The Coalition of Progressive Women in Nigeria (CPWN) has called on the ruling All Progressives Congress to reschedule its proposed February 26th national convention over alleged plots by some governors to hijack the exercise.
The APC women also urged its Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to instead focus on uniting aggrieved faithful.
The coalition made this known today at a press conference in Abuja ahead of the APC’s planned convention.
In her remarks, the convener, Hon. Cecilia Ikechukwu noted that the “postponement would allow for party members to further air their grievances while exploring the path of reconciliation”.
Ms Ikechukwu further raised the alarm over the overbearing influence of some governors running the affairs of the party and putting their interests first.
She specifically urged the party’s National Executive Council to call Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Governor Simon Lalong and Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to order.
The group, therefore, warned the three governors that any attempt to proceed with the convention will be resisted by women both in the country and abroad.
The group vowed to mobilise and take steps to prove to them that they can be demystified by party members.
They, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, other APC state governors and all leaders of the party to stand up to save the party before it self destructs in the hands of these emperor governors.
Read the full statement below:
Gentlemen of the press, the Coalition of Progressive Women in Nigeria is a pressure group within the All Progressive Congress (APC). It should be noted that our concept of a pressure group is in the sense of playing that motherly role women are imbued with to keep societies stable. We believe that women can ensure stability when they play their role in being peacemakers.
These role expectations notwithstanding, we have largely refrained from pitching into the challenges that beset our party, the APC, in recent months. As it is well known, these challenges might have been worse than what we currently have had the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) not done a great job of dousing tension and reconciling brothers whose differences boiled over in form of what some people refer to as internal party crisis.
We had thought that the Committee would continue to expand its peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts but were rudely shocked when the elective national convention was announced on February 26, 2022. This development is disconcerting for the very reason that it has further frayed already strained intra-party relations.
The logical thing would have been to as much as was possible try to further reconcile the various state factions of the APC. That way, whoever emerges as a candidate for any position will enjoy widespread support going into the 2023 General Elections. But pressing ahead with the National Convention without first putting the house in order is calling for disaster. We have seen it happen in other political parties in the past whereby those who would be dissatisfied with the outcome of a major incident like the National Convention will end up defecting to another political party.
No right-thinking politician will assert that it is a desirable thing to lose members, strategic and high worth members, in an election year, which is the bleak prospect that our party now faces unless something drastic is done to correct the error of fixing a date for the national convention without first addressing underlying issues that threaten the wellbeing of the party.
Consequently, the Coalition of Progressive Women in Nigeria, as concerned mothers, hereby appeals to the National Executive Council (NEC) for the postponement of the APC’s February 26th National Convention until a later date when the party would have made further progress in unifying its members. We firmly believe that the postponement would allow for party members to further air their grievances while exploring the path of reconciliation.
It is our fervent prayer that this appeal does not fall on deaf ears because the consequences could be grievous. We would not like for the appeal to take on the tone of an unheeded warning in the future when irreparable damage would have been done to the party with attendant electoral losses.
In addition to rescheduling the National Convention to a more practical date, we implore the APC NEC to prevail on some of the party’s governors to curtail their excessive intrusion in the running of the affairs of the party. We will specifically ask that the NEC calls the trio of Kaduna State’s Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Plateau State’s Governor Simon Lalong and Kebbi State’s Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to order. It is callous for the likes of Nasir El- Rufai, Lalong and Bagudu to think that their words should be law and the interest of the party should no longer matter.
The overbearing way these people try to foist these personal ambitions and agendas on the party is largely responsible for where the APC has found itself today. Had their excesses been curtailed before they pushed the party into this mess, we would not have been trying to do damage control at a time when we should finalize our victory plan for the elections ahead.
We are therefore warning that we would hold El- Rufai, Lalong and Bagudu responsible for whatever ills the APC suffers should they go ahead with the convention and those aggrieved parties whose grievances have not been addressed decide to leave the party. We would then be compelled to prove to these overbearing governors the power of women as mobilizers as we will take steps to prove to them that they can be demystified by party members.
As women, we are saying that we cannot see danger and keep quiet. We cannot see the party digging its own grave and keeping quiet. We cannot know those acting against the interest of the party and shield them. President Muhammadu Buhari, other APC state Governors and all leaders of the party should stand up to save APC before it destructs at the hands of these emperor governors.
The only way forward is to reschedule the national convention from February 26, 2022 date.