The former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has been appointed to head a 27-member national convention committee which will organise the December 10 presidential primaries to produce the All Progressives Congress (APC) standard bearer for next year’s presidential election.
Members of the committee, which was formally inaugurated on Wednesday at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja, are: Kawu Baraje (deputy chairman), Bosun Mustapha, Dr. Garba Abari, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan Ali (rtd), Prof. Umar Farouk, Hajia Aisha Ibrahim, Mr. Olawale Edu, Prof. Mojeed Alabi.
Others include Edwin Ogunbor, Preye Aganaba Kachy Nwoja, Tony Muonsgor, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Dr. Alex Ideh, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, Senator Osita Izunaso and Lai Mohammed.
Other members of the committee who are representatives of the presidential aspirants include Hon. Greg Eguh, Hon. Faruk Adamu Aliyu, Murtsla S. Garo, Yusuf Mai- Anguwa and Hon. Ifeoluwa Arowosoge.
The setting up of the convention committee came just as the party leadership spoke of plans to hold an emergency rally which sources say might be used to protest against the alleged impunity of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in Ekiti State.
Speaking while inaugurating the convention committee, the party’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, said the time to organise the convention was short, which meant that the challenge before the committee was enormous.
He gave undertaking that the leadership of the party would give the committee members absolute freedom to carry out their assignment.
“I am aware that you have little time to accomplish the assignment. You have about 21 or 22 days to do this and that tells me that the challenge before you is enormous. It means that you are leaving this inaugural ceremony to start work,“ he said.
Oyegun said members of the committee were elected after a long deliberation based on the fact that party was crusading for change.
He said the entire nation was holding its breath in sympathy with the APC, adding that while opponents of the party have been hoping and expecting that the party will falter, Nigerian people have prayed fervently for the opposition party to succeed.
“We need to have people who believe in change and who will practice change by the way they organise and conduct the primaries.
“More so, as the entire nation is holding its breath in sympathy with the APC. You will recall that at every stage of our existence, there have been prophets of doom particularly coming from our opponents on the other side.
“At every stage, there has been saying that we are a collection of strange bed fellows and will not get through. When you go out, the question they ask you is, who is your candidate how will you produce your candidate?” he added.
Oyegun however, said the membership of the committee was not yet complete, adding that five additional names from the North-east will be selected to join the committee.
He said an innovation that was brought into the setting up of the committee was that were aspirant was asked to submit a representative that will be part of the convention committee.
While accepting the challenge on behalf of other committee members, Fayemi said they are delighted to be given the historic assignment to organise the first presidential convention.
“I know that this was going to be a very important assignment. It is an exercise that will set us apart from those who are democrats and those who are monarchists. Those who prefer to coronate and those who want to elect. This assignment is not just about the how, but also about who.
“But the how is far more important than the who for us. That is, the process is more important than the end product for us. What Nigeria requires most is that we demonstrate to the best of our ability, our commitment to internal democracy,” he said.
He called for cooperation from members of the party, expressing the hope that the outcome of the convention would bring about great celebration within and outside the party.