Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have agreed on a zoning formula that will swap offices held between north and south. The deal is to the effect that all offices occupied by northerners in the last eight years will go to the south while positions occupied by the south go to the north with effect from 2023.
The governors who visited President Muhammadu Buhari also tabled their decisions on the forthcoming national convention of the party.
The agreement was revealed after 15 minutes meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and 19 governors of the APC at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
Also at the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and the outgoing deputy governor of Anambra Dr Nkem Okeke.
While briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai noted that agreement had been reached on the zoning formula.
“We have agreed a zoning formula for all the six geo-political zones. Essentially, the northern zone will have the positions the south have had in the last eight years. And vice versa. It is a very simple, equitable and fair formula.
“We will now go back and consult at the zonal level and look at the available positions and the process of the convention preparation we started in earnest.
“So, by the grace of God, on the 26th of March, we would have done our national convention,” el-Rufai said.
Nighteen of the governors were in attendance at the meeting taking place at the Council Chambers.
El-Rufai while fielding questions from journalists confirmed that the APC governors were divided over the timing of the national convention as some were of the belief that there were many issues left unresolved.
“Yes, we were divided. We were divided over the timing of the convention, okay. There were some governors that felt that we should put off the convention until we resolve all the Congress’s issues in some states,.
“As you know, in some states, these matters are even in court. So, some governors held the view that we should wait until all these are resolved. And this is not borne out of any agenda or selfishmess. It is just a realistic proposition to avoid us violating any laws or putting our party structures of elected candidates in danger.
“So yes, there were differences in opinion about timing. Some of us are saying the Constitution allows us to have convention even if three or four states have issues that are unresolved, while others are saying no, let us finish all the reconciliations and we do this convention. After all, there is no time limit for the convention as long as we do it before the time for the primaries.
“So, that was the difference. This is what the media has called divided governors.
“In a democratic setting, there is no way you can have 22 governors plus the deputy governor of Anambra state agreeing on any issue. We can have differences.
“But after our meeting of last night, to deliberate on the proposal by the national caretaker committee, and our briefing with Mr. President today, we’re all on the same page,” he added.
Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, hinted that President Buhari was in favour of consensus to select candidates for
“On Consensus, Mr President reminded us that we have produced a number of national chairmen by consensus; Baba Akande emerged as the pioneer chairman of the party by consensus; His Excellency John Oyegun emerged by consensus; His Excellency Adams Oshiomhole emerged by consensus.
“So, he is a believer in consensus as one of the options of producing leadership, and he urged us to explore consensus, so that we can generate list.
“While recognizing in that many people who have indicated interest are equally competent, but knowing that just one person will occupy the office, consensus is part of our Constitution and urged us to work towards consensus.
“And the governors I have said earlier have also been working to ensure that as part of equitable arrangement, zoning and consensus are incorporated. We have done that at the lower levels, and even at the national level it’s almost certain that we will achieve it.
“Then, the date of the convention, the caretaker committee briefed us yesterday of their meeting and the proposed March 26, 2022. And today, the governors informed Mr. President that we have had that we have had the briefing from the caretaker committee and we are supportive of their position,” he said.
Bagudu further explained that even though the planned zonal congresses of the APC is not provided for in its constitution, the law is also not against the process.
“On proposed zonal congresses not in the constitution, I think there has been so much debate. Yesterday (Monday), there was a statement to the effect that even the letter that has gone out was withdrawn.
“So, zonal congresses are not explicitly stated in the constitution, particularly how you do zonal congresses. And we have in the past done them with national convention, but nothing again in the Constitution stops them from being done outside the national convention. But the final form will be decided, given the input we have provided,” he added.
On whether the APC governors are divided, Bagudu said “Are governor divided? Not at all. The 22 governors of the APC are united. We are in total support of Mr. President, we are appreciative of his leadership, we commend him for his leadership, we are appreciative of the sacrifice of the national caretaker, and extraordinary convention planning committee. And we thanked them to the successes recorded under them. Our party like I said, is greater and stronger, with more members by the day.”
Also, the chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, dismissed fears that the ruling party will collapse at the end of President Buhari’s era.
“I think that from the progress report, read by our chairman, and from several assumptions, and also several reports, that we’re seeing what tremendous efforts the federal government is doing. And again, we’re already going around commissioning projects here and there in all the various states.
“There is no doubt although you are not specific as to which reason will make us not to come back again. But as far as we’re concerned based on assessment, and based on what the federal government is doing tremendously. there is every hope that this party, this government will move beyond our president and I think that is his efforts, and that’s what he has been saying that by grace of God, this government will move beyond his tenure,” Lalong said.