The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, survived the plot to remove him from office by some top leaders of the ruling party.
Among APC leaders believed to be the arrow heads of the chess game to unseat the Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) were the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, state governors and National Assembly members loyal to him.
But at the party’s meeting in Abuja yesterday, the NWC received an overwhelming support from the National Executive Committee (NEC), which extended their tenure beyond June 2018, when it is expected to end.
While Tinubu and his loyalists intensified efforts to actualise their push for the conduct of elective congress of the party in June to elect the successor of Odigie-Oyegun and his team, the APC chairman, it was gathered stretched his lobby of party stakeholders to carry the day.
It was learnt that the Presidency joined the tenure elongation fray for Odigie-Oyegun, at the expense of Tinubu, who President Muhammadu Buhari recently appointed to head the APC Reconciliation Committee.
Last week, Tinubu showed his discontent for Odigie-Oyegun when he wrote a letter to President Buhari, accusing the APC chairman of frustrating him over his new assignment.
Political pundits had feared that Tinubu cannot undertake the task because he was part of the APC crisis.
Before yesterday’s meeting, Odigie-Oyegun had secured the endorsement of the party’s state chairmen in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The AUTHORITY learnt that Odigie-Oyegun polled 104 votes as against four to secure an additional one year in office.
The meeting was attended by Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governors Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Sani Bello (Niger), Kashim Shettima (Borno). Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Nasir el- Rufai (Kaduna), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Abdulahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo).
Others were some principal officers of the APC in the National Assembly.
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, were however absent at the meeting.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Governor Yahaya Bello said that the decision to extend the tenure of the NWC was based on Article 113 of the APC’s Constitution, which empowers the NEC to carry out the functions of a convention.
He clarified that NEC decided to extend the tenure of the NWC and other executive committees at various levels for another 12 months, beginning from June 30, 2018.
Bello said: “We are all aware that the tenure of the current NWC and the executive members of this party both elected and appointed comes to an end June this year. Considering the time left for the party to conduct all the congresses and convention and considering that our leader Asiwaju Tinubu has been charged with the responsibility of reconciling all aggrieved members of our party, we cannot afford to approach the general elections with more dispute and crisis.
“So, relying on Article 13 of our constitution, which empowers the NEC to carry out the functions of the convention, the NEC has decided to extend the tenure of the current NWC and other executive committees at various levels for another 12 months, starting from June 30”.
Addressing party members, Buhari, expressed appreciation to the APC leadership in Abuja and the states for their stewardship, and commended the national chairman for effectively steering the affairs of the party since he won the presidential election in 2015.
He added that the APC had won elections in Edo, Kogi and Ondo as well as recording improved performance in the last Anambra State governorship election.
The President equally called on the APC member to support “our security agencies to safe guard the country so that the job of development as outlined in the APC manifesto can proceed without too much interruption.”
He also solicited for their cooperation with the Tinubu reconciliation committee to resolve the crises rocking the APC, ahead of the 2019 elections.
“I am happy to report that slowly and steadily, we have managed to stabilise the country and redirect the ship of state. We have restored prudence to the manager of resources and confidence in Nigeria has been restored.
“On February 23, Nigeria floated a 12-year and 20-year Eurobond in the international market which were both oversubscribed. The 12-year bond was, within days over subscribed by 332 per cent, while the 20-year bond was oversubscribed by 372 per cent.
“We have stabilised the naira and increase our foreign reserve from 20 billion dollars to 40 billion dollars. Inflation rate is down. With considerably less resources available to the country, we have improved all the indices towards a stronger economy,” he said.
Earlier Odigie-Oyegun thanked the President and Vice President, as well as the governors for doing them proud in their respective administrative functions, despite the challenges they encountered.
Odigie-Oyegun noted that the NWC would face challenging battles in the near future, beginning with the governorship election in Ekiti and Osun States in July and September respectively, which he described as the precursor to the 2019 general elections
“I want to make a passionate appeal that everything be done to minimise the stresses within the party. We must do everything to minimise the disputations within the party and do everything to ensure that we are in fighting shape come 2019. For that reason, I want to say once more that we are fully behind the initiative taken by Mr. President in setting up a team headed by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to effect such reconciliation within the party,” he said.