The All Progressives Congress (APC) looks likely to keep faith with its 10-member National Reconciliation Committee, regardless of misgivings about the composition of the body from some quarters. The committee which is headed by Senate President Ahmed Lawan is saddled with the responsibility of reconciling feuding members or factions of the party across the states,including Edo where Governor Godwin Obaseki is at loggerheads with his immediate predecessor ,and current national chairman of the party,Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Obaseki and his supporters have openly objected to Lawan heading the committee on the ground that it was set up to do the bidding of Oshiomhole. However, President Muhammadu Buhari made substantial input into the composition of the committee. It was also gathered yesterday that the reconciliation committee is meant for all the states and not Edo State in particular. Some APC governors were said to be grumbling because the Committee Chairman had once told them that he is backing Oshiomhole.
On December 19, APC raised the Lawan-led panel in line with the November 22, 2019 resolution of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting. Others in the team are the first (Interim) APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, who would serve as the Vice-Chairman; the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase; Sen. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura; Sen. Kashim Shettima; the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; Alhaji Nasiru Aliko Koki; Sen. Khairat Gwadabe-Abdulrazak; Sen. Binta Garba and Sen. John Enoh (Secretary).
A reliable source told The Nation yesterday that the party would not reconstitute the panel. The source said those against the reconciliation committee are up in arms against President Buhari who approved the list. The source said: “There is much ignorance out there. APC will not alter the membership of the reconciliation committee under any guise. We did our homework well before arriving at the list. “The overriding interest is the survival of APC and not individual aspirations. We want to put our house in order and reunite everybody. And there is no better time to do it than this off-season political period.”
Giving an insight into how the committee was composed and approved by the President, the source said: “I need to make it clear that the Reconciliation Committee was not put in place by the National Working Committee (NWC). “At the National Caucus meeting on November 21, 2019, the President was mandated to set up a National Reconciliation Committee. There was a unanimous agreement to do it. And in floating the idea, it had nothing to do with the crisis in Edo State, the state was not even mentioned at the Caucus meeting. So, there was no specificity to Edo State.
“The committee is expected to look at the larger picture covering all the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). We have issues to resolve in many states. Edo became well-known because one of the stakeholders is just the national chairman of the party. Are we going to pretend that there are no problems within the APC in Ondo, Adamawa, Niger, Ogun, Kwara, Oyo, Rivers, Zamfara, Enugu, Anambra, and others?
“Some governors are having crises with their predecessors and their deputies; some party leaders are unhappy with the behaviours of some of our new governors and in some states like Rivers and Zamfara, the APC is yet to reconcile. We have a lot at hand to resolve before 2023.”
How committee was raised
According to the source, the party consulted the President based on the resolution of the National Caucus. The source said: “When the party reached out to the President to form the committee, he now told Oshiomhole and two others to draw up a list of those who can facilitate reconciliation in the panel. They took the names to the President who went through each name with comments. The President dropped some names and picked the ones he wanted.
“But instead of the President announcing the list, he felt it was not proper for him to do so as Head of Government whose constituency is the entire country. He left the initiative of releasing the list to the leadership of the party. The President is a leader who advocates that the party should not be undermined. It was the selection of the President per se because he commented on each name.”
Responding to a question on the rejection of the reconciliation committee by some leaders of the party, including Governor Godwin Obaseki, the source added: “It is a committee set up by the President. It is left to those concerned to join issues with the President.”
The source also said “there is no timeframe or timeline for the committee but it is still ad-hoc notwithstanding how long it took them to complete their assignment.” “The leaders of the party do not know the format for the inauguration of the committee. It is either the President will mandate the APC leadership to inaugurate the committee or he will choose a convenient day for the inauguration when he will also be present.”
When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said the party was hopeful that the reconciliation committee will work. He said: “The committee cannot be biased because APC as a party is not a side to the conflict in any part of the country. It is a committee of NEC. It is not that of NWC. If the committee members are going to do anything at all, they have to address the NEC.”
A governor however said: “Some of us have reservations on the committee because its chairman once told some APC governors that he is fully backing Oshiomhole. “So, we see Lawan as coming from a biased angle. It is also painful that there is no representative of the Progressive Governors Forum in the panel. Aren’t we important stakeholders?”