2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Former Governors Ganduje, Oyetola tipped to become new APC National Chairman, Secretary respectively
Save for unforeseen circumstances or last minute change of permutations, the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), guided by President Bola Tinubu, may settle for former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, as its substantive national chairman.
Although the preferred candidate for the office of national secretary was not clear yet, a former governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, was said to have been pencilled in for the position. Though, Oyetola was believed not to be particularly keen because of his ambition to return to office as governor of Osun State.
Those were some of the highpoints of the meetings held on Wednesday by Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and some APC governors.
Also on Wednesday, APC governors, under the umbrella of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), expressed support for the resignation of former National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, saying, however, they both served the party well.
Tinubu and Shettima had met with President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and some governors on Wednesday on the state of play.
The meeting, which held in the office of the president at State House, Abuja, was attended by some governors, including Senator Hope Uzodinma (Imo), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun). It was part of the president’s ongoing consultation with key players on how to get the economy on sound footing.
Curiously, Ganduje was at the meeting. Initially, his presence could not be explained.
But THISDAY was reliably informed that Ganduje’s presence at the meeting was not unconnected with the leadership succession in the party triggered by the resignation of Adamu and Omisore.
“He is the chosen one to replace Adamu,” a source told THISDAY Wednesday night regarding Ganduje. “It was not an easy decision for the president, as some governors had to persuade him to accept Ganduje, who they argued had demonstrated loyalty to the president well before the primary and during the campaign,” the source added.
Shettima and the three governors, thereafter, moved to the vice president’s wing of the State House for another round of meeting at the conference room, where they were later joined by Governor Umar Bago of Niger State.
Although, APC Deputy National Chairman (North), Abubakar Kyari, had since taken over as acting national chairman, the search for a substantive national chairman had commenced almost immediately after Adamu was pushed out on the orders of the president.
Two names were initially in consideration for the job, and they were former Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, and erstwhile Nasarawa State governor, Umar Tanko Al-Makura.
But while Lalong was allegedly ticked off the list on account of his closeness to former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, who is technically out of the equation, Al-Makura was Adamu’s main challenger in the previous contest, which prompted suggestions to leave that past behind.
These extrapolations were believed to have given rise to the choice of Ganduje, whose candidature was not only mooted, but also said to have been sold to other stakeholders as the president’s choice for the office of national chairman.
THISDAY sources hinted that except something beyond the comprehension of the current power bloc happened, the Ganduje idea had already been sold and bought into as the next substantive national chairman of the party.
The former Kano State governor, who was believed to be on Tinubu’s ministerial list, had, allegedly, been persuaded to nominate someone else from the state for minister.
The source said, “The president had listed Ganduje as one of the nominees for ministerial appointment, but because of his trust and confidence in the former governor, President Tinubu had to change his mind and asked two governors (Uzodinma and Abdulrahman) to persuade Ganduje to take up another assignment.”
According to the source, after the meeting of APC governors on Wednesday, Ganduje later came with Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, to the Imo State Governor’s lodge.
Equally, the preferred candidate for the office of National Secretary, Oyetola, was believed not to be keen on the post because he is determined to return to office in 2026 as governor of Osun State.
Oyetola was defeated by Governor Ademola Adeleke of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during last year’s governorship election in the state.
A THISDAY source claimed one of the reasons they insisted on Oyetola was because the president’s inner caucus wanted a Muslim candidate from the South-west as national secretary, which, allegedly, prompted Oyetola to suggest Senator Ajibola Basiru, also from Osun, instead.
Nevertheless, some stakeholders, sources said, had continued to engage Oyetola on the need to take up the assignment, assuring him that it would not affect his governorship ambition.
However, addressing journalists after a closed-door meeting that lasted some two hours on Wednesday in Abuja, Uzodinma said the meeting deliberated on the resignation of Adamu and Omisore and the recent increase in the pump price of petrol, which he said had caused Nigerians hardship.
The governor said, “You must have heard of the resignation of the national chairman of our party and the national secretary of our party. Those are voluntary actions that have been taken and with due respect to our former national chairman and secretary, we commended the wisdom in what they have done. They served us well in the party, we are happy with their services and the party is united.
“There is no crisis in the party. They are happy, we are also happy. We are in support of their actions and we will continue to commend and recognise the services they have rendered to our great party. Their resignations have also been accepted by the leadership of the party. There is an acting chairman now and an acting secretary.”
The governors who attended the meeting held at the Imo State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro were Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Umar Bago (Niger), Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi), Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Acting Ondo State Governor Lucky Ayedatiwa; Fr. Hyacinth Alia (Benue), Uba Sani (Kaduna), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), and Dikko Radda (Katsina).
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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