APC congresses: Why reconciliation may fail ahead national convention – Concerned stakeholders

Governor Mai Buni receiving the decampees

Concerned Stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have described as embarrassing, the wave of crisis trailing Saturday’s conduct of state congresses of the party, asking the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to ensure there is rectitude in party administration before any reconciliation of aggrieved forces.

They said despite feeble attempts at troubleshooting by the Sen. Abdullahi Adamu-led Reconciliation Committee, there can be no genuine reconciliation without rectitude.

Convener of the stakeholders, Abubakar Usman in a statement Thursday in Abuja, said it was time the ruling party renewed itself.

“While we acknowledge the steps taken by the party leadership with the constitution of a National Reconciliation Committee, it is our belief that reconciliation without rectitude cannot lead us anywhere.

“To have a cohesive and united party which is ready and prepared to take on the challenges ahead of us, especially as we approach 2023; there is the urgent need to embrace progressive behaviour which accords significance to all party members, irrespective of status.

“In any case, majority of party members are yet unaware of when the National Reconciliation Committee which was just inaugurated less than two weeks ago will conclude its assignment in readiness for the national convention. As things stand, the party still have to receive the NRC report, implement recommendations, hold NWC meeting, and then decide on the date for the convention. We are acting like we have all the time in the world when in actual fact we should be running a marathon judging by the enormity of issues and challenges before the party.

“But no matter what we do and no matter how long it take us to have the convention, what is clear is that we as party stakeholders would not accept the sort of charade and the backhand dealings that characterised the congresses at the grassroots. We’ll not sit back and watch a small clique do as they like with the party we all built with our sweat”, the stakeholders noted.

They recalled how they had on October 6 warned that the experiences of the Wards and Local Government Congresses held across the country could just be trouble in the days ahead for the APC if same applies to the rest of the processes that will culminate at the National Convention.

“We were very clear on the threat that a micromanaged process poses to the stability of the APC as a party, and we advocated for open contestations in the face of the glaring abuse of the consensus option as a democratic means of electing party leadership. 

“We make bold to say today that the realities that emanated from our State Congresses across the country have justified our concerns and proven that the fears we have about the future of this party are potent. 

“From Kano to Kwara, from Osun to Ogun, from Lagos to Sokoto, and a couple of other states, Nigerians were treated to embarrassing spectacles of multiple congresses by members of the party who simply wanted to exercise their rights. Even in Akwa-Ibom, the home state of the Secretary of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, who was quick to issue a statement celebrating this fiasco as the true reflection of internal democracy in a progressive party such as ours, more than one congress held. 

“To make matters worse, he said in his statement last Sunday that the congresses held across the country were conducted in compliance with ‘the charge by the leader of our great party, President Muhammadu Buhari that the party be returned to the people.’ If indeed this was the case, it would almost be impossible to record the sort of congresses we had across the country.

“While a few states conducted the congresses with a semblance of the true letters and spirit of consensus, which they must be commended for, in many other States, the congresses were mere gatherings to confer some sort of legitimacy on already prepared list of party executives without the involvement and acceptance of other stakeholders from those states. Where attempts were made at all to arrive at consensus, it was largely within the camp of those who calls the shots”, he stated.

Usman said while they are not unaware of the bickerings that usually accompanies contest for political power, especially for a ruling party like the APC, more than half of those bickerings are as a result of the many incidences recorded in the build up to the various congresses. 

“While we condemn the resort to self help by the conduct of parallel congresses, the leadership of the APC should reflect on the fact that sometimes, when you are pushed to the wall, you take certain actions unexpected of you. This is why we have always appealed that the APC should return to its core ideals of inclusion and mass participation which were the hallmarks of its very foundation”, he stated.

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