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Lifeline for Buni team as APC NEC set to extend tenure

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Next Tuesday, the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (NCECPC) would most likely receive a further lifeline to continue in office .

That outcome is one of the resolutions expected from the emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which has been scheduled for December 8.

Investigation by The Guardian revealed that contrary to public perception that the emergency NEC meeting was convened to deliberate on the court case instituted against the NCECPC by some members of the dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, the main business of NEC will be elongating the committee’s tenure, ratifying membership registration and adopting the committee’s programmes towards the convention of the party.

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NCECPC Secretary, Senator John Udoedeghe, had, in a statement by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, disclosed that the NEC meeting would be virtually conducted in line with the COVID-19 protocols, without expatiating on the agenda of the meeting.

Efforts to get Nabena’s comments on the agenda of the emergency NEC meeting did not yield results, but sources within the NCECPC confided in The Guardian that the virtual meeting, which has been slated for 11a.m. on Tuesday at the Council chambers of the Presidential villa, is ostensibly to “infuse further lifeline to the Buni committee as well as the membership registration expected to kick off on December 12.”

One of the sources stated that the party was not bothered by the litigation instituted by a former National Vice Chairman, South-South, Chief Hillard Etta, stressing that the “much that action could get by way of attention is the expulsion of the litigant.”

He said the Buni committee had succeeded in laying the foundation for the birth of a genuine internal democracy in the governing party, adding that the extension of the initial six-month duration was aimed at encouraging the committee to accomplish its assignment successfully.

“There is nothing like that. We are going ahead with our programmes to bring internal democracy in the orgnaisation of the party. You know I am not supposed to talk to the press but I can assure you the President is happy with the way we are going,” he stated.

Another source dismissed the court case, pointing out that the “Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, did a yeoman’s work and adopted the terminology of extraordinary caretaker and planning committee for the NCECPC.

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The source, a former lawmaker, stated: “The claim by the disgruntled litigant that Governor Buni was holding a party office does not amount to anything. It is an extraordinary committee charged with the responsibility of administering and planning a convention.

“You see, this does not make the Yobe governor an officer of the party. We know where all that is coming from and it is this attempt by people with deep pockets to own the party the committee wants to stop.”

He added that membership registration exercise was aimed at making sure that “direct primaries are feasible, authentic and credible,” pointing out that the party noted complaints against the dissolved NWC and was determined to correct mistakes of the past.

The Guardian gathered that the tenure elongation for the Buni committee is aimed at ensuring that the committee oversees the election of delegates from across the country to participate in the national convention.

It could not be ascertained whether the extra six months to be approved for the committee would be enough to accomplish the plans, even as every indicator points to the possibility of further extension that might push the convention towards December 2021.

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Recall that the Chairman of NCECPC, Mallam Buni, had in a statement disclosed that membership registration, which had been endorsed by key stakeholders, including President Muhamadu Buhari, had been scheduled to begin on Saturday, December 12.

Governor Buni remarked that the exercise would end on January 9, stressing that during the period, the APC faithful would be expected to revalidate their membership in their respective wards.

“The process of distributing the membership registration and revalidation of materials to all the states, local governments and wards would be concluded before December 12, 2020,” Buni stated, adding that party leaders at states, local government and ward levels have been enjoined to take all necessary steps to ensure smooth and transparent registration exercise.

Former National Vice Chairman (South-South), Etta, approached Federal High Court seeking the court’s order to sack the Buni committee for infringing on the APC Constitution as well as well as the 1999 Constitution.

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