Our Party, its leadership and members join all Nigerians to celebrate the commencement of another year – 2021. Indeed, the year 2020 evokes mixed feelings for our great Party, the All Progressive Congress (APC). Just like every other sector and activities belabored by the yearlong restrictions globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a party, we did have our share of the inconveniences. Asides the pause of Party activities in the course of the year, we spent a part of the year witnessing internal rancors that almost threatened the kernel of the Party; and thereby warranting the prompt interventions of the Party leadership including NEC.
The fact that the Party survived the onslaught, emerged yet stronger, and went on to win a number of critical elections across the country in the later course of the year is a testament to the great strength of the Party.
The Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) came on board some six months ago as an interim administration to steer the affairs of the Party including organising the all-important Party congresses to elect a substantial Party Executive.
His Excellency, Hon. Mai Mala Buni led-Party National Secretariat accepted the honour of serving our great Party in response to the desire and directive of the National Executive Committee in such a critical period in the life of the Party; and has upon assumption of office, set out desirable action plans for the Party National Secretariat. So far, CECPC has recorded scores of implemented agendas within the limitation of the time frame accorded it.
However, the meeting of the Party NEC in November and the resulting extension of the tenure of CECPC has provided for the Party National Secretariat yet ample opportunity to further complete as much as feasible its set agendas for the Party.
On behalf of the entire staff of the Party National Secretariat and CECPC, I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank and appreciate the support and encouragement of our amiable President and foremost leader of our great Party.
We equally appreciate the leadership of the National Assembly and the entire APC caucus of both chambers for their total support, collaboration, and understanding with regard to the agendas of CECPC in the last six months.
Our great party thanks H.E. Mai Mala Buni for accepting the crucial assignment of serving as Chairman of the CECPC and doubling as Governor of Yobe State.
We thank our ministers for their support, particularly the Attorney General of the Federation for providing legal guidance and advice that has helped the CECPC decisions.
The CECPC also deeply appreciates the confidence and trust our esteemed governors of the Progressive Governors’ Forum reposed in the CECPC.
The NEC has shown trust in the capacity of CECPC to effectively lead the Party until the emergence of a substantive party leadership; and the extension of the tenure of CECPC is an indication of this trust. We appreciate and sincerely thank all the members of NEC for the trust reposed on CECPC.
We equally thank and appreciate all others, the press inclusive, who have contributed in various ways to the success of CECPC hitherto.
When we came on board six months ago, after understudying the state of the Party, the CECPC leadership set its agendas for driving its actions accordingly. The CECPC agenda include:
The need to resolve all pending and emerging internal crisis within the Party at all levels and to create an harmonious working atmosphere for the Party’s coming general convention.
Subsequently, the need to get all ongoing litigations against the Party as well as among members – with bearing to Party issues – withdrawn and terminated
The need to expand the Party membership base via the revalidation of the Party membership, registration of new members and update of the Party membership register
The CECPC also saw the need for the review of the Party Constitution to address identified gaps and issues
The CECPC from the outset was saddled with the task of preparing and leading the Party’s campaign in a number of critical elections for positions at the state and national levels. To this, CECPC had to commence preparation from the outset
The CECPC saw also the need to resolve the ownership tussle surrounding the building that houses the Party National Secretariat.
The CECPC was also aware of the Party’s financial obligations, particularly a number of litigation fees; and thereby prompting it to make the decision from the outset to offset the arrears of these litigation costs.
The preceding became the arrowhead of the CECPC drives in the last six months.
To what extent have we been able to deliver on our plans for the Party as the year 2020 runs to an end?
On the issue of conflict resolution, CECPC did set up several high-profile reconciliation teams across party chapters that were battered by internal crises and has recorded a good number of resolutions that has improved the Party’s stand and cohesion since then. However, we have also recognised that conflicts and conflict resolution in a large family like ours would always be a continuous exercise and as such CECPC has laid a structure for continuous recognition of crisis where they exist and their resolution as much as it is possible
The Party’s effort at resolving internal conflicts at various chapters has paid off with members’ desire in compliance with the Party resolution to withdraw and terminate all ongoing litigations that involve the Party. We did also record few dissidents, despite all reasonable appeals, as per these decision and which as we are all aware have been appropriately dealt with by NEC at the recommendation of CECPC
The Party National Secretariat has widely discussed the need for registration of new members and update of our register to improve on the Party membership and support base nationwide. Our ground preparation has been applauded and approved by NEC and the exercise is set to commence in the last week of the month of January, 2021
We did set up a committee to oversee the review of the Party Constitution and to consider the recommendations of contributors, particularly on contemporary issues that need to be adequately captured. The process is still ongoing.
In the course of the year, since the beginning of the tenure of CECPC, we have led the party into major elections comprising governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly elections. In these elections, the Party did once again prove that it is the Party to reckon with in the country with significant wins across the board. A win in the Ondo State gubernatorial election despite the mass gang up against the Party, the senatorial seats won across Lagos, Plateau and other states as well as the good number of State Houses of Assembly won are parts of the CECPC fears for the year under review. It must be noted that a committee has also been set up to advise the Party National Secretariat on what led to the defeat in Edo state and what actions need to be taken to prevent a recurrence in the future.
Successfully, in the course of the year, we have been able to resolve the ownership tussle surrounding the building that houses the Party National Secretariat and necessary settlement to take full control of the building is already in progress.
Settling of outstanding litigation fees was one of the targets of CECPC from the outset, and that we have been able to deliver to a very large extent in the last six months.
Suffice to say, that as much as CECPC is proud to announce that it has done well by all standards in the last six months, there is still more to be done and which we are set to do and complete before the end of the tenure of CECPC.
We have recognised the need for continued conflict resolution and have decided to vigorously pursue reconciliation on all fronts to emerge as a stronger Party ahead of the congresses and the 2023 general elections.
Having got the approval for the Party membership registration, CECPC is now set to undertake the exercise efficiently and effectively in a record time beginning from the 25th January, 2021
CECPC is fully set to conduct a total congresses for the Party at all levels through a fair and transparent process of electing officials for the various organs of the Party that will culminate in the Party National Convention
The CECPC is working to create a member-centered party structure; one that guarantees the full participation of all members and accord privileges to strengthened members’ trust, beliefs and engagements in all Party activities.
Recognising that time is very well against us, CECPC is already doubling its efforts to meet up with the tasks ahead in 2021. A democracy is as strong as the political parties it produces; and we are rebuilding our Party, APC to strengthen our democracy. We want to assure all our members that our commitment to lead the process of political change in Nigeria is unwavering.
May God continue to bless democracy, Party and Nigeria!
Sen. John J. Akpan Udoedehe Phd.
Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC)
January 1, 2021