The All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to have soft-pedaled in its opposition to the forthcoming national conference being organised by the federal government, with the leadership of the party accepting to rescind its planned boycott of the talks.
The party has also given states under its control the go-ahead to nominate delegates for the summit scheduled to begin next month.
The leaders of the opposition party had been in the frontline of critics of the national conference, describing it as a fruitless exercise designed to distract the attention of Nigerians from the failings of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led federal government.
However, THISDAY gathered that the APC leadership had come under considerable pressure from its state governors to reverse the decision to totally boycott the exercise.
The party has not only shifted grounds to participate in the conference but is also considering setting up a committee to articulate and coordinate its agenda during the conference.
It was learnt that following some governorsâ€™ apparent discomfort over the reports that the presidency had perfected plans to use its initiative to appoint delegates to replace of the slots allotted to the state belonging to the APC, hence their decision to prevail on the party to shift ground on the matter.
A reliable source told THISDAY yesterday that the APC leaders had conferred on the issue and agreed that its state governors can go ahead and nominate delegates to attend the conference.
â€œOur decision to ask our governors to nominate people to go for the conference was meant forestall a diabolical plans by the presidency to hijack the slots for APC states and appoint its stooges in Afenifere to pose as representatives of the people. By allowing our governors to take their slots, we have smartly beaten them to their games and has now destabilised their plans, â€œ he said.
The source told THISDAY that in addition to the approval for the APC states to take part in the conference, the party is also planning to set up a committee that will coordinate its agenda at the conference.
He said the reason for allowing the APC states to participate in the conference is because while the party is a partisan body, the state governments represent the entire interest of the people of the state that cannot be subsumed under the party.
According to the source, APCâ€™s change of attitude was also guided by the fact that it now controls a substantial number of states with about 48 slots which will give it a good hold on whatever decision that may be arrived at during the conference.
â€œWith about 48 slots for our states and two for the party, we feel that the party constitutes large chunk of the country whose lives and aspirations the conference would be at stake if the it is allowed to be dominated by questionable characters, â€œ he said.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has forwarded to President Jonathan a list of the stateâ€™s nominees to the conference.
The list was contained in a letter addressed to the president and dated February 19.
The Ekiti delegation include: International Law expert, Prof Akin Oyebode; Prof Bisi Aina; Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Rev. Felix Ajakaye; elder statesman and chairman of defunct Movement for Ekiti State Creation, Chief Oladeji Fasuan; Secretary, Yoruba Unity Group, Dr. Kunle Olajide and Chairman, Ekiti State Council of traditional rulers, Oba Idowu Adamo Babalola.
According to the governorâ€™s letter, which was routed through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Oyebode, Aina and Ajakaye are to represent Ekiti North, Ekiti Central and Ekiti South senatorial districts respectively.
Chief Fasuan, who leads the Ekiti delegation is a nominee for the elder statesman slot.
Olajide and Oba Adamo Babalola are the stateâ€™s representatives for the two slots allocated to Ekiti out of the 15 slots to represent ethnic nationalities/groups in the zone.