ABUJA: The long-awaited national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC would finally begin today, but might not end without casualties, for, though it promises to be a long night, it is most certainly going to be the Night of the Long Knives.
Several decades ago, Adolf Hitler, in order to consolidate his grip on power in Nazi Germany embarked on a mass purge by carrying out a series of politically-motivated extra judicial killings. The purge which was executed by the National Socialist German Party between June 30 and July 2, 1934 later came to be known as the Night of the Long Knives, or Operation Hummingbird or, in Germany, the Röhm Putsch.
When one considers the reported interest of the presidency in the national convention, the Röhm Putsch holds a lot of significance.
As a prelude to the 2019 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari would no doubt want to maintain some form of grip on the party. Despite his seeming aloofness in the affairs of the party, the president or, at least his handlers, are clandestinely not leaving anything to chance. His views and inclination towards party politics appear to be changing.
Hence, it was not surprising reports by Vanguard within the week to the effect that the president is not too keen on having most members of the current National Working Committee NWC of the party returned to their offices. The report was that the president is majorly interested in the offices of the National Chairman, National Secretary and the National Organizing Secretary, but further checks revealed that the presidency is actually interested in virtually all the offices.
While there have been attempts to get the incumbent National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the National Organizing Secretary, Sen. Osita Izunaso not to stand for a re-election, the presidency had in the same breathe validated the aspiration of the National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni.
There is however still an attempt to ease out Sen. Izunaso in order to placate the governors and especially, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum PGF, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo state. There are also attempts to draw up a harmonized list of aspirants which would exclude most members of the current NWC.
And with the president’s recent decision to call the bluff of members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party PDP, there could be serious attempts to also shut out nPDP members who are in the current NWC. These include the National Treasurer, Bala Gwagwarwa, an ally of former Kano state Governor, Sen. Rabiu Musa; the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi of the Senate President Bukola Saraki tendency; and the National Youth Leader, Ibrahim Jalo from the Sen. Danjuma Goje camp. Others are the National Vice Chairman, Northwest, Inuwa Abdulkadir of the Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal group and the Deputy National Secretary, Victor Giadom who is seen as a close ally of Transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi.
Already, there are indications that among the NWC, only the secretary, Buni has gotten a presidential nod to return to office. So, as the president rejigs his political machinery ahead of 2019, he would surely be wielding the long knife tonight.
66 Offices to be contested at APC National Convention
No fewer than 66 offices, including those of the National Working Committee NWC and other National Offices, would be contested by at least 163 aspirants in today’s National Convention. Below is a list of the offices and a few of the aspirants whose posters adorn the party and convention secretariats.
1. National Chairman: Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
2. Deputy National Chairman (North): Hon. Farouk Adamu Aliyu
3. Deputy National Chairman (South)
4. National Secretary: Mai Mala Buni
5. Deputy National Secretary: Victor Giadom
6. National Vice Chairmen (Zonal Chairmen)
1. North East: Comrade Mustapha Salihu
2. North West: Inuwa Abdulkadir
3. North Central
4. South South: Hilliard Eta, Ntufam Emmanuel Anom
5. South East
6. South West
7. National Legal Adviser
8. Deputy National Legal Adviser
9. National Treasurer: Bala Usman
10. Deputy National Treasurer: Tanko Mohammed Zakari
11. National Financial Secretary
12. Deputy National Financial Secretary
13. National Organizing Secretary: Sen. Osita Izunaso, Hon. Chidi Nwogu Chief Longers Anyanwu, Dr. C.C Osuala and Barr. Emma Ibediro.
14. Deputy National Organizing Secretary: Dr Ishaku Mabushi Shekarau
15. National Publicity Secretary : The contestants are Bolaji Abdullahi, Lanre Issa-Onilu, Duro Meseko and Abusidiq Usman.
16. Deputy National Publicity Secretary
17. National Welfare Secretary
18. Deputy National Welfare Secretary: Alh. Jamilu Baba Jos
19. National Auditor: George Moghalu and Chukwuemeka E. Nwogbo
20. Deputy National Auditor: Abubakar Adamu Abubakar
21. National Women Leader: Salamatu Baiwa and Ramatu Tijani
22. Deputy National Women Leader
23.National Youth Leader
24.Deputy National Youth Leader
25.Special (Physically Challenged) Leader:
26. Zonal Secretary
1. North East
2. North West
3. North Central
4. South South
5. South East
6. South West
27. Zonal Youth Leader
28. North East: Jibrilla Madu Gadzama, Sule Yakubu
29. North West
30. North Central
31. South South
32. South East
33. South West
28. Zonal Organizing Secretary
29. North East
30. North West
31. North Central
32. South South: Atiang James Udeh, Cletus Ogbang
33. South East
34. South West
29. Zonal Women Leader
30. North East
31. North West
32. North Central
33. South South
34. South East
35. South West
30. Ex-officio members
31. North East
32. North West
33. North Central
34. South South
35. South East
36. South West