Bad Blood, Drama At APC NEC Meeting

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The crisis within the All Progressives Congress (APC) reared its head on Friday with the absence of national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and former Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.

Except for these two, every other party chieftain and political office holder qualified for the meeting made it to the gathering where President Muhammadu Buhari told them that the party must be held supreme.

Tinubu and Akande had never hidden their resentment for the way Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, Yakubu Dogara emerged as leaders of the two arms of the National Assembly respectively. The duo was not also represented at the meeting.

While addressing the top party members at the NEC meeting, Buhari said it was important for the members to accept the supremacy of the party so that democracy can work.

"Let the system work. I appeal to you to accept the superiority of the party. I cannot confine myself in Sambisa forest and refuse to participate in the meeting because I respect the superiority of the party.

"As human beings, we are not perfect, but let us do our best to eventually win this war so that we can get on with the urgent task of delivering on our electoral promises to the nation," Buhari said while further urging the party members to put their personal ambitions aside and resolve their current differences for the good of the party and the nation.

Governor off Imo State, Rochas Okorocha later gave a hint that the crisis had not yet been completely resolved, but that progress had been made in the effort to resolve it and that the factions in the National Assembly have agreed to work together to reach amicable solutions.

"I’m happy to announce to all of you that the peace at the National Assembly is at sight. We have had discussions and we have all agreed to accept peace. So you will not see any more disagreement," Okorocha said.

"Both the Senate President and the Speaker and distinguished Senator Lawan and Honorable Femi Gbajabiamila will work together for the unity of the National Assembly and for the progress of our party.

He revealed that the party has accepted the leadership of the National Assembly of the Senate President and the Speaker of the Federal House.

"Many people think that there will be problems between APC members at this meeting, but I’m assuring Nigerians that we have met and discussed what affects us and we understood ourselves," he added.

"We also reiterated our support and loyalty to our leadership. We are also going to meet on the National Assembly crisis and it will be resolved amicably.

"So I can confidently say the crisis rocking the party is almost over now."

Meanwhile, the APC NEC passed a vote of confidence on the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

The party's National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the party’s decision while briefing newsmen about details of the NEC meeting.

There had been calls for Oyegun's resignation, but the chairman had constantly denied that he took bribe to install the leadership of the 8th National Assembly.

Mohammed said: "The National Legal Adviser of APC came to seek the approval of NEC as to certain categories of members who should be members of the Board of Trustees. The approval motion was moved and it was unanimously adopted.

"Subsequently, the NEC and the governors passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the party. The President of the Senate and the Speaker also pledged to find lasting solution to the logjam.

"Two points were unanimously agreed on today. One was the issue of party supremacy. It was agreed that the party should be supreme. Secondly, this government must work.

"It must deliver on its campaign promises and bring about the change the people of Nigeria want. We have a problem and we must find the best way to resolve it. This house, which is the APC, must not fall.

"The less we say about the logjam, the better for the nation. Let us dwell on issues that can move the country forward, bring about cohesion, not just in the party but in the polity.

"I cannot say yes or no that the Senate president and the speaker have been accepted because I will be pre-empting NEC, but the party is working to resolve the crisis."