The long awaited Unity List promised by the All Progressives Congress, APC ahead of today’s national convention of the party could not be produced as negotiation reached fever pitch without resolution.
THE WHISTLER monitored the protracted negotiation, which is continuing on the morning of the convention.
While some aspirants, after much pleas, stepped down for President Muhammadu Buhari’s anointed chairmanship candidate, Mr Abdullahi Adamu, others have refused.
Those who have reportedly stepped down are: ex-governor and current senator, Mr Umar Tanko Al-Makura from Nasarawa State; Senator Sani Mohammed Musa and Mohammed Etsu, both from Niger State.
Also, ex-governors George Akume from Benue State and Abdulaziz Yari from Zamfara State, both agreed to stepped down for Adamu after much horse trading.
It was gathered that some governors had to intervene to ensure the convention was not put in jeopardy.
Governor Abudulahi Sule of Nasarawa State had promised on Friday, the eve of the convention, to release a unity list but that has hit the rock.
While the South-south zone had agreed and readied its list, the South-West has not agreed on who becomes the National Vice Chairman of the zone. Former deputy governor of Osun State and ex-senator, Iyiola Omisore, has divided opinion with some kicking against his nomination and want him replaced.
Ifeolu Oyedele is being touted to be Omisore’s replacement, a move being made allegedly by ‘Abuja politicians’, it was gathered.
Up north, the zoning and micro-zoning is quite complicated with negotiations failing on unity list, and pushing the party towards an elective convention.
While the position of Deputy National Chairman (North) was allotted to North-East, attempts are on to move it to the North-West causing fresh crisis in the two zones.
Even within the zones, there were disagreement as to who takes the position. The North-East, which initially got the position failed to agree on who takes the position before the North-West stepped in to make a claim.
It was gathered that the ‘Abuja politicians’ in the presidency preferred Mr Waziri Bulama as the Deputy National Chairman but those in the North-East prefer ex-Senator Abubakar Kyari, after initially listing Mr Ali Bukar Dalori as its preferred choice.
The North-Central has also reportedly handed in its unity list barring last minute intrigues that could force a change, which could further complicate the convention that’s already on knife-edge.
But it’s the bid to arrive at a consensus National Chairman that has threatened the convention more.
Initial report that one of the aspirants for the position of National Chairman, Mallam Saliu Mustapha from Kwara State had agreed to step down, was later denied in a statement signed by the Director-General of his Campaign Organisation, Mr Bala Usman, further casting dark clouds on the prospect of consensus.
The statement read in part, “Our campaign organisation has received several calls from multitudes of party stakeholders, friends and associates regarding the upcoming convention of our party and the decision of Saliu Mustapha as an aspirant, especially in relation to the unravelling issue of a possible consensus arrangement.
“Indeed, we recognise consensus as one of APC’s acceptable leadership selection methods, which is completely legal and constitutional. However, we are convinced that for consensus to abide, it must be all-inclusive and devoid of any vestige of imposition.
“This is why Mallam Saliu Mustapha, together with all the other aspirants, would continue to engage to review the options before them and agree on a common and mutually beneficial decision. Until this is done, nothing has been decided yet.”
Even as delegates have moved into Abuja, the host city of the convention, negotiations have continued to produce the unity list hours before the convention begins.
It was gathered that Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos State), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) are all handling the negotiations to ensure a rancour-free convention by producing the unity list.