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The division over zoning in the All Progressives Congress (APC) has not been resolved three weeks before the party’s March 26 convention.
There is still a disagreement over which zones will occupy some key offices, notwithstanding last week’s setting up of the Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq zoning committee.
The committee, which is expected to submit its report today, it was learnt, was divided over which zones to take the positions of deputy chairman (North) and national secretary.
Some governors and ministers are believed to be behind those who are in the dissenting group in the eight-man zoning committee.
But Kwara State Governor AbdulRazaq is forging ahead to submit the report based on the latest zoning arrangement.
Other members of the zoning panel are Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, Prof. Etim Nyong, Dr. M.B. Shehu, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, Senator Teslim Folarin, Alhaji Sadeeq Sanni and Anambra State Deputy Governor Nkem Okeke, who is secretary.
Another dimension to the zoning disagreement is the move allegedly by Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello to galvanise some governors to force the party to call the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party without the support of the leadership of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
But President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday raised the hope that the ruling party will surmount the crisis rocking it.
He said those anticipating the collapse of the party at the end of his tenure would be disappointed.
He said the APC had the capacity to overcome its challenges.
On February 28, President Buhari approved a zoning formula backed by influential ministers.
In that arrangement, the National Chairman was zoned to the Northcentral; the Deputy National Chairman (North) to the Northwest; the National Secretary to the Southsouth and Deputy Nation Chairman (South) to the Southeast.
However, the proposal was later jettisoned, following complaints by some governors, led by a Northwest governor.
Thus, on March 1, at the meeting of the APC governors with the president, the proposal was altered.
Under the new zoning arrangement, the National Chairman was retained to the Northcentral, with Senator Abdullahi Adamu, being projected as the intended beneficiary, the Deputy National Chairman (North) was zoned to Northeast; the Secretary to Southwest, and the Deputy National Chairman (South) to Southeast. This was ratified.
This list was given to the AbdulRazaq zoning committee to work with. It was not expected to depart from this in its report, which the caretaker committee will ratify.
But, the change of zoning of Deputy National Chairman from Northwest to Northeast, and the National Secretary from Southsouth to Southwest was said to have led to a deep rift.
A source said: “Barring any unforeseen contingency, the zoning committee is expected to submit its report to the party today. The party is not expecting anything new.”
The President, who spoke with reporters before travelling to London for a medical check-up, said those doubting the APC’s ability to resolve its internal problems should watch out for how it will bounce back, reminding them of how the party edge out a ruling party.
President Buhari said: “They should wait and see. How did we come as a party to take power from the ruling party who had been there before us for so many years? So, we have the capacity. Everything will be alright.”
On how the country would run in his absence, Buhari said Nigeria was in safe hands.
He added: “I cannot claim to be doing the work alone. The government is fully represented.
“The Vice President is there. Constitutionally, when I’m away, he’s in charge and the Secretary to the Government and then the Chief of Staff, so no problem.”