President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday waded into the leadership crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The President summoned a national caucus meeting at the Presidential Villa yesterday night to discuss the crisis and other raging issues in the party.
The meeting, which started at about 8:25pm, was chaired by President Buhari with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and his deputy, Yusuf Lasun.
The Senate President Bukola Saraki and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar came 20 minutes after the meeting had started with Saraki arriving a minute after Atiku.
Others in attendance were the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; several serving and former state governors and some past and present ministers.
The meeting was also attended by the APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his estranged successor, Umar Ganduje; APC Vice Chairman, Chief Segun Oni, former Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako; Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi, Senator George Akume, among others.
The agenda of the meeting was not made public but the party hierarchy has been enmeshed in subtle wrangling over the continued stay in office of Odigie-Oyegun.
The three parties that merged into the ruling party had returned to their old cleavages to gain control of the party.
The inconclusive legislative rerun elections in Rivers State and the faceoff between Ganduje and Kwankwaso may feature at the parley.
The meeting was still on as at the time of going to press.
Earlier yesterday, the APC National Working Committee (NWC) had warned members of the party not to undermine the authority of the Kano state governor, Abdulahi Umar Ganduje, noting that the APC cannot afford a crisis in the state.
Odigie- Oyegun gave the warning when he addressed APC stakeholders from Kano State who petitioned the national office against the role of Kwankwaso in the crisis.
He appealed to all the factions to ensure that the status quo ante remained in the state, adding that the governor needs the loyalty of all stakeholders, irrespective of their positions.
The state chapter of the APC has been rocked by a leadership tussle between Ganduje and Kwankwaso, leading to the suspension of the state chairman of the party as well as other members loyal to the former governor.
Odigie-Oyegun, who warned that the greatest disservice the party would do to itself is to start having internal crisis, especially in a critical state like Kano, disclosed that the NWC had inaugurated a three- man committee headed by the deputy national chairman for the North to look into the matter.
He said: “We have raised a team that is working to restore unity among the two personalities involved. So, the party has a team of three members already actively engaged and that team is led by a deputy national chairman, the national secretary and the national organizing secretary. I am also aware that the governors have also waded into the matter. Also, I know that most traditional rulers in Kano state have also waded into the issue.
“It is a situation that we must not as a party allow to blossom. We must nip it in the bud because it is the most unnecessary distraction causing problems in a state as sensitive as Kano. So it is in all our interests to ensure that there would be no problem between two of our national interests in Kano. We must make sure that it does not go any further; it is an internal matter between two brothers.
“And the solution is very much clear that we must restore the status quo and operate within the party’s constitution for peace to return to the state. So all our efforts are geared towards that and I want to appeal to you to ensure that the situation ante is maintained.
“The governor in not in any contest, his authority must be upheld, there is no doubt about that. The governor is not on trial, so it is important that we give him the atmosphere that would be necessary for him to cover successfully especially in this period when the country is facing the financial challenges that is no cause of theirs. You must all key in behind the governor to make sure that he succeeds. So, none of us must do anything to undermine him to worsen the situation in Kano” he said.