The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has inaugurated a 27-man National Convention Committee (NCC) chaired by ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi, that will conduct primaries for all its presidential aspirants in the next 22 days.
Oyegun, who inaugurated the committee at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja yesterday, challenged the committee to prove critics who say the party is a gathering of strange bedfellows wrong.
“I have had the benefit of organizing and running a convention before. I am aware that I had more time to accomplish the assignment. You have about 21 or 22 days to do this and that means the challenge before you is enormous. It means that you are leaving this inaugural ceremony to start work.
“I want to say that you have been elected after a long deliberation because the state of our party with its propagation and the need for change, we need to have people who believe in change and who will practise change by the way they organise and conduct the primaries. More so, as the entire nation is holding its breath on behalf or in sympathy for the APC.
“You will recall that at every stage of our existence, there have been prophets of doom, particularly coming from our opponents on the other side.
“At every stage, they have been saying that we are a collection of strange bedfellows and will not get through. When you go out, the question they ask you is: Who is your candidate? How will you produce your candidate? Let us have it at the back of our mind that this is another challenge and I am sure that we will come out of the challenge in flying colours,” Oyegun said.
He however said that the membership of the committee was not yet complete. “…we are going to have additional names to this list. What we are trying to do is to assist this committee by adding an innovation, which is to ask every aspirant to nominate a representative on this committee. That is to bring out the level of transparency with which this exercise must be executed.
“We want them to be part of the process such that because they are committed, their principals will also be committed to the process. So, the challenge we are passing on to you today is to organise a process that will make us a pivot in this nation for internal democracy and for transparency.
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi was appointed as Chairman of the committee. Oyegun said; “It has been agreed that Alhaji Kawu Baraje should act as Deputy Chairman of the Committee. So, the ball is in your court. The party has put in your hands, the most critical assignment in the process of producing the next President for this nation.
“It is the way you conduct this process and the way you conduct the exercise itself that will finally catapult us from being an opposition party into the incoming government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We are there to be consulted at every stage and at any point you deem it fit. You are to do the job to match into your own personal integrity as a fearless man of probity and integrity.
“I thank you for the sacrifice you will be making in the next 21 days. I am sure that at the end of the day. We will all have course to celebrate,” Oyegun said.
The presidential aspirants also nominated some members of the committee: Hon. Greg Eguh; Hon. Faruk Adamu Aliyu; Murtala S. Garo; Yusuf Mai-Anguwa; and Hon. Ifeoluwa Arowosoge, but they are not allowed to vote. Oyegun said they will be there to ensure transparency.
Speaking after his nomination, Fayemi promised to ensure a transparent process. He however asked for the cooperation of members of the APC.
“I want to assure you sir, that seeing the calibre of persons you have put in this committee that we shall deliver on this assignment on time, on course, on integrity, on commitment and on transparency to our party and to Nigerians.
“But we need the cooperation of all our members and not just the presidential aspirants , but also their supporters. For me, it is a very unique addition that you have made as a party by asking all the aspirants to have observers on the committee. At the end of the day, we will turn this into a big celebration and a genuine desire for change,” said Fayemi.
Members of the National Convention Committee include: Kayode Fayemi (Chairman); Alh. Kawu Baraje( Deputy Chairman); Barr. Boss Mustapha; Dr. Garba Abari; Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan Ali(Rtd); Prof. Umar Faruk; Hajiya Aisha Ibrahim; Mr. Olawale Edun; Prof. Mojeed Alabi; Mr. Edwin Ogunbor and Mr. Preye Aganaba.
Others are: Dr. Kachin Nwoja; Hon. Tony Oneweek Muonagor; Sen. Babafemi Ojudu; Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Dr. Alex Ideh(Alternate Secretary); Alh. Mai Bala Buni( National Secretary /Secretary); Sen. Osita Izunaso(National Organising Secretary); and Alh. Lai Mohammed( National Publicity Secretary).