Fresh crisis rocks APC as Niger governor assumes party chairman
March 7, 2022
*Says I have Buhari’s blessings
*As Zoning committee submits report
*Buni’s sack story paints Buhari as dictator- Lukman
The simmering leadership crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress for weeks now took a different dimension on Monday in Abuja when the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, stormed the party’s national secretariat to assume Chairmanship of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
Bello, who arrived amid heightened security presence comprising about 70 security personnel with no less than 15 patrol vehicles, which barricaded access roads to the premises, said he had the blessing of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
According to him, he will be serving in acting capacity as the CECPC Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State is currently in Dubai on health grounds.
Bello disclosed this to correspondents shortly after a meeting with members of the CECPC and State Chairmen over which he presided.
When asked to clarify his new capacity on the committee, Bello said “Acting Chairman. I have been acting for a while since the Chairman travelled.”
On reports about the purported sack of Mai Mala Buni as Chairman, he replied, “No comment.”
Explaining the purpose of his visit to the National Secretariat, the acting Chairman said “The States Chairmen took their oath of office today and we discussed progress made so far on Convention and what needs to be done next so that we will achieve the March 26 date for Convention.”
Our correspondent observed that the development appeared strange to some party officials who said the National Secretary of the CECPC, Dr John Akpanudoedehe, has always overseen the daily operations of the party, including the handing of certificates to State Chairmen in early February, and not the Niger State Governor.
As acting Chairman, Bello also received a report of the party’s Zoning Committee ahead of the March 26 National Convention.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Zoning Committee was constituted last Tuesday with Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, as Chairman.
According to the APC, the committee was inaugurated to ensure a just and equitable sharing formula of leadership positions in all the geopolitical zones in the country.
Speaking after receiving the report, the Niger State governor said his role on the CECPC has the President’s blessing.
He also explained the reason for the heightened security presence, saying it was meant to maintain law and order in the midst of Monday’s “major event”.
“Every time there is a major event, we beef up security. Today, we have a major event and all the chairmen came in, so they are to maintain law and order.
“Most of my colleagues are here to support me to receive the report. You know the zoning committee report is a very important one. And all the governors here are here to support me. Now, at the zonal level, they can go and do their work,” he said.
Asked if the happenings at the Secretariat had the blessing of the President, he said: “Of course”.
Receiving the report, the Acting Chairman commended members saying, “I will like to thank you for this assignment handled in a very mature manner. This is the beginning of good things to come to our party.
“This exercise was hitch free and by God’s grace every other exercise will be hitch free.”
Earlier, the chairman, APC Zoning Committee and Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrazaq, who thanked the Party for the opportunity to serve, said the Committee’s assignment was completed within the time frame of the responsibility.
Monday’s development followed reports that the Niger State Governor has taken over the APC as ‘sole administrator’ following the “sack” of Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, as chairman of the caretaker committee.
The reports also asserted that President Buhari approved Buni’s sack and Bello’s appointment shortly before leaving Abuja to London Sunday afternoon.
But the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressive Congress denied reports that the President has sacked its Chairman.
A statement signed by the National Secretary of the CECPC, Dr John Akpanudoedehe, titled ‘Fake news: No leadership change in APC CECPC,’ revealed that leadership changes are not announced by ‘sources’ through name-dropping in the media.
The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to sponsored media reports on an imaginary leadership change in the All Progressives Congress Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
“The media report is fake news and should be disregarded. The APC is a progressive political party guided by rules. Leadership changes are not announced by ‘sources’ through name dropping in the media.
We urge our teeming supporters, members and indeed the general public to remain calm and support the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC CECPC conduct a rancour-free and credible National Convention.”
State governors present during the submission of the zoning report include Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Hope Uzodinma of Imo, Babagana Zulum of Borno and Muhammad Yahaya of Gombe.
Meanwhile, the immediate-past Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman, has faulted reports that the President has sacked Governor Mai Mala Buni as National Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC of the APC.
In a statement he signed on Monday titled ‘Rescuing APC: A task for all Party Leaders’, Lukman argued that the story was sponsored by party members sympathetic to Buni so as to paint Buhari a dictator.
According to Lukman, the Buni-led Caretaker Committee is battling several allegations, especially one purporting that the committee has allegedly procured a court order against holding the national convention on March 26; but which it plans to tender a few days to the convention.
He said; “The sensational but mischievously planted news in some media is that President Buhari has sacked His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni as APC CECPC Chairman and replaced him with His Excellency, Abubakar Bello as Sole Administrator.
“This is a clear misrepresentation of all the internal contests in the APC aimed at rescuing the party from the mutinous leadership of Mai Mala Buni, John Akpanudoedehe and their few collaborators.”
Lukan claimed that Buhari, like most party leaders and members, is highly disappointed at the serial cases of deliberate efforts by Buni and his associates to block the APC Convention from holding based on alleged personal ambitions.
“Between November 2021 and January 2022, the APC Convention had to be postponed three times because of deliberate refusal to initiate most the processes required, such as booking the venue for the Convention and serving the statutory three weeks’ notice to INEC.
“In addition, there were other serious allegations against the leadership of Mai Mala Buni, which include the discovery that his group, since November 2021, had obtained a Court injunction against the Convention and are waiting until three or two days to the Convention before serving it on the party to succeed in blocking the March 26 APC Convention from holding.
“The plot is that Buni wants to continue to run the affairs of the party and conduct the party’s primary where candidates for 2023 elections would emerge. Based on that there are specific allegations of Buni striking some deals with some Presidential aspirants to ensure their emergence as the Presidential Candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections,” he alleged.
He said it would be difficult for members and leaders to continue to trust Buni’s leadership due to an alleged attempt to constitute another Zoning Committee after an existing decision between the President and Progressive Governors on zoning, based on which party stakeholders at zonal levels are to finalise negotiations.
According to him, “This is the time when Mai Mala Buni and John Akpanudoedehe and all their collaborators are required to demonstrate their loyalty to the party and President Buhari.
“Attempts to delegitimise the process of changing the leadership will only confirm their undertaker mission rather than serving as leaders of the CECPC. All party leaders and members should support other members of the CECPC to rise to this occasion by ensuring that they effectively enforce collective leadership in the CECPC at this critical point in the life of the APC.
Similarly, all leaders and members of the party must be vigilant to ensure that the new leadership of the party to emerge from all the internal contests currently going on are leaders that will faithfully implement all decisions, especially the scheduled March 26, 2022 APC Convention.”
Leave A Comment