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National Conference kicks off without APC delegates

It is not by force to attend the conference, says opposition party

The National Conference kicked off on Monday with the representatives of Nigeria’s main opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC, shunning the event.

President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the 492-member conference at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, Abuja, during which he said he had no personal agenda for convening the conference.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Pius Anyim, whose office coordinated the inauguration had, in an opening address, said all 492 delegates confirmed their nomination and were present at the ceremony held in Andrews Otutu Obaseki Auditorium of the NJI.

The five political parties which have representatives in the National Assembly were given two slots each.

The parties are the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Labour Party, LP, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Accord Party, AP, and APC.

But the spokesperson of the APC, Lai Mohammed, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview after the inauguration that the party shunned the event because it had taken a decision not to be part of it.

He said Mr. Anyim was deceiving himself by proclaiming that all the delegates were in attendance, noting that the opposition party had since taken the decision not to honour its invitation to the conference.

“The man (Anyim) is just deceiving himself,” Mr. Mohammed said. “Is it by force to attend the conference? APC has said they will not attend and that is the final decision. The party has agreed for governors to send representatives because it is a state affair, not party’s.”

It was also not clear if APGA was represented at the inauguration following last week’s withdrawal of its nominees by the Federal Government due to the existence of various factions in the party.

Before the government’s decision, the party had forwarded the names of Chris Uche and Sagir Maidoya as its representatives.

A former Governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, and Muhammed Nalado were nominees of the Accord Party while Dan Nwanyanwu and A.A. Salam, National Chairman and National Secretary of LP, respectively, were nominated to represent the party.

A former National Chairman of the PDP, Ahmadu Ali, and Olabode George represented the ruling PDP.

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