The Progressives Governors Forum, Tuesday in Abuja, said despite the tight time frame imposed upon it by the timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission, it does not plan to shift the All Progressives Congress national convention from the proposed March 26.
The Chairman of the Forum, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly before he departed for Nairobi, Kenya.
Shortly after the INEC released the 2023 elections timetable, there were speculations that a section of the party was pushing for the postponement of the national convention to ensure that the election of party national executives and primaries happen together.
However, Bagudu, while fielding questions on the issue, said the March date would not suffer any changes.
He stated, “Last week, we were in this hall (Villa Briefing Room), about 20 APC governors, and this question came up, and we clearly said we came to discuss the national convention, which is slated for March 26 and are working hard to ensure that on March 26, we have our convention and elect our national officers and that remains the case.”
However, the governors were met with disappointment when their attempt to change the President’s mind to dump Abdullahi Adamu as the consensus candidate for the national chairmanship reportedly failed.
After enumerating their reasons against the former Nasarawa State Governor, Buhari was said to have bluntly refused to change his mind.
The Kebbi state governor also debunked notions that the Progressive Governors Forum was still divided over the party’s direction regarding zoning and chairmanship after what appeared to be a heated disagreement among them as they emerged from the meeting with the President.
According to him, “There’s no altercation, I’m not aware of any. Mallam Nasiru (Kaduna State governor), again last week, answered that look, if by altercation people are talking about differences of opinion before a decision is arrived at, then maybe, that is what people can…but as a body, the 22 governors of APC are united behind the party and Mr President.”
On the purpose of their visit, Bagudu explained that the governors, among other things, visited the President to congratulate him for signing the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022, and the APC’s victory in some of the bye-elections conducted last weekend.
“Today, Tuesday, March 1, a number of APC governors came to Mr. President to, among others, congratulate him on signing the Electoral Act. This is something many Nigerians have expressed different views about.
“Still, Mr President had once again taken the courageous step of, even while having reservations, signed and requested the National Assembly to look at it. So, we congratulate the National Assembly for the passage of the amendments and equally congratulate Mr President for signing the amendment.
“Secondly, our party, the All Progressives Congress, participated in a number of by-elections last weekend, and equally we congratulated Mr President and in addition, we spoke about other issues that concern our party.”
It was also learnt that APC Governors from the Southeast protested the zoning of the office of the National Secretary to the Southwest, with Bagudu insisting that it was too late to amend the zoning formula.