President Muhammadu Buhari has approved February 2022 for the conduct of the national convention of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
This followed a meeting he had with some of the governors of the party led by the chairman of APC national caretaker committee and Yobe state governor, Mai Mala Buni.
With him were his Kebbi and Jigawa states counterparts, Atiku Bagudu who is the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and Abubakar Badaru, respectively.
Speaking to correspondents after the meeting which took place in the president’s office at the presidential villa, Abuja, Bagudu affirmed that the meeting was to convey the decision of Sunday night meeting of the Progressive Governors Forum to the president.
He said the governor resolved that the convention should hold in February and suggested that the president should approve the date.
Bagudu informed that President Buhari has approved, noting that the national caretaker committee will not work out the details.
Asked whether a specific date had been suggested to the president in February, Buni said not yet as he noted that a timetable had to be worked out while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will also be notified.
Asked about the meeting with the president, Bagudu stated: “Yesterday, November 21, the Progressive Governors Forum met and as some of you may have seen in press reports, I spoke after the meeting, where, in addition to congratulating and thanking the caretaker committee for a wonderful job of their leadership of the party, and thanked, Mr President, for supporting them to deliver on their mandate.
“I also explained that the Progressive Governors Forum, discussed the issue of the national convention of the party and they mandated us to come and discuss with the President, as party leader, to give the inputs of the governors so that the party and the President will consider in agreeing on a date for the national convention.
“And yesterday, part of the inputs we got was that we still have four states, which are in the process of completing their Congresses; Anambra, understandably, because of the election, Zamfara and two others that because of logistic challenges are yet to complete, and then Christmas is around the corner, and then early January will be very busy with Ekiti.
“So, the governors, based on all that, made an input that we think the party and the President might graciously consider February and President is favourably disposed and I’m sure the party because the chair of the caretaker committee was part of the delegation, he heard that and I’m sure they will conclude between him and the President.
“But we have made the input of the governors known. It was favourably considered by Mr. President.”
On whether the February date will be acceptable to other stakeholders of the APC Buni on his part, said: “Of course, we have to consult widely and part of the reasons why even the governors met yesterday, 20 of the 22 governors attended. So, it is in consultation to that effect. So, it is a well consulted, well thought out plan.”
He explained that a specific date had not been chosen in February because of congresses that had not been completed in some states.
“Well, we’ll let you know, you know, we have to work on a timetable. So, which of course has to be we have to communicate to INE, we have to also communicate it to our various state chapters for them to be ready for the convention.
On what should be the expectation of Nigerians, Governor Buni stated: “Well, they will expect more unity and progress. Like the PGF chairman (Baguio) said, they have suggested to the party and Mr President has concurred. So, we are going ahead to plan for the convention in February.”
Buni also rejected assertions that he is interested in extending his tenure as the APC national caretaker committee chairman, noting that he is not jobless.
He said: “How? Am I a jobless person, who is always trying to extend his tenure? To do what? I have my primary responsibility as a governor to go back to my state and carry out my primary responsibility.
“What I’m here to do is ad-hoc, and of course, to reposition the party, and that is exactly what we’re able to achieve.”