All Progressives Congress (APC) is bracing to amend its Constitution ahead of the February 26 National Convention. The party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) has already served a notice of the proposed amendment.

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari says the party must be made attractive for young people to take ownership of the party. He was speaking at the State House, Abuja where he played host to the APC national youth lobby committee led by the national youth leader, Ismaeel Ahmed.

Buhari who said young people’s inclusion in governance would encourage learning and mentoring in government and politics also mandated his Chief of Staff and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to ensure that all ministers and heads of agencies include young people with the requisite skills and experience in all boards and committees of the Federal Government.

He asked the SGF to submit a report on the inclusion of young people on boards and committees that are yet to be constituted, next month. The president further directed Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff, and the SGF to ensure monthly engagements with the APC Youth Lobby group for better synergy and cross-pollination of ideas and opportunities.

Buhari urged both senior government officials to explore the establishment of a committee of young people to form the monitoring and evaluation team of ongoing Federal Government projects across the country.

The president said the committee would provide feedback that will enable his government to hold public office holders and those given responsibilities to account.

He also welcomed the idea of the establishment of a Presidential Committee on Youth in liaison with the youth leader, requesting the SGF and the Chief of Staff to work out the modalities for its operationalization. President Buhari told the APC Youth Lobby Group led by Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed that the leadership of the party would ensure full participation of young people at all levels.

”I will also support the aspirations of credible and committed young people who are vying for positions in the upcoming convention.

”It is also in our interest to ensure the longevity of our party by standardizing and institutionalizing the leadership recruitment system. Hardworking and exemplary individuals should be identified and encouraged and mentored. It should be a deliberate policy of the progressives in ensuring that we have a robust succession plan in place,” he said.

Commending members of the APC National Youth Lobby group for the work they are doing for the party, the president said: ”You are not begging, but negotiating, staking a claim, and seeking to add value, which is admirable.”

He urged them to help the party achieve a successful Convention on February 26, 2022, and in subsequent elections in Ekiti and Osun states. President Buhari declared that APC must be made attractive for younger people to continuously take ownership of it because that is the future, and ”that is what progress means.”

Expressing support for the establishment of the Progressive Institute for the party, the President said: ”The party must have an Institute where its ethos, character, and mantra are inculcated in our members. I will rely on you to share the concept note for further action.”

The president, who endorsed the 2021 APC Youth Conference Report, presented to him, assured the group that the recommendations in the report that are within his own remit would be given favourable consideration. He also promised to encourage the leadership of the states and the party to implement the recommendations of the report for the benefit of young progressives.

Describing the president as the leader of the party and moral compass of the nation, the APC Youth leader thanked him for sending a powerful delegation to the Progressive Youth Conference in June 2021, demonstrating that the present government believes in young people.

”Mr President, young people in Nigeria believe in your capacity and the history of your public service. You joined the Army at the age of 20, you joined the war to save the country at the age of 25, became a governor at the age of 33, minister at 36, and Head of State at 41.

”You joined politics at the age of 60 and was elected President at the age of 72. You have demonstrated through your personal example, the integrity that very few people have had the opportunity to demonstrate in the country,” he said.

However, National Secretary, APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Sen. John James Akpanudodehe, said that the key amendments in the party’s Constitution was: the creation of zonal congresses and replacement of the Board of Trustees (BoT) under a new title called National Advisory Council with streamlined memberships and clear powers and functions.

Akpanudodehe also states that the proposed constitutional amendment is out to: Clarify ambiguities in the Constitution; Fill gaps that became apparent; Recognize and expand platforms for the participation of critical groups such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities; Clarify powers of National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Working Committee (NWC); Clearer accountability by organs of the party; New organs for the efficient administration of the party; Fair distribution of income between national and sub-national organs and; Clarify disciplinary procedures and powers etc.

“In accordance with Article 30 (iii) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Constitution, the Governor Mai Mala Buni-chaired Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) has served a notice of proposed amendments to the Party’s Constitution on members of the National Convention.

“Article 30 (iii) stipulates that the notice is served at least 14 days before the date of the National Convention at which the proposed amendments are to be considered.

“APC Constitution 2014 has been in effect for almost eight years and together with judgements from courts of competent jurisdiction, administrative experiences have revealed flaws in the Constitution. It became imperative to conduct a review of the party’s Constitution”, he said.

According to him, a Constitution Review Committee under the chairmanship of Prof. Tahir Mamman was put in place by CECPC to thoroughly review the Constitution in accordance with Article 30 which provides for Constitutional amendments.

The Committee adopted an all-inclusive approach which led to the draft proposals.