APC in fresh moves to reconcile aggrieved presidential aspirants

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has started making fresh movers to reconcile its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu with those that lost the presidential ticket of the party at the party primary.

Following the collapse of the peace meeting to reconcile aggrieved All Progressives Congress (APC), presidential aspirants, the party’s leadership, the National Working Committee (NWC), has fixed September 12 as the date to re-launch fresh reconciliation move to bring them to a dialogue table.

No fewer than 22 of the presidential aspirants were said to have confirmed availability for the crucial strategic reconciliation meeting convened by a fellow aspirant, Nicolas Felix, but they later shunned the parley over sundry issues. The convener in the statement on the aborted meeting however made it clear that a new date will be communicated soon. However, a party leader, while reacting to the indefinite postponement, argued that most of the key presidential aspirants invited for the meeting did not want to be part of it. He further claimed that a particular aspirant from the North did not even acknowledge the invitation letter sent to him, let alone indicate interest to attend.

He said: “It seems some of these aspirants have yet to come to terms with our presidential candidate because some of them are not seen to be rallying the needed support for the party yet. All of them are well-informed about this meeting. The organisers even issued statements twice to remind them. But some did not show interest at all. I can inform you that only nine of them were ready to attend and nine of them are among the heavyweights we expected to show up.” In an attempt to curtail further escalation of the situation, the party’s national leadership has concluded arrangements to formally dialogue with the aspirants to ensure a united house ahead of the commencement of the campaign. 

The source said: “It is not that very difficult to reconcile them. Part of the plan by the NWC is to scale up engagement with the aggrieved aspirants, both the presidential, governorship and National and State Assemblies. The meeting with the presidential candidates will take place in Abuja while that for governorship and parliamentarians will take place at zonal levels.” It added: “the reconciliation will kick-off as from 12th of this month. They should understandably be aggrieved, but the good thing is that the party has started the healing process of engagement.”

He clarified: “It is not also true that the party allowed the reconciliation move to drag for too long. You should understand that healing takes a gradual process. Many things have been going on in the background and behind the scenes to pacify the aggrieved. The leadership is working very hard and has been engaging in consultations. That is why the secretariat is almost empty most times. I have no doubt that it will achieve the result. We are not in the public space to be announcing it. We have been consulting at zonal and national levels for reconciliation. Something is done internally and we don’t want to be like the PDP.

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The member of the APC National Working Committee, however, asked the aspirants to forget the N100 million used in purchasing the Expression of Interest form, noting that it had “gone into voicemail,” meaning that there is no hope of it being refunded.             The reliable source who spoke to Saturday Sun scoffed at the idea, arguing that refunding the aspirants the money they used in purchasing the nomination forms would be like asking a school to refund a student his or her school fees just because they failed an examination.

Asked if the party would yield ground if the aspirants make certain requests, the source, on second thought, said: “We may not concede anything because they are party men. But if we feel that someone richly deserves to get something, why not? However, it will not get to the point of returning the money paid for nominations because no student gets a refund of school fees if they fail the examination. However, in fairness to all the aspirants, none of them has made such a request.”

Meanwhile, the cold war raging between the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the party’s leadership may not simmer down anytime soon. This is due to the posture of the leadership that it will not accept any imposition of members of the presidential campaign council from the Tinubu camp, warning that the party has the final say on the list.

The party source who refused to be named noted: “The issue of campaigns and elections is primarily the reserve and functions of the party, not the candidate. We need to strengthen this. Appointing a presidential council is also the function of the party. And as far as the APC knows, only two names, comprising the Director General and spokesperson of the campaign council, have been appointed. We need to re-emphasize that other names on the list are only in the realm of speculation because they have not been confirmed by the party. They must wait until the national leadership authenticates and confirms it and our chairman announce it.”

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