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No going back on February National Convention, APC Govs insist

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. PGF boss quits job over controversy

Obiora Ifoh, Abuja

Governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC have insisted that the proposed national convention of the party must hold in February 2022.

 

The governors also said the date in February can only be determined by the Gov. Buni led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee after consultation with stakeholders.

 

No fewer than 20 of the governors were at the meeting which took place behind closed doors Sunday night at the Kebbi state Governor’s Lodge in the Asokoro District of Abuja. The meeting ended at about 11:30 pm.

 

The governors were said to be divided as to whether to go on with the convention in February or shift it to a later date.

 

Among governors in attendance at the meeting were Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Mohammed Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).

 

Others were Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwoolu (Lagos), Simon Bako Lalong (Plateau), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti).

 

Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Chairman of the Forum and Kebbi state Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu said the forum passed a vote of confidence on Gov. Buni and two other governors in the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee – Abubakar Sani Bello and Gboyega Oyetola.

 

He said the governors also agreed to go ahead with the national convention slated for February.

 

He said, “The Progressive Governors Forum met this evening, Sunday, the 16th of January, 2022 to discuss numerous issues affecting the Forum and members states and we acknowledged some of the achievements the different member states made. We have had challenges in some states and we commiserated with them.

 

“We spoke about our unanimous appreciation of Mr. President and especially the confidence he has in the Forum and we also passed a vote of confidence on the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party chaired by Governor Mai-Mala Buni and including two other Governors, Abubakar Bello of Niger State and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State who have done an incredible job of running our party successfully, mobilising people into the party and we are very happy with their conduct.

 

“We discussed our upcoming convention which you may recall I had cause to address the press after we visited the President in November, 2021 where we expressed that both Mr. President and the party have agreed that the convention will take place in February. So, we took inputs about the reviews and we noted that all the misrepresentations in the press that we seek to correct; that the Progressive Governors Forum is a one united body as you can see evidently in attendance and our decision is unanimous. We are united behind Mr. President and we thank him and we are united behind the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.”

 

Asked if February date for the convention was still realistic, the PGF chairman said, “Yes. We are one group of stakeholders in the party and our party respects instutions. The appropriate organ of the party is the National Caretaker Committee that will announce the date.

 

“We have agreed and they will announce a date in February but the announcement comes from the party. It is the party decision. There are other stakeholders that they are consulting and to show respect and institutional limit, we are not going to over step our bound. February is sacrosanct.”

However, Following the division among the governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) over whether the national convention should hold or not, the Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has resigned from the office.

Champion gathered reliably that Sunday’s meeting of the APC governors deliberated on whether the DG should be forced to resign or not. It was also gathered that the governors were sharply divided over the matter.

A competent source told our correspondent that while majority of the governors opposed to the pressure to force Lukman’s resignation, few of the governors insisted on him to go.

Effort to speak with the PGF boss was unsuccessful as at the time of filling this report.

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