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APC Convention: Feb. 26 Date Not Feasible

APC Convention: Feb. 26 Date Not Feasible

… As CECPC Mulls March Option

There were fresh fears at the weekend over the possibility to hold  the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the proposed February 26 date following the suggestion from the party’s national leadership that the month of March would be more ideal for the exercise.

The APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) had last week issued a timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the convention, announcing that the activities would start on Monday (today) with the submission of the report by the National Reconciliation Committee.

However, reacting to the February 26 proposed date, a member of the caretaker committee told Daily Sun that CECPC was still exploring other factors, especially the bye-elections fixed on the same date by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in addition to the outstanding Anambra State congresses, to confirm the viability of the February convention date.

The source further argued that the ideal date for the convention would have been March, but expressed the fear that the Caretaker Committee could  come under severe attacks for the change of date. He, however, said the delay in writing to notify INEC has nothing to do with the consideration to shifting the convention till March.

“As far as we are concerned, February 26 is sacrosanct for now until we receive a counter order from major stakeholders. Yes, we have not written to INEC, but we still have until February 5 to do so. We are aware that our failure to stick to the constitutional stipulation will heighten speculation over our readiness to conduct the convention.

“Again, our failure to start the implementation of the timetable and schedule of actions we issued for the convention will be another factor that will fuel speculations. But you have to wait till Monday January 31 when the activities on our timetable will start. All you should understand is that the Caretaker Committee has limited powers because we are taking orders from above. Ours is to implement what has been handed over to us.

“Yes, we take orders from Mr President and the governors forum, but we don’t allow ourselves to be controlled by any other external forces the way they did to the immediate past National Working Committee (NWC).

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“It took the PDP three years to conduct their convention and are still struggling to conduct its zonal convention, why should Nigerians not put pressure on the PDP the way they are doing to the APC. If we have shifted the convention till March, won’t Nigerians still be comfortable with us. We have appraised the situation and suggested that February 26 is not feasible, but many people accused us of all manner of things including the trick to delay the conduct of the exercise. March would have been the most appropriate time for us. We are still looking at many other variables and options.

“Conducting convention is the simplest thing to do, but we have to be clinical about it. Ordinarily, the bye-elections would have affected our convention, but since many Nigerians want us to conduct the convention, we have to, even if INEC has 100 bye-elections. As far as the Caretaker Committee is concerned, the convention will hold as planned unless we receive a counter order from Mr. President, the Governors, and other major stakeholders. The general interest of the party should be paramount,” he said.

The caretaker committee member, who prefered not to disclose his name,  equally reacted to the pending conduct of congresses in Anambra, disclosing that security report was delaying it. “I can tell you that the nomination forms are already on sale. We are just waiting for the security situation to know when we will go there and do something within one, two or three days.”

Meanwhile, INEC has reminded the ruling party that February 5 is the deadline for issuing the commission with the notice of the convention, if it is still holding it on February 26.

National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye and the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the Commission, Rotimi Oyekanmi said  the clash in the date for both the convention and bye-election will pose no challenge.

“What the commission will require to do is to just monitor the convention. I am also very sure the convention will not take place in any of the states we are going to conduct the bye-election. So, even if the date clashes, it will not pose any challenge to the commission conducting its bye-elections,” Okoye said.


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