2019: Buhari, other APC leaders to hold crucial meetings

The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to hold its first National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting since Senate President Bukola Saraki left the party.

The meeting, according to a top source in the party, will hold at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja by 10 a.m. on Thursday. It is expected to deliberate on the party’s preparation for the 2019 elections especially its primaries.

APC NEC comprises the president, vice president, governors elected under the platform of the party as well as chairpersons of the party in the 36 states.

The Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, former presidents and vice presidents and some former governors are also members of the NEC.

The NEC is the second highest organ of the ruling party, next to the National Convention.

Mr Saraki recently left the APC for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). About a dozen senators, dozens of members of the House of Representatives and state lawmakers, two state governors, and others have also left the APC for the PDP.

The ruling party has, however, also gained some new members including the former Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio.

Before Thursday’s NEC meeting, PREMIUM TIMES gathered that President Muhammadu Buhari will host a meeting of APC Caucus at the State House Presidential Villa on Tuesday evening.

A source at the State House said Mr Buhari, who often holds the caucus meeting the night before the NEC meeting, is forced to hold the coming one on Tuesday because “Mr President is expected to receive British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Wednesday.”

The source said Mr Buhari will have a busy week as he is expected to receive Mrs May “on Wednesday afternoon, attend APC NEC on Thursday and then receive German Chancellor, Angela Markel, on Friday in the morning.”

The source at APC secretariat said the major agenda for the NEC meeting is the party’s preparations and calendar of events towards primary elections expected to commence September. The NEC will be expected to adopt or amend the dates for the party’s primaries for the 2019 election.

The party had last week accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of leaking information on its congresses and primary elections submitted to the commission.

It made the allegation in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in Abuja.

Mr Nabena said there was need for INEC to look into its internal handling of official correspondence in order to put a stop to such leaks.

The party said that it was aware of leakage of a letter by its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to INEC informing it of the schedule of the party’s congresses and primaries to elect party candidates for the 2019 elections.

“These leaks of our sensitive and confidential correspondence to INEC are becoming commonplace and totally unacceptable,” Mr Nabena said.

According to the leaked notice to INEC dated August 17, APC proposes to hold nationwide congresses on September 8.

It also proposed to hold its presidential primary on September 19; House of Representatives primary – September 19, Senatorial primary – September 20, Governorship primary -September 24 and State Assembly primary, September 29.

In his statement, however, Mr Nabena said those dates could still be changed.

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