Some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, have papered over agitations regarding the party’s zoning arrangement ahead of the 2023 general elections, saying the party has bigger issues to focus on rather than on who becomes the president in 2023.
The resolution was reached on Friday, November 27, 2020, after a meeting of the Forum of APC State Chairmen and members of the National Executive Committee NEC who are not part of the National Working Committee NWC, the non-NWC NEC Forum.
Some politicians have been clamouring for power shift to the Southeast, while only few days ago, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola counselled the political class to honour any agreement they may have reached on zoning.
“Political parties are clubs where you write agreements just like the social clubs and you can decide that it is the youngest person who will be the chairman of the club or party or that the oldest person or woman should lead. That is a matter of agreement among people. But the constitution that sets up the requirements of political party formation does not prescribe zoning.
“So, if people made an agreement, as a matter of honour, they should keep to the terms of their agreement, whether it is written or verbal. The truth is that what makes an agreement efficacious is the honour with which it is made, not whether it is written or verbal. If it was right there would be no court cases on breach of contract because it is all the documents, the written and signed agreements that always go to court. But the private agreement you make with your brother or sister and you deal with it, there is no dispute, it is the honour”, Fashola had said.
However, addressing journalists after the meeting, immediate-past National Vice Chairman North East of the party who doubles as Patron of State Chairmen of APC and NON-NWC NEC members of the APC, Comrade Mustapha Salihu said the occasion was mainly to deliberate on the affairs of the party. Asked about whether the discussions were centred on permutations regarding the 2023 elections, Salihu said; “There is nothing about 2023. We are talking about governance now. People should understand that there is time for governance, there is time for politics. When you start talking about 2023 now, I don’t think we are fair to Nigerians who gave us this mandate.
“It is proper for us now to talk about how we are going to deliver dividends of democracy, how we are going to deliver on the mandate given to us by Nigerians before we begin to talk about 2023. From now to 2023 is a lifetime. Only God knows how many of us will even reach 2023 but we know that we have the mandate of Nigerians to deliver dividends of democracy and that is what we are talking about. We have bigger issues to talk about rather than 2023.
“What we are saying is that we should, first of all, have a platform, a viable one that will be able to push the manifesto of this party. We are able to ensure that we now invoke Article 7 of our Constitution to ensure that everybody elected or appointed is discharging his duties in accordance with the manifesto and the constitution of our party. This is what we are worried about and also to see that there is no room for rumour, there is no lacuna, there is no communication gap between ranks and files of the party. Because of that, we have agreed that this joint forum will be meeting with the forum of Governors and other arms of executive and legislature at least quarterly”.
Salihu also stated that the meeting had in attendance a member of the Caretaker Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee Professor Tahir Mamman, SAN, and three governors who he did not name. On tenure elongation for the Caretaker Committee, Salihu said; “I do not know what you are about tenure elongation. In the first place, the Caretaker Committee does not have tenure, they only have timeline to actualize the mandate given to them.
They don’t have tenure because they were not voted for. Tenure, as defined by our constitution, is when you are being voted for, for four years but these ones were appointed to actualize certain goals and these goals have not been actualized yet, they are in the process so the timeline will continue until these deliverables are being actualized. If there is need for extension to actualize these goals they will get extension from the National Executive Council NEC and they will continue until they actualize this.