APC NEC meeting, Atiku absent

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The National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) kicked off at about 2.30 pm on Tuesday with President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and about 21 State Governors in attendance.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who was expected at the meeting was absent, but sources close to him said he was out of the country. However, neither the President nor the party chairman made any opening remarks before journalists were asked to leave the hall for the actual meeting to commence.

Governors Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Jibrilla Bindo (Adamawa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Tanko Almakura (Nasarawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) and Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna).

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Others are Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo).

The Senators present at the meeting include Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senate Minority Whip, Francis Alimikhena, Senators Abdullahi Adamu, Binta Garba, Andy Ubah, Magnus Abbe, Dino Melaye, Ahmed Sani Yerima, Gbenga Ashafa and Barnabas Gemade.

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From the House of Representatives came Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Whip, Ado Dogowa among others. Pioneer National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello and Special Adviser to the Vice President on Political Matter, Babafemi Ojodu were also in attendance.

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Before the meeting, a mild drama played out at the entrance to the AOC secretariat as the presidential guard on duty insisted that the governors will be dropped at the gate, while they walk into the secretariat.

Security aides attached to Governor Yahaya Bello who was the first to arrive the secretariat for the meeting engaged in a shouting match which almost resulted in fisticuffs. Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari was furious that his colleagues were asked to walk into the secretariat, insisting that they be allowed to be driven in, while the cars are taken out later, but the head of the security team told him that “it will not work that way”.

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