In a move that has left political observers and party members astir, the All Progressives Congress (APC) conducted a late-night swearing-in ceremony for six members of its National Working Committee (NWC), as protests raged on.
The tense inauguration event unfolded within the confines of the party’s national headquarters in Abuja, deep into the midnight hours of Friday. The timing was an outcome of vehement protests that had erupted in the wake of the announcement of these new NWC members.
Led by the APC’s national chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the swearing-in included key figures such as Hon. Ali Bukar Dalori (Deputy National Chairman, North), Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad (National Vice Chairman, North West), Prof. Abdul Karim Abubakar Kana (National Legal Adviser), Hon. Donatus Nwankpa (National Welfare Secretary), Mary Alile Idele (National Women Leader), and Duro Meseko (Deputy National Publicity Secretary).
The originally planned inauguration date was Thursday; however, vociferous protests orchestrated by various quarters disrupted the proceedings. Governor Yahaya Bello, leading a contingent of demonstrators from Kogi, alongside counterparts from Cross River State, put a halt to the event with their vehement objections.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Abia APC Caucus and stakeholders, including Senator Chris Adighije and over 15 others, released a statement criticizing the selection of Donatus Nwankpa as the replacement for the late Friday Nwosu as the national welfare secretary. Their complaint was rooted in the lack of consultation with key party figures in Abia, further underscoring the internal dissent within the APC.
The background to this drama can be traced back to the 12th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the APC held on August 3rd, which saw the replacement of Abdullahi Adamu and Iyiola Omisore with Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Ajibola Bashiru as the national chairman and secretary, respectively. With the NEC granting powers to the NWC to fill the remaining vacant positions, the stage was set for the current turmoil.
Governor Yahaya Bello, an influential figure within the party, had vehemently contested the choice of deputy national publicity secretary. While initially met with an absence of Ganduje at the party headquarters, it is reported that the two leaders later met to broker a deal.
In a surprising twist, the candidate of Hon. James Faleke, a close ally of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was selected for the deputy national publicity secretary role. This decision not only underscored the power dynamics at play but also indicated a deepening rift within the party.
Meanwhile, the appointment of Mary Alile Idele as the National Women Leader wasn’t without its own controversy. The nomination of Dr. Stella Odey-Ekpo from Cross River, supported by the outgoing National Women Leader Dr. Betta Edu, was sidelined, seemingly to accommodate the candidate backed by a former governor of Edo State and ex-National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.
The midnight inauguration, punctuated by protests and political maneuvering, continues to raise questions about the unity and cohesion within the APC. As the newly inaugurated NWC members take on their roles, the true ramifications of these events remain uncertain, leaving many to wonder about the future direction of the ruling party.