FORMER Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje and former Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Ajibola Basiru, yesterday, emerged as the national chairman and secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
They were so ratified at a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party attended by President Bola Tinubu and other top leaders of the party, in Abuja.
On a day that Ganduje assured that running the APC would no longer be business as usual with the party appointing an external auditor to probe its finances, there was discontent over the NEC’s appointment of a same-faith National Chairman and National Secretary.
Some chieftains of the party described the action as “terribly insensitive.”
Wednesday’s night meeting of the National Caucus of the party had recommended Ganduje for the office of national chairman, and spokesperson of the 9th Senate, Ajibola Basiru, as national secretary.
Their nominations followed the recent forced resignation of the erstwhile National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Two officials of the party who spoke to Vanguard, off record, said while the development could not be immediately reversed, it must be on record that the APC has now yielded itself to a particular religion.
“We know what we went through with the Tinubu/Shettima Muslim-Muslim ticket. As if that was not enough, we were on the verge of producing a Muslim Senate President until many of us protested. That said, we still have a Muslim Speaker.
“We did not force Adamu out only to be replaced by another Muslim. If you read former National Vice Chairman, North-West, Salihu Moh. Lukman’s statements, one of his consistent demands were that Adamu should be replaced with a Christian from the North-Central. Now, you did not do that but went ahead to even distort the zoning formula by taking that office to the North-West. And to add salt to injury, the new national secretary is also a Muslim. These are the two main people, who run the party. There should be religious sensitivity,” the official said.
At its 12th meeting in Abuja, yesterday, the APC NEC mandated the National Working Committee, NWC, to consult with all relevant stakeholders, evolve an acceptable zoning formula and fill other vacant positions within its fold.
Some of the vacancies the NWC was mandated to fill include Deputy National Chairman, North; National Woman Leader; and National Legal Adviser. The office of the National Vice Chairman, North-West, was not listed as Vanguard had earlier reported that the NWC was yet to accept the resignation of Lukman.
Vanguard gathered that the National Legal Adviser of the party, Ahmed El-Marzuk had resigned from the party’s NWC earlier in the week but kept his resignation under wraps.
It was learned that he resigned following insistence by some of his colleagues that he could no longer be in office due to some grave allegations against him which had prompted his interrogation by one of the anti-graft agencies.
However, a man who identified himself as “Special Adviser to the National Legal Adviser,” AbdulHalim Adamu, in a statement, said his principal resigned to allow for the ongoing “reconfiguration of party offices for national cohesion and adequate regional representation.”
How Ganduje, Ajibola emerged
Senate President Godswill Akpabio had at the commencement of the meeting moved a motion for an amendment of the agenda to empower the NWC to make realignments and take care of some vacancies but it was roundly rejected with shouts of “No! No!”
However, Imo State Governor and Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Senator Hope Uzodimma, calmed frayed nerves and then seconded Akpabio’s motion to the effect that NEC should only fill the chairmanship and secretary positions, while leaving the rest for the NWC.
Tinubu, Shettima, other leaders at the meeting
Aside President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, some of those who attended the meeting were pioneer National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator George Akume; Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila; Senator Ahmad Lawan; Senator Aliyu Wamakko; Dr Abdullahi Ganduje; Senators Jibrin Barau, Adams Oshiomhole, Ali Ndume and Opeyemi Bamidele.
Governors at the event were Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Uzodimma (Imo), Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Umara Zulum (Borno), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Uba Sani (Kaduna), Hyacinth Alia (Benue), Lucky Ayedatiwa (Ondo Acting Governor), Umar Bago (Niger), Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Deputy Governors of Nasarawa and Ebonyi.
Why Buhari didn’t attend APC caucus, NEC meetings – GARBA SHEHU
However, immediate past President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, retd, was not at the caucus meeting of Wednesday and NEC parley of yesterday. Mallam Garba Shehu, ex-spokesperson to former President Buhari, in a statement, said Buhari was unable to attend the meetings due to earlier commitments.
He added that the former president apologised for his absence and expressed his support and commitment to the party.