APC ‘ll conduct rancour free National Convention, Reps Halims Assures.
Against the background of perceived crisis in the All Progressive Congress (APC) over the issue of a date for National Convention and the need to resolve all internal issues and reconcile aggrieved members before holding the convention, Hon.Abdullahi Ibrahim (Halims),Member representing Ankpa,Olamaboro, Omala Federal constituency in the National Assembly has advised members to be under a leadership.
Hon.Halims who spoke on Thursday as a Guest of African Independent Television (AIT) Programme_Democracy today, said the Party’s caretaker committee has capacity to resolve them. Here are EXCERPTS:
AIT: A statement issued by the caretaker committee says the Media is overplaying the crisis in APC.That people are not allowing APC to settle their differences and that the matter on the table is not too bad.But let us look at the issue of the date for National Convention. It was not categorically said,that it will hold on a particular date.
HALIMS: Fundamentally,February is the date of the National Convention and whatever crisis that is assumed, I can tell you that they will be resolved before the date.
But let me say this,we in the Party knows there are no crisis. Those things you see playing out are a part of the game of politics and we shall get over it.
AIT:If there are no crisis,they are issues.
AIT:The Caretaker committee in place today,when they initially met,after the suspension of the former National Chairman of the party,they met with President Buhari,and planned to shift the convention beyond 6 months,whereas if you take a look at Your party’s Constitution, it stated there that 6 months after,they should conduct a National Convention and till now,no National Convention of APC has held.And if you take a look at this,you think that doesn’t matter in a party!
HALIMS: At whatever instances they have postponed and had meetings for adjournments,the leader of the party, President Muhammad Buhari was part of that decision to shift and as a party we are loyal to Mr.President. He is the leader of the party.And whenever decisions are taken by the party and it is agreed by the President, we will genuinely obey it.
AIT: I love the fact that you are respecting Mr.President because he is the leader of your party.But according to your party’s constitution, is it the President that will take decision for a political party to say,Yes,this is the time we are going to meet? or the NEC of the party?
HALIMS: The NEC of the party takes such decision. Whatever decision the NEC of the Party takes, the President who is also a NEC member,has overriding contributions. That is not to say that he imposes his position. But as the leader of the party,his opinions are strong and are being respected.
AIT: You and I know what is written in your party’s constitution
HALIMS (cuts in): Iam just letting you know that for now,this is a caretaker committee, the substantive committee is yet to be inaugurated.People are just assuming that there will be crisis or that they are crises presently here and there. I can tell you that 25th February may not be far for the convention to take place. The deals in the game of politics, is just what is playing out but by the grace of God,we are confident in Mr.President and the caretaker committee that whatever crises that are there in the party will be resolved before the convention.
AIT: Mr. President has done almost a lot for APC already and he is a member of the party just like you are.The fact that he is President of Nigeria goes to show the fact that whether APC or PDP,he oversees all of us because he is the President of Nigeria. But in case of party politics, what the president is to do as the leader is to advise, but probably, because there is no substantive committee in place just like you said that is why things are like this, if not,is it going to be Mr.President who will help APC to say,OK,let’s fix our convention on so so date? is it normal?
HALIMS: It is not Mr.President that is actually fixing the date for the convention.But you know,we cannot just go and fix date for election without consultation. And that consultation is what they are doing now.And the February date is not a magic day.
AIT: APC cannot say that they don’t have issues in the party.Some members like Senator Magnus spoke on the need for members of the party to be careful. That also takes us to the statement made by President Buhari where he was interviewed on some of the Television stations in Nigeria. When they asked him about the internal wranglings within his party,he said if they don’t resolve the internal wranglings,they will be opening up doors for the opposition to come in and it will spell doom for the party.What do you have to say?
HALIMS: APC is very careful. We are well grounded in this party.We spend time with this party and we know what party politics is all about. You cannot avoid wranglings at this level. It is normal because of varying interests. And Mr.President has stated his position and everyone of us have heard him.We have to be careful.That statement is meant to be cautionary. We know we are going to be very careful because after the convention, there will be party primaries and general election and there is no way the party will approach them in crises neither is it unexpected that on the approach of the national convention, there will be no little disagreements such as its being witnessed. But what is important is that we have the capacity to manage the so called crises,that is my belief. The varying interests will be resolved no matter how intricate they may be.We have a mechanism for resolving the varying interests or crisis as it is so called. And at the end of the day, there will be a rancour free convention.
AIT: Now let us look at the implication. What your honourable colleague in the studio with us said is that whether the convention holds in February or at a later date,it doesn’t matter, but in your calculation towards election, don’t you think it will affect it?
HALIMS: It depends on what you are seeing. It depends on what our electoral laws say. But Mark this,there must be a substantive National Exco of the party to conduct primary election. So,there is no way convention date can wait endlessly. We shall have a convention soon.And it can take place in February, it may even be in March,it doesn’t matter.What is important to us is to have a crisis free convention. And by the grace if God,it is coming to be like that.
AIT: There are some insinuations in certain quarters that the Governors are the ones causing problems in the party. If that is the position, as a politician, what will you think will be the best bet to resolve these crises in the party?
HALIMS: Well,to me,I don’t believe that the Governors are the ones causing crisis in the party.The management of every political party in the state as far as iam concerned, lies with the Governor where the party is the ruling party.The Governor is the leader of the party. So ceteris paribus,whenever there is crisis in any state,we look up to the Governor for the resolution of those crises.
AIT: But you know the Governor himself is an interested party
HALIMS: Yes the Governor may be interested. It is a part of politics.
AIT: That is it.They are those in the party that may be aggrieved. So,that means in any state where one is a Governor and when he takes a decision to say these are the people that we want then what happens?
HALIMS: No! Governors doesn’t take decisions most times like that. They take decisions in consultation with party leaders,that is how it is done.
AIT: But you and I know that in politics, there are interests.
HALIMS: In my own state (Kogi), for instance, decisions are taken in collaboration with all party stakeholders. And we have been very peaceful. We don’t have crises in my state in particular.
HALIMS: Mine is just to advise our party members to be very committed to the party’s cause and to be very resolute. We have to be under a leadership for us to succeed as a party.And as at today, by the grace of God,we have a good leadership provided by the caretaker committee.
It will be recalled that the INEC calendar and political itinerary for 2022 in Nigeria fixed May for all party Congresses and Conventions to be concluded while it scheduled Party primary elections for June.