President Muhammadu Buhari has urged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to keep faith with the party as it tries to resolve its internal differences.
He said this on Saturday as the party held its national convention in the nation’s capital, Abuja, under tight security.
“The unresolved cases we have is the price we have to pay for success, as everyone wants to be associated with the winning team,” he told delegates at the Eagle Square.
“I am imploring all those with grievances to keep faith with the party until we put things right.
“You are all important to our party progress and all must come together to ensure success in the forthcoming polls so as to enable us to continue the good work we have been doing for our fellow Nigerians.”
Shortly after the President’s address, the party affirmed Adams Oshiomhole as the new national chairman of the party.
The former Edo State Governor was affirmed after he emerged as the sole candidate for the position.
He was one of about 18 candidates affirmed unopposed by delegates at the convention.
It is the first time the party will be holding a national convention since it swept to power at the Federal level and in most states in the country, while also taking control of the National Assembly.
The convention which is taking place eight months before the 2019 general elections and at a time the party is facing increasing internal problems, also held amidst a downpour.
Since 2015, the party has witnessed divisions among its members in some states, a development that threatened its ward and state congresses, which were held in May.
There have been friction and clashes between members of the party in the National Assembly, Kogi State, Kaduna State, and Rivers State. The National Assembly has also had an often-frosty relationship with the executive despite APC’s control of both arms of government.
The party’s internal crisis led President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint the national leader of the APC and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, to lead the party’s reconciliation efforts in February this year.
Months after, not much has changed in Kogi State where Senator Dino Melaye and Governor Yahaya Bello remain at odds with each other and in Kaduna where the two APC senators from the state have been suspended by the party and did not participate in the congresses.
The crisis within the party was evident during the congresses as factional state congresses were held in some states, including Rivers State.
Tinubu himself and the National Chairman of the Party, John Odigie-Oyegun, have not enjoyed the best of relationship with the former Lagos State governor accusing Odigie-Oyegun in February of sabotaging his reconciliatory efforts.
Furthermore, the decision to hold a national convention was not without its own controversy. It was taken after an initial decision by the National Executive Committee of the party in February to extend the tenure of its National Working Committee by a year effective June was met with criticism by members.
It took the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari for the tenure elongation to be reversed in favour of a national convention.
With ward and state congresses held earlier as well as today’s convention, the APC is now looking to put its challenges aside as it completes the process of choosing leaders and consolidating its grip on power in 2019.