Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has set up a 10-member technical committee headed by Simon Lalong, Plateau State Governor to review the tenure extension granted to the executives of the party.
The committee has until the weekend to submit its report.
The setting up of the committee may not be unconnected with the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors under APC which ended in a stalemate on Tuesday at the presidential villa rather than reach a consensus on the lingering crisis.
It was gathered that the president’s rejection of the tenure extension earlier granted to Oyegun and others at last week’s APC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, has divided the governors, with some insisting that the executives continue beyond the expected expiration of their tenure in June while others are vehemently opposed to it.
Ahead of the meeting, el-Rufai was at the State House for three hours. Sources said the governor had opted to come earlier than expected because he was bent on convincing the president to change his stance on the tenure elongation. But it was not certain if he met with Buhari before the meeting.
Other members of the 10-member committee are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, el-Rufai, Akeredolu, Senator Ben Uwajumogu, Hon. Kabiru Ajana, Mr. Elisha Kurah (SAN), Mr. C.J.N. Dakas (SAN), and the APC National Legal Adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), who will serve as a member/secretary.
The committee, which has less than one week to conclude its assignment, was mandated to undertake a thorough study of the whole issue including its legal implications and then recommend the best position that will enhance the party’s goal of winning the 2019 presidential election.
The party had agreed at its NEC meeting last week to reconsider the one-year tenure extension granted to its executives after Buhari had opposed it.
Addressing the committee members Tuesday, Oyegun said the party would do everything possible to ensure that any decision taken was advantageous to the APC and does not go against the constitution.
“We must observe the law and at the same time emphasise that we are trying to do things that will be advantageous to the party.
“We will furnish you with all the documents like the resolutions of NEC, the party’s constitution and the Nigerian Constitution to help you do a good job.
“You are also at liberty to request for additional material like the statement of Mr. President during last NEC meeting and every other thing to guide you achieve the task you are about to undertake.
“I am praying and hoping that this is the kind of thing you can accomplish in about three to four days.
“Getting answers from you is crucially time sensitive and depending on which way you advise, we may have to put in motion very serious activities in the party virtually within a week of getting the report and taking decisions.
“The chairman, Governor Lalong, has successfully done a lot of very sensitive assignments in the past and each time you have always come out in flying colours and I am sure this will be yet another one.
“We, on behalf of NEC, decided on a team that mixes the top brains in the legal sector with some of the major stakeholders of the party.
“Some of the issues that have been remitted to you for resolution are strongly legal and at the same time have been impacted dramatically by political considerations.
“Therefore, your job is to bring these two together and advise us on the way we can implement our activities in the next few weeks and months in a way that is politically advantageous to our party, the APC, and at the same time can face due deference to the niceties of the law.
“I thank you for accepting this onerous assignment and wish you the very best of luck,” he said.
While accepting the assignment on behalf of other members of the committee, Lalong assured Oyegun that with the calibre of those appointed on the committee, he was confident that the job will be done properly.
Lalong acknowledged that the work of the committee was enormous and very critical to the survival of APC, but said with prayers they would succeed in resolving the matter.
He said the committee will try to look into the tenure extension proposal and advise the NEC on the way forward on the quagmire.
He further dismissed speculations that the composition of the committee favoured the NWC and was targeted at checkmating Tinubu, stressing: “I think the discussion about elongation was not against Tinubu. We are concerned about the way forward for the party and the position of the president on the issue.
“The issue of whether it is satisfying somebody should not be there. He is a member of the party and at the end of the day, our decision is not final but subject to the ratification of NEC.”