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APC crisis: Confusion over APC leadership



There may not be light at the end of the tunnel in the precarious situation facing the All Progressives Congress (APC) as both the proposed March 26 national convention and unresolved headship of the party are still shrouded in controversy and doubts.


While the myriads of legal suits and constitutional hurdles on the side of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), pose serious challenge to the certainty of holding the convention, on the chosen date, the antagonism from some members of the APC Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and members of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) against Governor Mai Mala Buni have combined to complicate the leadership problem.

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On assumption of office on Monday, the acting Chairman CECPC, Governor Sani Bello of Niger State had created the impression that the door was shut behind Governor Buni, noting that he could not account for his future within the party. Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State escalated the doubt when they emphasized that Buni was as good as gone. According to El-Rufai, Governor Sani Bello is in charge and he has the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari and 19 of 23 APC governors. Buni, he said, can only return as Governor of Yobe State but never as chairman of the party.


“President Buhari ordered his removal and this has been implemented,” he said. “Governor Bello has taken over and things are moving according to plan. The party will be restored and convention will take place as scheduled. The 19 governors and their deputies are solidly behind this move.” His Ondo State counterpart, Akeredolu, alleged that Buni was working with “Yahoo Yahoo” politicians to stop the party’s convention.

But in a confession that appears to complicate the situation, Governor Sani Bello-led CECPC has admitted that Buni is still in charge of the party. Speaking during a press conference at the national secretariat of the party, Mr Ismaeel Ahmed, Caretaker Committee member representing the Youth, said that the position of Governor Buni, as the chairman of the CECPC, was incontrovertible, emphasising that Bello is only on acting capacity.

The new spokesperson of the ruling party further insisted that the March 26 proposed national convention is sacrosanct despite the misunderstanding trailing the correspondence with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stopping the emergency virtual National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting scheduled for March 17, 2022.

According to him the March 26 date has not changed. He explained what happened. “The chairman wrote a letter and transmitted power to Governor Bello to enable him go for medical treatment,” he said. “Those are two emergencies. He has a medical emergency, that cannot wait for the Convention. We have a convention that cannot wait for him to be healthy. So, one has to leave for the other, whichever, he has transmitted a letter and Governor Sani Bello has been acting appropriately. Why is it so difficult for people to understand that?


“So, Governor Sani Bello is acting on the full authority of the Caretaker Committee and with the full authority of the stakeholders and with the full consent of Governor Mai Mala Buni. It is very clear and simple. If anybody has issues with any of our decisions, he can head to court. For now, we are doing it with the full backing of the law. So, there is no ambiguity on this, absolutely none.”

But the rejected letter from INEC requesting the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) emergency virtual meeting based on the discrepancies in the signatories has heightened the doubt for the party’s national convention. On the position of the Caretaker Committee, Ahmed said: “We fixed 17 March for the NEC meeting of the party which is meant to ratify, of course, the March 26 convention and to update the members of NEC on the details of the exercise. Convention will hold on March 26. I am not only a youth leader or internal spokesperson of the party, but also a lawyer. And we have served a notice to INEC. We served that notice on the 5th of February and that was the required 21 days. If you are going to make any adjustment to that date, all you need is a letter. You don’t need another 21 days and that letter was since written about two weeks ago, when we realised that we couldn’t hold it on the 26th of February. The moment, the CECPC agreed on March 26, that letter was written to INEC. INEC has accepted that letter.”

He continued: “The issue of the date of convention is not in question, not in INEC, not certainly with us. That is settled. We have complied with all the rules and have notified INEC as appropriately expected for us to do. So that’s no longer an issue. Somebody asks, what is the status of the NEC meeting that we signed. I think Prof. Tahir Maman who is overseeing the legal department would be addressing you once all these issues are clarified but notice has been sent out for NEC meeting. We are still on that, whatever it is that’s going on.”





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