The indefinite tenure extension granted the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has further polarised the camp of the progressives ahead of the 2023 general elections, Daily Independent has gathered.
The Caretaker Committee, which was inaugurated on June 25, 2020, for six months after dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC), had its tenure extended for another six months in December, 2020 by an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
However, the indefinite extension was reached a fortnight ago after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and the 13-member Caretaker Committee at the Presidential Villa in Abuja where the CECPC chairman presented a summary of the committee’s progress report.
While the party released the formal timetable for congresses from ward level to the state level, it failed to announce date for the national convention, a situation which means that the committee, led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State will continue in office indefinitely.
A statement by the Secretary of the Caretaker Committee in Abuja on Friday evening said: “President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday approved the review of the timelines available to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
“The president granted the approval after detailed consideration of the progress report, the schedule of outstanding activities with regards to congresses, the national convention and the forthcoming Anambra governorship election.
“The president also approved the timetable for APC ward, local government and state congresses. Ward congresses will hold 24th July, 2021 followed by local government congresses on 14th August, 2021 and state congresses on 18th September, 2021.”
Speaking to Daily Independent on Wednesday, a serving minister in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, who is a key loyalist of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s national leader, said they (the ACN bloc in APC) are not happy with the indefinite extension granted to the Buni-led committee.
He, however, said they have chosen to remain silent and bid their time so as not to aggravate the already pent-up tension in the party.
He said, “Within the Buni-led camp, Asiwaju’s loyalists are present but they are in the minority. Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun is also a member of the Caretaker Committee. Will Oyetola work against Asiwaju’s interest? Of course, no! They are there monitoring the situation, strategising and giving Asiwaju feedback.
“You may be extending the tenure of the caretaker committee now, but a time will come that the extension will not work again and you have to do the national convention to elect substantive executives of the party”.
Speaking further, the minister said, “Whether you like it or not, the Caretaker Committee cannot be there forever, according to the law of the party and the constitution of the country. Whether they like it or not, they must leave.
“So, they may be wasting their energy on indefinite extension but they must still come to convention. So, we are planning and preparing for convention without making noise.
“The reality is that we are not happy but we don’t want to be seen as rocking the boat. We are just bidding our time. We are planning our own strategy too so that the effect will not be monumental on us.
“This is a party we built from scratch and worked for. At this stage, we cannot allow anything to damage the platform just because of the behaviour of some people who are inconsiderate and power hungry.”
On why Tinubu has not said anything about the issue, the minister said the former Lagos State governor doesn’t want to engage in public altercation with the president or party leadership as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will latch on to it to gain undue advantage.
“You (Tinubu) cannot fight Obasanjo, fight Jonathan and then come around be fighting your own president who belongs to your party.
“But Asiwaju is a superior politician. He knows the game. When it is time for him to act, he will do so but in acting, he won’t want anything that will damage the party. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The fact that you are oppressing him and he is keeping quiet is not because he is daft but he will wait till the appropriate time. It is a matter of strategy”.
Also speaking with Daily Independent, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), said it is worrisome that the Buni-led caretaker committee that was given just six months to manage the party’s affairs and conduct an election has remained in office for more than a year.
According to him, indefinite extension for the Buni-led committee is not good for the health of the party.
“The whole thing about that Caretaker Committee, I don’t really know. I don’t know why they keep extending the tenure. They were there to do a convention. More than a year after that convention has not come to pass.
“They were given six months initially but now I’m hearing they are to be there indefinitely. Honestly, a body that is not elected, I don’t think that is very good for the health of the party. I don’t think it is the best for the party”.