Everything is now ready for the special congress and presidential primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) to be held today in Abuja, as food vendors in Eagle Square, who had hoped for brisk sales at the opening ceremony of the All Progressives Congress convention on Monday, expressed disappointment due to boring commercial activities.
The fate of 23 presidential aspirants will be decided by 2,322 delegates to elect or select the party’s flag bearer at the presidential election billed for February 2023.
The eatery owners had anticipated that the three-day presidential primary of the APC would make wearied and hungry delegates, supporters and party members flock to their stands.
The reverse was, however, the case as our correspondent soon discovered when he visited the structure housing about 15 food vendors on Monday.
Except for a few people whom he saw eating, the seats in nearly all the stands were empty.
The car park that used to be jam-packed with vehicles also looked semi-deserted.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had fixed June 6 to 8, 2022 for the special convention and presidential primary.
The venue of the convention is wearing a new look with all the pavillions already assigned to delegates for each state.
The venue is adorned with billboards, banners and posters of all the aspirants.
The delegates’ accreditation earlier slated for yesterday will now hold at the International Conference Centre (ICC) today ahead of the special convention billed to kick off around 3 p.m.
Barring last-minute changes, the ruling party may be heading for an elective primary, as moves to have a consensus arrangement failed.
The Southwest stakeholders’ meetings held yesterday failed to arrive at a consensus candidate, while the meetings of Southeast and Southsouth leaders of the party were deadlocked.
Neither region was able to arrive at the presentation of a consensus candidate at their meetings.
The northern governors of the party had, on Saturday, endorsed power shift to the South at the expiration of the second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
But the decision was vehemently opposed by Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, while his Jigawa State counterpart, Abdubakar Badaru, willingly aligned with the position of his fellow northern governors.
A meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) members and governors was inconclusive last night.
The meeting rose after a 30-minute deliberation at the party’s secretariat due to the inability of National Chairman Abdullahi Adamu to attend the meeting, which 16 of the 22 governors attended.
Those at the meeting included governors of Katsina, Niger, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Osun, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kwara, Plateau, Lagos, Gombe, Bornu and Ogun.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari, explained that the meeting would continue in the night at an undisclosed venue.
The Nation gathered that the meeting was later shifted to the home of the National Chairman at the Villa.
Also Many of the eateries in Eagles Square offers local delicacies and branded with catchy names such as Nwanyi Awka Restaurant, VIP Kitchen, Calabar Hot Spot, Eastern Delicacies and Chukwudinma Nwanyi Owerri.
“Today looks somehow,” Nkechi Amadi, a pensive food vendor, said.
“You won’t believe that you are the fifth person that had visited my stand since morning. Yet, they told us we are going to make a lot of money from this APC convention,” she added.
Another caterer, Juliana Ameh, also shared her concerns when she said that the situation has not always been this ‘dry’ except when workers embark on strike.
The situation, it was gathered, was further worsened by the absence of civil servants, which made up the bulk of their customers.
Many of the workers, who often troop in from the Federal Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which are directly opposite the food stands, were said to have stayed off work.
“We hope tomorrow will be better because we heard many of our regular customers may stay off work until after the APC presidential primary ends,” she stated.
A local guard at the Federal Secretariat, who craved anonymity, said some civil servants returned home after they discovered that the major roads leading to the popular Ahmadu Bello Way and Shehu Shagari road were cordoned.
“Others called in to say they could not withstand the constant harassment that they were subjected to by the security operatives manning the strategic entry and exit points leading to the complex,” he said.
See photos below..