The former governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has been tipped as the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Daily Trust reliably gathered last night.
Ganduje, 73, was yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he met with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and three governors who are members of the APC.
Barring any last-minute changes, the former governor will be named as interim national chairman of the ruling party, pending the conduct of the convention of the party later in the year.
Recall that this paper had exclusively reported on Monday the resignation of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the party’s national chairman. Adamu, following a plot to edge him out, tendered his resignation on Sunday. The national secretary, Iyiola Omisore, has also resigned.
Ganduje is set to take over from Senator Abubakar Kyari who was named as the acting national chairman on Monday. Kyari, who hails from Borno State, is the deputy national chairman of the party (North).
It was gathered that President Tinubu had on his return from the African Union (AU) meeting in Kenya on Monday, indicated interest in making Ganduje the party chairman.
Thus, the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, who is the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), was contacted to get the buy-in of his colleagues and other critical stakeholders.
Uzodinma met with Ganduje on Tuesday, and yesterday, they both met President Tinubu along with Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun.
At the meeting, a presidency source said the choice of Ganduje was sealed. Thereafter, the president, three governors and Ganduje met with Vice President Kashim Shettima.
A source said, “It was on Monday that the issue of making Ganduje the chairman of the party started when the chairman of the PGF met with him in Abuja. Uzodinma told the former Kano State governor of the president’s intention to make him the party’s chairman.”
He said the issue was finalised yesterday when the president met Ganduje together with the three governors.
“From all indications, the issue is sealed. He would first be announced as the interim national chairman before the convention of the party, where his appointment would be ratified,” the source added.
With this, the party’s plum seat has moved from the North Central geopolitical zone where Senator Adamu hailed from, whose resignation ignited lobbying by chieftains of the party in his geopolitical zone.
Jubilation in Kano
Meanwhile, our correspondent in Kano State yesterday reported that the news of the selection of Ganduje for the party’s plum job has filtered into the centre of commerce.
Top shots of the party have been rejoicing over the selection of Ganduje.
An aide of the former governor, while confirming the report, said Ganduje’s selection would strengthen the party in the state and by extension the northwest and the country as a whole.
Speaking to our correspondent in Kano, a chieftain of the APC, who is also a serving chairman of one of the local government areas in the state, said they have been informed that the former governor did not make the ministerial list.
He said what they were told was that Ganduje would be given the opportunity to fill in the newly vacant position of the ruling party’s chairmanship.
“For us, this is even better news because as the party chairman, Baba (Ganduje) will be directly involved with not just the party but also maintain his cordial relationship with the president,” he said.
When asked, however, if he knew what was responsible for the decision, he said what they knew for certain was that was “not a victory for the opposition that had been carrying out a campaign of calumny but a strategic and political calculation by the president.”
Daily Trust reports that the state’s Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) has reopened investigations into the alleged dollar bribery video showing the former governor stuffing dollar notes into his pocket as kickback from a contractor.
The former governor has vehemently denied the allegation and said the video was doctored.
This investigation, observers believed, might have put the president in a difficult situation as to the appointment of the former governor as a minister.
Meanwhile, the court case instituted by Ganduje to stop the anti-graft agency from investigating him or any member of his family or his associates and appointees on the alleged video would be coming up for hearing tomorrow.
Tinubu meets VP, Akpabio, govs
President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima on Wednesday met President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio and some governors on what was called “continued consultation with key players on how to get the national economy on sound footing.”
The governors included the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara State); chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Hope Uzodinma (Imo State); Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos); and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun). Ganduje was also part of the meeting.
The Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, said the meeting also looked at how to finalise arrangements on the distribution of palliatives to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
The presidency had earlier also proposed the distribution of grains and fertilizers to farmers as part of measures to boost food security in the country.