President Muhammadu Buhari met members of the Progressives Governors Forum (governors of the All Progressives Congress) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Their chairman, Kebbi State’s Gov. Atiku Bagudu, said the president advised that the party should explore the option of consensus while electing its officials at the forthcoming national convention.
He told newsmen that consensus had worked for the APC in the past as many chairmen of the party emerged through that process.
“We have produced a number of national chairmen by consensus.
“Bisi Akande emerged as the pioneer chairman of the APC through consensus, John Oyegun emerged by consensus, Adams Oshiomhole emerged by consensus; the president reminded us of that.
“President Buhari is a believer in consensus as one of the options of producing leaders and he urged us to explore consensus.
“While recognising that many people who have indicated interest are competent, only one person will occupy the office at the end of the day.
“Consensus is part of our Constitution and he urged us to work towards consensus.
“The governors have also been working to ensure that as part of equitable arrangement, zoning and consensus are incorporated.
“We have done that at the lower levels, and even at the national level; it’s almost certain that we will achieve it,’’ Bagudu said.
The forum chairman added that the governors used the opportunity to formally inform the president of the new date of March 26, set aside for the party’s national convention.
“Today, the governors informed Mr President that we have had the briefing from the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Committee and we are supportive of its position,’’ he added.
On the forthcoming APC zonal congresses, Bagudu dismissed insinuations that such arrangement was not in the APC Constitution.
He equally dismissed insinuations that APC governors were divided over the party’s forthcoming national convention.
“The 22 governors of the APC are united. We are in total support of Mr President. We are appreciative of his leadership; we commend him for his leadership.
“We are appreciative of the sacrifice of the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee. And we thank them for successes recorded under it,’’ he said.
Also commenting on the issue of division among the governors over the convention, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State noted that the governors were earlier divided on the issue of date for the convention.
He said, however, that the new date of March 26 brought them all to the same page.
“We were divided over the timing of the convention. Some governors felt we should not have the convention until we have resolved all the congresses issues in some states because in some of the states, these matters are even in court.
“Some governors held the view that we should wait until all these are resolved and that was not borne out of any agenda or selfish interest.
“It was just a realistic position to avoid violating any laws or putting our party structures or elected candidates in jeopardy.
“After our meeting on Monday to deliberate on the proposal by the national caretaker committee and our briefing with the president today, we are all on the same page,’’ he stressed.
He also revealed that the APC had resolved the zoning formula to be used for national offices of the party.
“We have agreed on a zoning formula for all the six geo-political zones and essentially we swapped positions, such that now northern zone will take positions that the southern zone had in the last eight years and vice-versa.
“It is a very simple, equitable and fair formula. We will now go back and consult at the zonal level and look at the positions that are available and the process of preparing for the convention will start in earnest,’’ el-Rufai said.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, who also fielded questions from newsmen, noted that the APC would outlive the tenure of President Buhari and will return to power in 2023.
“As far as we’re concerned and based on assessment, and based on what the Federal Government is doing tremendously, there is every hope that this party, this government will move beyond our president,’’ he said.