The All Progressives Congress held its 5th National Executive Council Meeting on Tuesday at the party’s secretariat in Abuja. President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Speaker Yakubu Dogara were in attendance.
Also present were the chieftains-at-cold-war Bola Tinubu and party chairman John Odigie-Oyegun as well as Governors of APC controlled states including Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) and Kashim Shettima (Borno).
With the 2019 general elections less than 12 months away and under a climate of internal tensions, every meeting of the party at the moment tend to reveal its level of organisation, preparedness for the challenges of the opposition and, most importantly, its life span.
Here are five talking points from the meeting:
Did the All Progressives Congress contravene its constitution by granting a 12-month extension to the tenure of elected and appointed members of its National Working Committee?
The Party’s Governors prevailed on President Buhari to see reasons to extend the tenure of John Odigie-Oyegun and the 36 state chairmen based on Article 13 of the party’s constitution. However, the decision could be at odds with another section of the same constitution which only provides for the renewal of a four-year term by another four years through either an election or appointment.
More disruption for reconciliation?
It had been Bola Tinubu’s wish that the party hold fresh elections to have a new National Working Committee, according to reports. This would have certainly removed Mr Oyegun from his post as chairman, a circumstance Mr Tinubu has craved for the best part of two years now. The Asiwaju’s letter citing Mr Oyegun’s disruption of his presidentially-mandated reconciliatory mission was the open proof of bitter contentment between both men, even if the party chairman’s response was well moderated to show support to Tinubu.
Oyegun will now remain chairman, seeing through the processes leading up to next year’s elections. Will Mr Tinubu still find his chairman a stumbling block to his mission?
Will the Patch hold up after Primaries?
By not holding fresh elections to elect new executive members, the APC has averted a potential split arising from dissatisfied and disgruntled members the type that wrecked the PDP before the 2015 polls. That said, it is not difficult to see the 12-month device to maintain status quo as more than a dress made from a weaving of broomsticks. How long before the wearers beginning to feel poked and the thread snaps?
An election for a new NWC could have inadvertently strengthened third force movements such as the Obasanjo coalition. But even with the patch in place, the fairness or opacity of the coming primaries will play a huge role in the unity of the party next February.
Who knows Saraki’s mind?
The Senate President was not seated at the ‘high table’ with the principal officers of the party at the NEC meeting. He was also not at the hastily concluded plenary session of the upper chamber on Tuesday before APC senators moved to the NEC meeting.
Mr Saraki is something of an enigma in Nigerian politics and following the badly kept secret of his aspiration for the presidency, his presence or absence at party events always draw keen interest. There were no comments on the NEC from his usually informative twitter handle, choosing rather to extol his role in the newly passed bill at the Kwara State House o Assembly which will stop the payment of pensions to former Governors of the state like himself.
Saraki has not reclined from rendering his critical opinions of the Executive since 2015, neither is he Tinubu’s flanking chum. Not many see him as a proper APC man; he belongs to everybody, yet cannot be said to be tied to anybody. What’s his move?