Crisis looms in APC over boards’ appointments
John Alechenu, Abuja
A crisis is brewing in the All Progressives Congress over appointments into boards of federal agencies and parastatals.
The PUNCH gathered in Abuja on Sunday that the dispute over the appointments was partly responsible for the delay in the reconstitution of the boards.
At the core of the dispute is a disagreement over names forwarded for consideration for appointments.
It was learnt that a committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to reconstitute the boards had been unable to conclude its assignment due in part to this dispute.
It was gathered that the war of attrition had also pitted some party leaders at the state level and some newly-inaugurated members of President Buhari’s cabinet.
Buhari had on July 16, 2015 approved the dissolution of the governing boards of federal parastatals and agencies and institutions.
To fill vacancies created by the dissolution, the President inaugurated the Presidential Committee on the Reconstitution of Federal Government Boards of Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions, on October 27, 2015.
The committee, which has party leaders drawn from the six geo-political zones, is chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.
It was further learnt that the Presidential Committee had agreed with the party leadership that each of the 36 state chapters should submit the names of 50 persons to be appointed.
PUNCH findings further revealed that in response some states had two separate lists as party leaders jostled to outdo one another to position their acolytes for favourable consideration.
This led to accusations and counter-accusations of nepotism and favouritism against state party chairmen, governors as well as some leaders of the party.
A leading member of the party who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said, “The situation almost got out of hand.
“In the South-East for instance, apart from Ebonyi State, most of the other states are in crisis over this matter.
“We also had a situation where states like Lagos had two separate lists. There were also allegations that some of the state chairmen nominated their wives and cronies to the exclusion of people who really laboured for the party.
“As a party of change, we want things done differently some of those who were aggrieved used the back channels to make their feelings known and reach out to the President.”
President Buhari was said to have intervened into the matter by asking the party leadership to liaise with the SGF to look into the issues raised with a view to finding an amicable solution to the problem.
Prominent among states where such disputes exist include Enugu, Imo, Abia and Kaduna.
It will be recalled that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had in response to public criticism of the first set of appointments made by Buhari, told Nigerians that the President had over 6,000 appointments to make.
It was equally learnt that more appointments into vacant positions by the President is expected to further deplete the membership of the party’s National Working Committee.
This, among other things; is said to be one of the several reasons responsible for the delay in constituting the party’s Board of Trustees.
So far, two members of the NWC namely: the National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Babachir David Lawal, Vice Chairman (North East), had taken up appointments with the Federal government.
More of the party’s national leaders are expected to be appointed into positions of authority at the federal level.
This is expected to create openings for the appointment/election of other party members to fill such vacancies.
Filling of National Working Committee positions in substantive capacity can only be done during a national convention.
For now, no date has been fixed for the party’s national convention.
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the issue of a delay did not arise since the Presidential committee was not given a deadline within which to submit its report.
He said, “You cannot talk of a delay when the committee was not given a deadline. Work is ongoing.”
Attempts to get either the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, or the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, were futile.
Repeated calls to their mobile telephones were neither picked nor returned.
Responses to text messages sent to them on the issues raised were still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.
However, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Timi Frank, said although he knew when the committee was set up, he was not privy to its activities.
He however expressed optimism that the committee, which he said, was made up of people of impeccable character, “is working hard to give Nigerians the best.”