Barring any last-minute change, the All Progressives Congress (APC) might shift its National Convention slated for June 23 by one week.
A top member of the party’s National Convention Committee confirmed the development to newsmen on Wednesday.
If this happens, it would be the second time the party has shifted its elective convention in the last one month.
The party had earlier fixed the convention for June 16 before the governors protested and it was shifted to June 23
The committee member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that there is high possibility that the convention would be shifted for one week.
The source said: “There is a high possibility that the convention would be shifted for one week.”
Asked the reason for the shifting, the source stated that it has to do with time and preparation.
But another source revealed that the reason for the shift on the date of the convention has to do with paucity of funds.
The governors that were expected to make financial contributions were said not to be forthcoming.
The former Secretary of the Convention Committee, Senator Benjamin Uwajimogu, at his resignation briefing last two weeks, had said that only N13 million had come to the committee after many months that the Convention Committee was inaugurated.
There are reports that the convention would cost the party N6 billion. Governors elected on the party’s platform were expected to make huge contributions for the convention.
APC has 24 state governors in its kitty.
New Telegraph reliably learnt that most of the governors are not forthcoming with their contribution.
Some of the governors, according to a source, are not happy with the national leadership of the APC, especially as regards financial prudence.
According to the source, some of the governors’ angst against the party leadership has to do with the last congresses conducted in the states.
For instance, the Imo State governor and the chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, is having a running battle with the National Working Committee (NWC) members of APC.
Okorocha had accused the NWC of wrongdoing, including financial mismanagement.
One of the governors told New Telegraph that they are not ready to make huge commitment to the party because of harassment from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“Some of us (governors) recently funded one of the governorship elections, but today we are being harassed by the EFCC over the Paris Club refund. One of us has been subjected to serious investigation such that his businesses are being crippled. A governor’s account has even been blocked by the EFCC.
“The treatment some of us suffered in the hands of the party during the recent party congresses is very unfortunate. So we are being careful,” the governor told our correspondent.
The two-term governor added that the governors met early this week where the issue of funding of the convention was discussed. “Some of us made promise, but many of us are not committal yet. Maybe before the national convention, we will make contribution for the event,” he said.
A visit to the Convention Secretariat in Abuja yesterday showed that the Secretary to the Committee, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, the Chairman, Governor Abubakar Badaru and the Secretariat staff were not handy.
The paucity of funds was evident at the secretariat at the Apo area of Abuja as there was nothing to show that the party was preparing for its convention.
Also at the National Secretariat of the APC, there was no evidence of the party’s preparation. The leadership of the party was rather awarding all kinds of contracts at the secretariat.
Since two months now, different kinds of contracts have been awarded at the APC secretariat. Contracts like installations of CCTV, fire alarm, demarcation of offices and more were being awarded.
Speaking with some party chieftains at the former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole’s Campaign Office, they confirmed the paucity of funds for the Convention.
According to the party chiefs, the former governor, who is contesting the post of APC national chairman is somehow encouraging the governors to make their contributions, promising to show financial prudence at the party secretariat.
“Oshiomhole has received the complaints of financial mismanagement from the APC governors and he has promised to address it,” one of them said.
But another source said that some of the governors were also afraid to release money because they don’t trust the Presidency.
According to the source, any governor that makes such donations to the Convention Committee would be at the mercy of the Presidency.
“The only thing that would save the Convention Committee is for the Presidency to come in with a promise to protect the governors or make the donations to host the convention,” the source said.
But when the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, was contacted to speak on the paucity of funds, he said that he does not speak for the Convention Committee.
Abdullahi also said that the Convention Committee had not complained to the party about funds and there was nothing to suggest that there is paucity of funds in the arrangement.
Meanwhile, the former governor of Cross River State, Chief Clement Ebri has said that he would continue with his aspiration to lead APC, not minding how many governors that were supporting Oshiomhole.
Ebri, who was governor in 1992, is one of the aspirants for the post of APC national chairmanship.
“I have seen what the governors said about Oshiomhole, but they don’t own the party. I have my supporters and I would run against him. I have my supporters who are more of youths,” Ebri toldNew Telegraph.
No fewer than 14 governors have endorsed Oshiomhole’s candidature.
In another development, APC governors on Tuesday night met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja where they agreed that it was time to get serious and face political developments ahead of 2019 general elections.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, who spoke to State House Correspondents after the closed-door meeting, said it was a tradition to meet with the President regularly to update him of political development and other issues affecting the country.
According to Okorocha, who is the chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), the governor told the President that the party and its leaders needed to be prepared for any political issues coming up as the polity gets heated up.
He said it was a tradition in the party for the governors to visit the president “to review issues as it affects our party”.
The Imo State governor said that the chairman of APC’s national convention committee, Abubakar Badaru, briefed Buhari on the arrangements so far regarding the convention.
“We also looked at the way forward because we are coming to the heat of politics, so we must be prepared for any political issues coming up,” Okorocha said.
He also said all the APC governors were now “more united than ever” and are ready for the 2019 elections. “We are sure people will be proud of APC’s outcome,” he said.
On the crisis within the APC, Okorocha said the APC is not in crisis. He said there are only minor disagreements which are normal in any political party.
“Even in a family, there are disagreements, a party without disagreements is not a party,” he said.