The National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressive Congress (APC) scheduled for Tuesday will be postponed by two days to enable President Muhammed Buhari to present the 2018 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly, a senior official of the APC said in Abuja on wednesday.
The rescheduled meeting, according to the source, is, however, crucial to the survival of the party as its rank and file are seething with anger over their perceived marginalisation by the Buhari administration.
‘’APC is at a point of unmanageable rebellion and the grenades are about to explode; if we refuse to take critical decisions in the next few days, we will have missed the huge opportunity to save our party,’’ he said.
Coming after several postponements, the NEC meeting was finally fixed for Tuesday next week, according to letters dispatched to all the NEC members. Prelude to the crucial event, APC governors met last week to articulate their positions on various issues of concern in the party.
But it was gathered exclusively that the NEC meeting would be postponed by one or two days to give room for the president to present the 2018 budget to the National Assembly.
‘’I hate to say this because some Nigerians might think we are not serious, but we have resolved to postpone the NEC meeting again because the President will be presenting the 2018 national budget the same day and many of us will be there,’’ the source stated.
The founding member of APC confirmed that key stakeholders in the party were increasingly getting worried that if nothing was done to rally its members through the convening of NEC meeting and national convention, the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), might gain the upper hand ahead of 2019.
According to him: ‘’The NEC meeting is crucial; our party is at a point of the rebellious and unmanageable stage, and the grenades are about to explode. If we refuse to take critical decisions in the next few days, we will have missed the huge opportunity to save our party.
‘’Our party members are not happy with the current system; they worked and laboured to install a government, but those who are currently being appointed in key positions of government today were not with us during the campaign.
‘’Those being appointed are not known to the party. For example, all appointments from Enugu State made so far by this government are from one ward in the same local government of the state; if leaders of the party were contacted that unwise decision would not have happened.’’
The source continued: ‘’The real danger I am seeing, which many of those surrounding the president are apparently not seeing is the coming national convention of our party that will commence in February next year. In the past few years, the party structures at all levels were rendered useless; they were used and abandoned. Are you going to remove them and elect new members, thinking they will be happy? That will be the end of APC. So, we need to do something very fast.
‘’They said the leadership of the party is not active and as a result, some governors and senators want the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, removed for their selfish political interest. But, my question is: Do they expect the National Chairman to start fighting the president on the pages of newspapers? Do they expect him to start shouting when he has access to the President?’’
Explaining the difficulty the national chairman of the party and his colleagues were going through in the hands of the Buhari administration, the senior member of the party said they had been singing it to the president’s ears about the state of the party, telling him that the leadership of the party was not happy with goings-on.
He said: “For example, when some of our leaders visited the President in London in September, during his medical vacation, they took time to explain to him the urgent need to make some changes within his government; he agreed with them and promised to do it immediately he returns. But until now he has refused or failed to carry out the changes.
‘’And unless the president carries out the changes in the next few days, we would have missed the opportunity. Some of us still believe President Muhammadu Buhari should re-contest.
‘’But we must save the party first. The party is in a mess; it is not being funded; the government does not carry the leadership of the party along. So many mistakes are being made and we are still pretending as if all is well with us.’’
Saying members of the NEC would be frontally frank with the president and other leaders of the party during the scheduled meeting, he explained that the APC leadership needed to act fast to rescue the party.
On the recent speculations that some 17 APC governors wanted the national chairman removed, he said: ‘’I don’t know where that speculation is coming from; the chairman is not the problem of our party; but even if you want him removed, who replaces him?
‘’I think we need to be careful not to destroy our party. The tension within the party is expected; the general election is drawing nearer; the belief is that those who control the party’s structures will be ahead of others.’’