APC probes Adamu, others as Ganduje emerges new chair

•Ex-Kano gov vows to lead party with integrity, transparency, responsibility

From Romanus Ugwu, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has set up an external audit panel to scrutinise financial transactions under the leadership of its erstwhile chairman, Abdullahi Adamu.

This is as former Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Ajibola Basiru, yesteday, emerged national chairman and secretary of the party, respectively.

The probe of Adamu, former Nasarawa State governor is against the backdrop of alleged widespread incidences of financial recklessness during his reign as chairman.

Salihu Lukman, who recently resigned as  vice chairman (North West) of the party, had consistently accused Adamu of financial recklessness, especially the misappropriation of over N30 billion generated from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms for the 2023 general election.

Prior to his resignation, Adamu had had fought hard to defend the graft allegations  as well as claims of high handedness and autocratic administrative against him by some party faithful.

But other soruces said the planned probe was not unexpected given the frosty relationship between Adamu and President Bola Tinubu prior to his emergence as presidential canddiate of the party and eventual victory at the February 25 poll.  Adamu’s support for the candidature of Ahmed Lawan, former Senate President, as consensus candidate, is believed not to have gone down well with Tinubu and his supporters.

The president during the National Caucus meeting at State House on Wednesday had charged the new leadership of the party to be prudent in their financial dealings. This was seen as an indication of his disapproval of allaged mismanagement of the finances of the party.

Itemising the agenda for the meeting, then acting national chairman, Abubakar Kyari, said: “The meeting is, therefore, convened to purposely address two issues; the appointment of external auditors of the party and the filling of the existing vacancies in the office of the national chairman and national secretary. The officers play a pivotal role in strategic direction for the party. It is pertinent to note that as enshrined in the Constitution of our party, under Article 13.3 (ii), The NEC has the powers to “discharge all functions of the National Convention in between National Conventions.”

However, amending the agenda for the meeting, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, moved a formal motion for NEC to cede power and responsibility to the NWC to fill up the remaining vacancies. His motion was seconded by  Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, who doubles as chairman APC Progressive Governors Forum (PGF).

Similarly, NEC passed a vote of confidence on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the conduct of the presidential election.

Passing the confidence vote, Governor Uzodinma said: “We did very well during the 2023 general election. We won the presidential, 20 states, controlled majority of the National Assembly. During the campaign, we received all sorts of campaign of calumny against our great party, we were not deterred. We continued with our campaign, and won, yet the opposition party who decided to adopt the antics of name calling will not rest on their oasis.

“Even the 2023 election has been adjudged the most transparent election since the inception of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, they are still going about inciting Nigerians, blackmailing our party. Since this is the first NEC meeting after the election, it presents an opportunity for us to react to some of the antics. Recently, they have shifted into blackmailing INEC, the entire integrity of the nation, trying to instigate the poor and innocent masses into believing their falsehood. Of late, they generated an EU report, by the EU monitoring team whose address and identity we don’t know.

“We must, therefore, use the opportunity presented by this meeting to rise and condemn in its entirety, the campaign of calumny,  inciting of innocent Nigerians against this unethical type of opposition going on in Nigeria and give implicit vote of confidence on the integrity of the last presidential election and the same confidence on the integrity of INEC. This is our country and we must take our destiny into our hands and control the government of today,” Governor Uzodimma moved the motion.”

•Tinubu tasks APC leaders on good governance 

President Bola Tinubu called on the party’s leadership, particularly elected officials, to prioritise good governance and effectively address the needs of the poor in order to re-engineer the economic and political landscape of the nation.

He emphasised that winning the election was only the beginning of a longer progressive journey.

He underlined the necessity of responsive and accountable governance and pledged his administration’s commitment to ensuring that government programmes benefit and uplift the masses, working towards a larger, restructured economy that satisfies the yearnings of the poor.

Tinubu urged party members to promote unity, stability and camaraderie at all levels, starting from the grassroots, while also calling on them to focus on development and prosperity for the country.

He highlighted his administration’s intent to build international trade partnerships across sectors, aiming to benefit not just the national coffers, but the wallets and accounts of the Nigerian people.

Defending the legitimacy of the presidential election and echoing his previous stance, the president stated that those who do not accept the outcome of a free and fair election do not deserve the joy of victory.

“We have worked hard, and we have received the trophy. Winning an election is the first part of the process. What is next is good governance and quality service delivery. We must promote unity, peace, and love among all organs of the party.

“You are the makers and drivers of the party. When we have all passengers inside the bus, the driver must not fall asleep. The brake must also work well. Party loyalty must exist.”

He emphasised the importance of good governance and quality service delivery as the next steps after an election victory.

•Ganduje promises reforms, assures victory in Kogi, Bayelsa, Imo polls

In his acceptance speech, Ganduje promised to lead the ruling party with integrity, transparency and deep sense of responsibility.

He lamented that despite the acclaimed bogus figure it could not translate into corresponding tangible result during the 2023 presidential election where the party got only eight million votes.

He promised to conduct a more credible scientifically-proven membership register from the wards to the state levels. He warned that going forward, he will uphold internal democracy, and provide a level playing ground for aspirants to elective positions during party primaries.

“Let me assure you that as national chairman, I will lead with integrity, transparency and a deep sense of responsibility. We are going to work tirelessly for a cohesive APC and a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. It will be challenging but with dedication, I have confidence that we can achieve a prosperous APC. Thank you for trusting in our party.

“Our main focus will be promoting party unity and defending and increasing the number of executive and legislative seats we currently hold.

“Under my watch, internal democracy will be strictly adhered to with a deliberate policy to engage in wider consultations and making party functional throughout the year. More reforms will be carried out in the party in alignment with the current political landscape

“We all agreed that we must unite our members to achieve support for our government to respond adequately, urgently and assertively” to the challenges that Nigerians confront on a daily basis. The challenges include unemployment, poverty, insecurity, social cohesion and the rising cost of living.

“I want to make a special appeal to Nigerians to bear with the President at this trying moment, considering that the country’s economy had been in shambles for years. I belief the policies and programmes to be unveiled by Mr. President when his administration fully takes shape, will surely turn around things for the better.

“We will ensure a level playing field for all party members that want to contest elections under the party’s platform. Our primary elections would be free, transparent and fair,” he said.

On the off-season governorship election in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states, Ganduje said: “Let me also use this opportunity to call on members of our party and all the people of Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states to close ranks and ensure that the APC wins in the forthcoming governorship elections. Finally, while accepting this responsibility, I count on your support to help me deliver it  the best way I can.”

Earlier before the NEC meeting, there was apprehension over the possibility of his recommendation and that of the National Secretary scaling through due to their religious faith as Muslims.

The recommendation by the National Caucus did not correct the religious imbalance in the APC government, did not go down well with many members of the NWC present at the meeting on Wednesday.

Speaking in confidence, a source close to the NWC told Daily Sun: “It is surprising that they could approve Muslim-Muslim for both National Chairman and National Secretary of the party. The implication is that the ruling party is now parading Muslim President, Vice President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, party’s National Chairman and National Secretary. I don’t think anything can change during NEC meeting but we have to put it on record that the actions of the leaders of the party is insensitive and condemnable.”

Our correspondent also observed that the decision contributed to the delay in the commencement of NEC meeting as Christian members of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) staged mild protest to change the decision.

•PDP mocks APC over appointment

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mocked the APC for choosing the former governor of Kano State as its new national chairman.

The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said the appointment of Ganduje in spite allegations of corruption against him is an indication that the ruling party is ethically challenged.

The opposition party described that Ganduje appointment as indicative of “APC’s impunity and insensitivity to the demands of honesty, integrity and moral rectitude required of public office holders.”

It further stated that “by appointing Ganduje, notoriously referred to as “Gandolar” by Nigerians over the infamous video of him barefacedly stuffing his gown with US Dollar notes as bribe allegedly from a contractor, while serving as Governor of Kano State, further validates that the APC is a putrid party of embezzlers and charlatans.

“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that only last month, a forensic analysis by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) confirmed that the content of the 2017 “Gandollar” viral video was not doctored.

“It speaks volume of the APC under Senator Bola Tinubu that Ganduje, who should ordinarily be under prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged bribery is rather crowned and rewarded with the position of the APC National Chairman.

“In any case, the PDP describes the assertion by the embattled APC National Chairman that he will ‘hit the ground running’  to ensure the victory of his fizzling party and disillusioned members in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa as a pathetic day-dreaming.

“The PDP reminds Ganduje of how he was humiliated by Nigerians and failed woefully as Co-Chairman of APC National Campaign Council for the July 2022 Osun State Governorship election, which was overwhelmingly won by the PDP. Indeed, a worse crushing defeat awaits Ganduje and his Party, the APC, in the November 11, 2023 Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo States.

“Moreover, the mortifying trouncing of the APC in Kano State under his watch as Governor in the 2023 general elections shows that Ganduje has no political value and cannot earn any victory in any electoral contest in the country. If Ganduje is desirous to “hit the ground running” as he asserted, he should run to the EFCC for investigation and prosecution for cases of alleged bribery and corruption hanging around his neck.”

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