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APC May Shift Congresses Timeline

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Fears of a possible shift in the timetable for the conduct of congresses by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have gripped party members nationwide, as the party is yet to start the sale of nomination forms for Ward Congress two days after the close of sales.

This development, The Nation gathered, will be one of the issues to be discussed by the Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) at a scheduled meeting slated for Tuesday (13th July).

The party’s CECPC Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoehede however said the party’s on course for the conduct of the congresses.

An investigation by The Nation revealed that the shift in the conduct of the congresses may not be unconnected with the inability of the National Secretariat of the party to distribute the nomination forms for all the congresses to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at the time of filing this report.

With this development, some stakeholders in the party have expressed anxiety that a delay in the ward congress may affect the entire process of the congresses.

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The recently released timetable and schedule of activities by the party’s Director of Organization, Professor Al-Mustapha Ussiju Medaner showed that the congresses are to be kick-started with the sale of nomination forms for the ward congress from 1st to end by 7th July, but as of the close of work on Friday, no state has taken possession of the nomination forms for any of the congresses.

The timetable released by the party fixed inauguration of Ward/LGA Congress Screening/Screening Appeal Committees for 10th July 2021; Ward Congress is billed for 24th July, Local Government Congress is slated for 14th August 2021 and the State Congress will hold on the 18th September 2021.

Expressing concern over the development, a Ward Chairmanship aspirant from Egbeda Local Government Area of Oyo State expressed his frustration to our Correspondent on phone on Friday over the non-availability of nomination forms two days after the closure of its sale.

“We are in a dilemma. We learned that the National Secretariat is yet to send nomination forms. Aspirants in Oyo State are concerned; sales of nomination forms ought to have closed since Wednesday and today is Friday (two days after). We are yet to have any information.

“We hope the Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) will douse the growing tension. We all know that ward congress is the foundation for building a political process for a solid party structure and we cannot afford not to get it right,” the aspirant advised.

Also reacting to the development, the APC Niger State Publicity Secretary, Hassan Wakili confirmed that the state was yet to receive the nomination forms from the National Secretariat of the party.

“For us in Niger State, we are ready for the congresses, we are only waiting for the nomination forms from Abuja. I learned that states are yet to receive the nomination forms.”

Our Correspondent gathered that the party is still taking delivery of the nomination forms from the contractor in batches as at the time of filing the report.

The investigation further revealed that aside from logistics challenges that have led to the delay in distribution of the forms, some states are in crisis over membership registration. It was alleged that some members have complained of being denied registration during the just concluded nationwide membership registration and revalidation exercise.

This development may have informed the approval of additional two weeks for the continued membership registration and revalidation in Imo, Ogun, Kwara, and the Ogun States by the CECPC.

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A highly placed source in the party Secretariat, who spoke in confidence, confirmed the development. “The truth is that the contractor delayed the distribution of nomination forms to the states. We are still taking delivery of the various nomination forms. We shall start the distribution to states as soon as the contractor delivers the forms for all the states and FCT.

“ You know it is a sensitive document. We are going to ensure that all the 36 States and FCT get their forms at the same time.”

Another highly placed officer of the party when contacted, confidentially confirmed to our correspondent that the party is mulling the idea of shifting the congresses forward by two weeks due to what he called a “logistics problem.”

“Yes, it is obvious that we cannot meet up with the timetable. We have to shift it forward due to some logistics problems. It is a process and we have to do the needful. Even INEC had had cause to shift activities,” our source stated.

APC Caretaker Committee Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoehede however expressed optimism that the party “is on course and insisted that the congresses are holding as planned.

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