Share this story:

ByFestus Owete

With the emergence of Abdullahi Adamu and Iyiola Omisore as the national chairman and national secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), respectively, former chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have effectively taken over the affairs of the ruling party.

Messrs Adamu and Omisore emerged leaders of the APC at the party’s nation convention on Saturday.

Other former key members of the PDP – former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were not lucky.

While Mr Nnamani sought the position of Deputy National Chairman (South), Mr Dogara eyed that of Deputy National Chairman (North). They withdrew from the race.

APC is the product of the merger of some opposition parties in Nigeria while PDP was in power.

On February 6, 2013, the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) and a section of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) announced their decision to merge into a single party.

The major aim of the merger was to oust the PDP from power at the centre during the 2015 elections. At the time, the PDP had ruled for 14 years.

The positions of national chairman and national secretary are two key positions in the national working committee of the APC.

Article 14.1 (i) of the APC Constitution says the National Chairman shall “be the chief executive, accounting officer and shall preside over the meetings of the National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee.”

According to Section 14.3 (i), the National Secretary shall, “Supervise the day-to-day activities at the National Secretariat under the general direction of the National Chairman.”

Mr Adamu emerged as the new APC chairman unopposed.

Abdullahi Adamu, New APC National CHairman
Abdullahi Adamu, New APC National Chairman
Being the preferred candidate of President Muhammadu Buhari for the position, the new chairman emerged by consensus after the other contenders stepped down for him.

The six aspirants that stepped down are a former governor of Nasarawa State and serving senator, Tanko Al-Makura; Special Duties Minister and former Benue governor, George Akume; Niger East Senator, Sani Musa; Saliu Mustapha from Kwara State; a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; and an aide to the Niger State governor, Mohammed Etsu.

The aspirants, in a letter to the Chairman of the Election Sub-committee, signed on their behalf by Mr Akume, said they had adopted Mr Adamu as the consensus candidate.

Mr Adamu was the governor of Nasarawa State on PDP’s ticket for eight years between 1999 and 2007.

While in the PDP, Mr Adamu also served as the first Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF). He was close to the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, and allegedly worked for the former president’s third term bid.

After his tenure, he got elected to the Senate in 2007 to represent Nasarawa West on PDP’s ticket.

On January 29, 2014, Mr Adamu alongside 10 other PDP senators, defected to the APC.

The senators then were Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central), Shaba Lafiagi (Kwara North), Mohammed Ndume (Borno South), Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Magnus Abe (Rivers South East) and Wilson Ake (Rivers West).

Others were Mohammed Jubrilla (Adamawa North), Abdullahi Gobir (Sokoto East) and Aisha Al-Hassan (Taraba North).

Mr Omisore was first deputy governor of Osun State under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) administration of Bisi Akande between 1999 and 2003.

He thereafter crossed to the PDP under which he served as a senator between 2003 and 2011.

While a member of the upper legislative chamber, representing Osun East Senatorial District, Mr Omisore, an engineer, served as the chairman of the Appropriation Committee.


Mr Omisore was first deputy governor of Osun State under the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Mr Omisore was first deputy governor of Osun State under the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Mr Omisore joined the APC in February 2021 from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) under which he contested the 2018 Osun governorship election on the platform.

Some say his emergence as secretary was a compensation for his role in the election of Governor Gboyega Oyetola during the September 2018 governorship rerun in Osun State.

A high-powered APC delegation led by Governor Kayode Fayemi had met with Mr Omisore, who came third in the election, to support the APC in the rerun.

A delegation of the PDP led by Mr Saraki also visited him to convince him to support Ademola Adeleke who was the candidate of the party.

Mr Omisore subsequently worked for the APC. He was said to have been promised the senatorial ticket for the Osun East but it never worked out.

He emerged the new national secretary following the withdrawal of the other three contenders for the position, namely Adebayo Shittu, a former Communication Minister, Olaiya Olaitan and Ifeoluwa Oyedele, all from the South-west.

Mr Nnamani could not pull off his quest to become the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the APC. He withdrew for Emmanuel Okechukwu Joseph.

Mr Nnamani was elected into the Senate in 2003 to represent Enugu East on PDP’s platform. He became the Senate President in 2005 after the exit of Adolphus Wabara.

Mr Nnamani joined the APC on January 22, 2017. He justified his action this way:

“I do not believe I should continue to be a member of the PDP as it is defined today. This is certainly not the party I joined years ago to help change my country,” he said.

Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.
Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.
Before he formally joined APC, the former Senate President had bagged an appointment from the federal government.

In October 2016, he was appointed the chairman of the Constitutional and Electoral Reforms Committee set up by the federal government.

The committee was asked to “Review Electoral environment, laws and experiences from recent elections conducted in Nigeria and make Recommendations to strengthen and achieve the conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria.”

On June 25, 2020, Mr Nnamani was appointed a member of the 12-member Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC to represent the South-east zone.

The committee was given the task of running the party after the exit of the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC and organise a national convention. The committee was given six months to organise the convention and hand over to substantive officers of the party but it could not do so until March 26.

Yakubu Dogara, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, is another former PDP member who wanted to become a national official of the APC.

He had sought to occupy the Deputy National Chairman (North) but stepped down on the day of the convention.

Abubakar Kyari, a former senator, finally emerged the consensus candidate of the party after Mr Dogara, Abubakar Girei, Sunny Moniedafe and Faruk Aliyu failed to clinch the position.

Former Speaker of the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara.
Former Speaker of the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara.
Mr Dogara was a member of the House to represent Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency of Bauchi State from 2007 on PDP’s ticket before assuming the position of Speaker on the platform of the APC.

In December 2013, the former Speaker, alongside 36 other members of the House, dumped the PDP for the APC.

In 2015, he became the Speaker against the wishes of the APC which had endorsed Femi Gbajabiamila from Lagos State.

He returned to the PDP in 2018 but by July 2020, he had rejoined the APC