Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is holding its elective National Convention today at the Eagle Square in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The convention being the first since its ascendance into power at the centre after a historic displacement of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), is a crucial convention which is expected to usher in new national leaders to run the affairs of party for the next four years in line with its constitution.
It would also determine how organised its house would be going into the 2019 elections, following events of rancorous party congresses nationwide that saw the emergence of parallel state executives in at least 7 states of the federation as well as the threat of the new People’s Democratic Party (nPDP) faction to quit the party over issues of alleged marginalisation and victimisation of it’s leader, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President and some other members.
As the convention gets underway, all eyes are on former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who is the leading contender for the National Chairmanship position, having had the coast clear for his seamless emergence, with the withdrawal from the race of two other contenders to the seat earlier in the week and a bag of endorsements from governors and leaders of the party, including President Muhammadu Buhari.
Abdulmumin Abiola, son of the late MKO Abiola is a top runner for the National Youth Leader position as 6,800 delegates will be electing 45 other candidates into the other 64 other positions.
20 of those positions (including the National chairmanship)however have unopposed candidates.
Some of the National Offices being contested have been zoned as follows:
South South– National Chairman, National Vice Chairman (SS), Deputy National Secretary, Deputy National Legal Adviser and Deputy National Publicity Secretary.
North West- Deputy National Chairman (North), National Vice Chairman (NW), National Treasurer, National Welfare Secretary and Deputy National Organizing Secretary.
South West– Deputy National Chairman (S), National Vice Chairman (SW), National Legal Adviser, National Financial Secretary and Deputy National Youth Leader.
North Central– National Vice Chairman (NC), National Publicity Secretary, National Women Leader, Deputy National Treasurer and Deputy National Welfare Secretary.
South East– National Auditor, National Vice Chairman (SE), National Organizing Secretary, Deputy National Financial Secretary and Deputy National Women Leader.
North East– National Secretary, National Vice Chairman (NE), National Youth Leader and Deputy National Auditor.
As at 2:30pm, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, several ministers, governors, senators, and other top government functionaries from the APC were already at the convention venue, while leaders of the party were seen moving round the stands, greeting delegates, politicking, and canvassing support for their preferred candidates.
The Convention commenced in top speed following the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari and the outgoing chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun and was closely followed with the recognition of dignitaries, opening remarks and welcome address by the Governor of Jigawa State and Chairman of the convention committee, Badaru Mohammed, who said the convention was not only to elect new leaders but for members to fraternize ahead of the general election in 2019.
President Muhammadu Buhari led delegates from Kastina who were the first to vote, as he casted his votes some minutes past 4pm.