APC crisis: Buhari takes charge, pushes back govs
• Affirms Yobe gov as CECPC chair, March 26 convention • Buni meets President in London, set to return
• Party cancels today’s NEC meeting as Yari, Akume, others pick chairmanship forms
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, waded into the leadership crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), backing Governor Mai Mala Buni as chairman of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and sanctioning the March 26, 2022 national convention.
Buhari made this known in a letter addressed to the Chairman, Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
In the correspondence, which copied Acting CECPC Chairman, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Director General of the Department of State Services and Inspector General of Police, Buhari based his intervention on the need to prevent the party’s implosion and non recognition of its activities, elections and probable invalidation of all its other actions by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The President stressed the “urgent need for the party to, as much as possible, avoid all controversies, litigations and all other necessary distractions and quickly get its acts together.”
He specifically directed all members of the Governors’ Forum and their followers to “desist from any behaviour or utterance that will likely lead to disunity in the ranks of the party, and ultimately jeopardise the transition to the convention.”
He said: “The issue of the leadership of CECPC should immediately return to status quo ante and that the Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC should be allowed to proceed with all necessary preparations to hold the convention as planned, unfailingly, on March 26, 2022.”
The letter reads: “As you are, no doubt aware, the APC is currently facing a litany of controversies and some level of uncertainties that may ultimately question its status and affect the feasibility of its proposed national convention.
“In addition, it has come to my attention that, because of recent events, the APC is faced with a multiplicity of court cases pending against it in various courts across the country. As a result of this, the party faces the possibility and prospect of the invalidation of all its activities and actions by INEC.
“Furthermore, the party has demonstrated its inability to proceed with the issue of effecting change in the leadership of its CECPC in a way that is inclusive, legal and respectful of the time limit set and required for giving INEC sufficient notice of the time and venue for holding its convention.
“No doubt, these controversies and uncertainties, as enumerated above, pose a real threat to the party, and may lead to a possible non recognition of its activities, elections and the probable invalidation of all its other actions by INEC. This may ultimately even lead its implosion and non-existence.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need for the party to, as much as possible, avoid all controversies, litigations and all other necessary distractions and quickly get its acts together.
“In view of the foregoing, therefore, I would like now to direct as follows:
“First, the issue of the leadership of CECPC, should immediately return to status quo ante:
“Second, all members of the Governors’ Forum and their followers should desist from any behaviour or utterance that will likely lead to disunity in the ranks of the party, and ultimately jeopardise the transition to the convention;
“Third, the Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC should, accordingly, be allowed to proceed with all necessary preparations to hold the convention as planned, unfailingly, on March 26, 2022.”
THIS came as Buni visited Buhari in London, where the latter is currently on a medical check up.
This was contained in a statement by Malam Mohammed Mamman, who is Buni’s Director General, Press and Media Affairs, in Abuja, yesterday.
Mamman said his principal had been in Dubai, UAE, on a medical trip before he flew to London to meet with Buhari.
“Buni had a brief stopover in London after a medical trip to Dubai the United Arab Emirates.
He said: “Buhari and Buni held brief and fruitful discussions on measures to move APC forward, preparatory to the March 26 national convention and the 2023 general elections.
“Buni is expected back in Nigeria on Thursday, to resume office as Chairman APC CECPC.”
In another development, the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting scheduled for today will no longer hold.
Caretaker committee secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, made this known in a terse statement.
He said: “As directed by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning (CECPC) and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, a purported emergency meeting of the party’s NEC slated for Thursday, March 26, 2022 is hereby cancelled.”
The development came barely less than two hours after Buhari threw his weight behind Buni as chairman of the caretaker committee.
MEANWHILE, the national secretariat of the party has become a beehive of activities as the party’s national convention draws nearer.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is especially as aspirants and their supporters continue to throng the secretariat to pick nomination forms for elective and party positions.
Supporters of aspirants, wearing branded T-shirts, were seen carrying posters of their principals and chanting solidarity songs. While the aspirants were not at the party’s secretariat, their representatives picked the forms on their behalf.
Director General, Abudulahi Adamu Campaign Organisation, Mr. Lawrence Unuchukwu, who picked the party’s chairmanship form on behalf of Senator Adamu, told newsmen that the senator has capacity and capability to pilot APC affairs.
According to him, Adamu’s antecedents, especially as governor of Nasarawa State and Chairman of the APC National Reconciliation Committee, stands him out among other aspirants.
He added that the story making the rounds that Adamu is the anointed candidate of Buhari is a plus. “If that rumour is something to go by, for me, it is a boost to us,” he said.
He said this was especially the case because the President, as a man of integrity, would not want to associate with someone who does not have capacity to pilot the party’s affairs.
He added that because the APC, like any other political party has challenges, it needs a man with administrative experience to pilot its affairs and take it to higher level.
“Our President has done well, but he needs a national chairman who will support his legacies and programmes as he is leaving office.
“Everybody has done his best, especially Buni. In life, you will start from somewhere and end somewhere, so that another person starts. I can assure you that with Adamu who has seen it all, as the next national chairman of the APC, the party’s advancement is guaranteed,” he said.
Also at the party’s secretariat, was Senator Tijjani Kaura, who picked the national chairmanship form for Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara.
When reminded that the position had been zoned to North Central, Kaura said his group was not aware. He said the zoning of the party’s chairmanship position to North Central does not matter to Yari’s camp.
“As far as we are concerned, there are contending issues concerning zoning. First, we are fully aware that the national chairanship has been zoned to the North and the presidency has been zoned to the South.
“As you are aware, all positions of the party that were hitherto in the South will go to the North. Zamfara being in the North is therefore well qualified,” he said.
“We are very ready for the party’s national convention, Kaura said, adding that Yari, being one of the founding fathers of APC, has contributed immensely and greatly to its development and is ready to lead it to the next stage.
He said what the party needs at the moment, is a unifier. According to him, there is also the need for the party’s leadership to proffer better ways to manage its internal crisis to prevent disintegration.
“This is a party formed by the coming together of many parties. If care is not taken, the party will be so divided. But Yari, as a founding father, will ensure that the party does not disintegrate,” he said.
Senator Barnabas Gemade was also at the APC secretariat to pick the form for Dr. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, who is also in the party’s chairmanship race.
Gemade, who represented Benue East Constituency at the 9th Senate, was a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The party fixed its chairmanship form at N20 million and its National Secretary and Deputy National Chairman South and North forms at N10 million.
The forms for all other National Working Committee (NWC) positions will be sold at N5 million, while forms for all other National Executive Committee positions will be sold for N1 million.
Forms for other positions at the zones, with the exception of the National Vice Chairman, which is also a member of the NWC, will be sold at N500,000.
Forms will be sold to women and people with physical challenges at 50 per cent of the prescribed fees.