its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
At the moment, the fight for Odigie-Oyegun’s seat has been centred on the three major parties that merged to form the APC: the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP).
There are fears that unless the intra-party crisis is well-managed by the APC leadership, it could lead to its collapse before the next general election in 2019.
Both former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, control factions of the party as they prepare for the epic contest for the chairmanship of the APC’s Board of Trustees (BoT).
Party sources disclosed that Tinubu may withdraw from the race for the interim chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi AKande, who has been drafted into it by the ACN bloc in the party.
Similarly, the CPC bloc, which does not want to lose out in the supremacy contest, has mobilised its members under the leadership of former Information Minister, Prince Tony Momoh, to gain control of the APC.
It is against these contending forces that the party leadership postponed the planned inauguration of the Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting earlier billed for March 24. Along this line, the caucus meeting of the party holds today instead of yesterday earlier fixed by the APC hierarchy.
It was also gathered that while the CPC bloc in the merger had intensified efforts to use the opportunity of the party’s internal crisis to reposition itself with an eye on the top hierarchy of the NWC, the defunct ACN has drafted Akande into the BoT chairmanship race to remain relevant.
The decision to draft Akande into the race was aimed at compensating the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, whose ambition is said to have generated a lot of opposition both from APC governors and the top hierarchy of the party.
The new arrangement, if it succeeds, will now rub off the ANPP bloc in the merger as the planned exit of Odigie-Oyegun may mean that the ANPP bloc may have lost out in the distribution of offices in the merger arrangement.
Other members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) have however intensified efforts to retain their positions ahead of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party.
Inside APC sources informed us that while the former governors’ forum has thrown its weight behind Odigie-Oyegun, who is one of their own, a larger number of the serving APC governors have lined up either with Tinubu or Atiku’s camp to ensure that the APC national chairman and his NWC members are removed.
Strong speculations have it that a vote of no confidence might be passed on Odigie-Oyegun at the meehis replacement.
The sources added that the CPC, which is President Muhammadu Buhari’s bloc in the merger that produced the APC, is also repositioning to occupy juicy positions in the envisaged new party hierarchy, having lost to the defunct ACN and the ANPP in the distribution of positions, prior to the 2015 general elections.
An inside source in the forum of former governors revealed that Odigie-Oyegun has however enlisted the support of the caucus of the 1992 governors, led by former governor of Yobe State, Senator Abba Bukar Ibrahim, which met over the weekend with the aim of mobilising other governors to back the embattled APC boss against his predators.
The source stated that they are reaching out to other former governors including the National Leader of APC, Tinubu, to ensure that the vote of no confidence would not be raised against Odigie-Oyegun.
“Also, the team would try to see President Buhari on the issue if responses from other party chieftains are not positive,” the source said.
The forum of former governors is being chaired by former governor of Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, a former member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP%emocratic Party (PDP) and now a member of the APC.
“We have many of our members in the party and outside the party. We have chosen to back Odigie-Oyegun after our meeting because we have seen that some people are only looking for how to control the party at all levels,” he said.
Contrary to the former governor’s position, another dependable source close to the forum of serving APC governors told our correspondent that the governors were tired of Odigie-Oyegun.
The source said: “But you should know that progressives’ governors are the ones plotting Chief Odigie-Oyegun’s fall. He has disappointed them so many times, and that is why many of them don’t visit the National Secretariat of the APC. Some of them have even stopped funding the party and insisting that Odigie-Oyegun must go.”