There are strong indications that the next National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress will emerge by consensus.
According to Sunday Punch, Highly-placed party sources revealed that the ongoing ward, local government and state congresses were “dress rehearsals” for what would happen in June during the national convention.
A member of the outgoing National Working Committee of the party, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the party had considered the consensus option to produce party executives at all levels.
He said, “We have had a precedence; even our outgoing National Chairman and most of us emerged by consensus. According to our party constitution, it is when the consensus option fails that you go into elections.
“Yes, it is true that Mr. President (Muhammadu Buhari) and the National Executive Committee agreed to grant waivers to those of us who are still interested in seeking reelection, the position of National Chairman is one that, this time around, the incumbent is taking a dignified exit.
“The man loves this party and is prepared to make the sacrifice required to ensure we go into the 2019 elections as one united family.”
Another party official revealed that the incumbent National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had started preparing his handover notes.
“He (Odigie-Oyegun) is just waiting for the report of the congresses in order to complete his handover notes,” the party official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated.
“His decision to keep people guessing about whether or not he will seek reelection is strategic and as things stand, he is stepping aside because even some governors, who wanted him to stay on, have withdrawn (their support) in the interest of the party.”
It was gathered that a former Cross River State Governor, Chief Clement Ebri, who is the only other person who has indicated interest in the position, is to be prevailed upon to step down for a former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
Doubts about where most APC state governors stand on the issue of the party leadership were cleared last Thursday when Oshiomhole made a formal declaration of his bid to contest the top party post.
He remains the only aspirant who has made known his intention to vie for the chairmanship seat.
The Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who was at the event, announced that Oshiomhole’s quest for the party’s top job was “the project of governors.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, confirmed the likelihood of a consensus.
He said, “It (consensus) is likely because the step is the agreement by the National Executive Committee that party positions should remain in the zones they currently are.
“And when a position remains in the zone and states in the zone agree and that the state the position is zoned to picks a candidate, we don’t expect that that position will be keenly contested as it were.
“Like the position of the National Chairman is to remain in the South-South and Edo is currently occupying it, we don’t expect anyone outside there to contest the post, and so on.”
Abdullahi expressed confidence that the party’s national convention would go on smoothly as planned.