The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said there is no way it would choose which geopolitical zone would produce the party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 general election without the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, the governors on its platform and other stakeholders.
The Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party, which made this clarification yesterday, said the same applies to party offices ahead of its convention.
The ruling party made this comment while distancing itself from a zoning arrangement list in circulation, saying it had not deliberated on the issue as it was still occupied with collecting data from the registration and revalidation exercise.
A zoning arrangement for major national elective offices and for positions in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) purportedly released by the party went viral on social media yesterday.
By the list, the presidential ticket is zoned to the South, Vice President – North,; Senate President – South, Deputy Senate President – North, Speaker – North and Deputy Speaker – South.
For the zoning of the National Working Committee, the list showed that the north will produce the national chairman, national secretary – South, national treasurer – South, financial secretary – North, legal officer – North and Welfare Officer – South.
The office of the auditor is zoned to North, national youth leader – South, national oman Leader – South, publicity secretary – South and persons with disability (PWD) leader – South.
In his reaction to the list in circulation, however, secretary of APC’s caretaker committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, said the party leadership had nothing to do with the list and urged party members to disregard it.
He said: “Our people should disregard the list. It is not from the caretaker committee; it is not from the party.”
Akpanudoedehe maintained the party will make extensive consultations before such an arrangement would be arrived at, adding that zoning of offices is yet to be on the table of the caretaker committee.
He said, “As far as I am concerned, the last caretaker committee meeting we had, we did not discuss that. That is not what we are concerned with now. What we are concerned with is data collection; how to collect data without making mistakes.
“Let me say that zoning is not for the caretaker committee alone: it has to do with the president; it has to do with other major stakeholders; it has to do with a lot of people. The list is not from us (caretaker committee). The president is not in town.
“There is no way such a decision will be taken without consulting with the president, consulting with the governors and other major stakeholders.”
He blamed the list in circulation on individuals interested in contesting for one office or the other in the party, insisting that the caretaker committee cannot be pressured into taking wrong decisions.
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President Muhammadu Buhari is likely to return from Britain at the weekend, the information minister has hinted.
President was scheduled to return from his medical vacation in the second week of April.
However, when asked by State House Correspondents the date of the president’s return, the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, said the week had not ended .
He said, “Today is Wednesday; this week finishes on Saturday. So, what’s the big issue in that one”?
According to him, the government was currently more concerned with the issue of the dwindling security bedeviling the country.
On his reaction to the seventh anniversary of the Chibok girls’ abduction, Mohammed maintained that the federal government had democratic concern for the issue of security in the nation as demonstrated through a town hall meeting held in Kaduna less than a week ago.
He said the meeting set a parameter for enhanced security and national unity.
He noted that the meeting, attended by eight ministers and traditional heads among others, was the 18th of such held, to find ways to resolve the nation’s security crisis that had led to incessant abductions of school pupils in the Northeast.
The minister reiterated that among key suggestions at the meeting was the unanimous resolve to increase the size of military personnel, as well as hardware, the need for state police, local government autonomy, and establishment of more grazing areas, among others.
He said the town hall meeting maintained that the call for succession could not be a solution to the nation’s protracted challenges.