Sources close to the party told our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday that forces loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who are working to ensure the candidate of the ANN steps down for the ruling party ahead of the 2019 election, are said to be battling what they believe to be the interest of some Generals in the presidential candidate of the party.
It was gathered that loyalists of the APC are said to have instigated moves to ensure the emergence of a candidate that would later step down for the candidate of the ruling party before the general elections.
The battle for the control of the party is currently between the leading presidential aspirant, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim and another presidential hopeful, Mr. Fela Durotoye.
Sources close to the party also confirmed that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party led by Pastor Emmanuel Dania has failed to call a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to ratify the guidelines for the primaries.
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr, Akinloye Oyeniyi, while speaking to our correspondent on the issue, said that “the issue of guildlines has been settled “.
He said that the party only has some “little issues” which he said would be resolved at a meeting on Thursday night.
Further investigations however revealed that some forces who got wind of a possible endorsement of the candidature of Mr. Olawepo -Hashim by the class of retired Generals from the Middle-Belt Region were jittery and planned to frustrate his emergence.
Olawepo Hashim had earlier been shortlisted among the four Presidential hopefuls named by the elders of Middle Belt Forum some months back.
It was gathered that the forces were pushing for the emergence of another aspirant with the possibility that the said aspirant would step down for the candidate of the ruling party close to the 2019 election.
It was learnt that the church is playing a huge role in the emerging controversy with the said forces said to be pushing for an immediate national convention even before the ratification of the guidelines.
The plan to conduct the primaries without an agreed guidelines is contrary to Section 29(1&2) of the ANN constitution, which makes it mandatory that guidelines must be ratified by the NEC before the primaries.
Section 29(1) of the ANN Constitution reads: The National Executive Committee shall, subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria( as amended) and the Electoral Act( as amended) and this Constitution, formulate guidelines and regulations for the nomination of candidates for election into public offices at all levels and shall be the final authority for resolving all disputes relating to choice of candidates for any election…”
Section 29(2) also indicated that the National Executive Committee shall regulate procedures for selecting party’s candidates for all elective offices.