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APC And Its Tradition Of Ex-governor As National Chairman

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The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday, elected former Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, to replace Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the National Chairman of the party.

Since its formation in February 2013 through a merger of Nigeria’s three largest opposition parties; the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the APC has been led by five past governors and a sitting governor.

The 10-year-old party rose from being the main opposition to becoming the ruling party within two years of its formation.

APC’s Muhammadu Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan of the then-ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the March 2015 presidential election, bringing the party to the limelight.

Since the creation of the APC, different top politicians have functioned as both interim and elected National Chairmen.

Chief Bisi Akande was the first interim national chairman of APC. He served as the leader of the party from 2013 to 2014.

Akande governed Osun State from 1999 to 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD).

His appointment as APC chairman was announced by the former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff after a closed-door meeting in Abuja in June 2013, saying it is part of the requirement for the registration of the new party.

He said the appointment of Akande is a consensus decision among the merging parties.

On May 13, 2014, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun replaced Chief Akande as the first elected National Chairman of APC.

Chief Odigie-Oyegun was the Governor of Edo State between 1992 and 1993, during the aborted Nigerian Third Republic. During his tenure as the chairman, the party produced Buhari as the first opposition presidential candidate to defeat an incumbent government.

In 2018, Odigie-Oyegun stepped down from the race, paving the way for another former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to lead the ruling party.

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While announcing his withdrawal, Odigie-Oyegun said, “Even though I had the desire to re-contest as National Chairman of the party, I have decided that it is ultimately in the best interest of the party for me to withdraw from the race”.

He left behind a party ruptured by cracks in many of its state chapters.

Oshiomhole had the support of former President Buhari and other top leaders of the party when he emerged as the National Chairman of the ruling party.

Following the crisis that rocked the Oshiomhole-led APC, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party was dissolved in June 2020.

The dissolution, which was recommended by former President Buhari, was announced by the acting National Chairman of the party, Victor Giadom during the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.

After Giadom declared himself the acting chairman of the APC, he was backed by Buhari but the Oshiomhole faction rejected his leadership at the early stage.

Governor of Yobe State, Mai-Mala Buni, was named chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Committee.

Buni led the 13-member caretaker and convention planning committee in steering the ship of the ruling party. 

Shortly after he was announced, he told journalists that the NEC meeting that produced him was legal as it was a continuation of the notice earlier issued in March, before it was suspended.

Buni’s desire to stay in office nearly jeopardised plans for the 2022 national convention. It was alleged that the Yobe Governor used a third party to obtain a court order temporarily restraining the ruling party from holding its convention until a substantive suit has been heard and determined.

However, the former Governor of Nasarawa, Abdullahi Adamu emerged as national chairman at the APC convention which was held at the Eagle Square in Abuja in March 2022.

Adamu, who left the Senate to become the party’s national chairman, won the 2023 presidential election for the APC.

Nevertheless, Adamu did not support President Bola Tinubu during the primaries, he worked for the former Senate President, Ahmed Lawan.

In July 2023, Adamu tendered his resignation letter alongside the National Secretary of the party, Senator Iyiola Omisore. The action reportedly followed directives by President Tinubu, who was at the African Union (AU) meeting in Kenya at that time.

This gave room for the immediate past Governor of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje to take up the task of leading the ruling party. The announcement has sparked diverse reactions from his supporters and Nigerians. 

The ruling party has the tradition of electing former governors as its chairman at the national level and also unceremoniously sending them off. Could there be a reason for this streak? 

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