Bello takes charge, says APC zoning formula ready
• Buni will resign if he hears directly from Buhari, says Akpanudoedehe
• Refutes media reports of his resignation
• APC not eligible to contest elections, says PDP
The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, who now heads the All Progressives Congress (APC), Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), yesterday disclosed that the report of the zoning formula of “the party is now ready”.
Bello, who fielded questions from reporters yesterday at the party national secretariat in Abuja, also disclosed that the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party will hold next week.
He said: “The report of the zoning formula has been submitted and adopted and it will be released any moment from now. Hopefully, by next week, the NEC meeting will hold.” Bello assured that preparation for the party’s national convention scheduled to hold on March 26 is going on as planned.
“Basically, today we look at the convention sub-committee and we collected some of the reports from the committee hoping that tomorrow we will decide on the next step to take. Nothing much happened today,” he noted.
On whether the CECPC secretary, Akpanudoedehe is still part of the new leadership, Bello quipped, “Ask him.” But Akpanudoedehe insisted that Governor Mai Mala Buni remains the chairman of the party, noting that Buni can only step down if he gets verbal directive from President Muhammadu Buhari.
He, however warned those he alleged of dropping the President’s name to cause confusion in the party to desist. He also refuted the media reports that he has resigned as the secretary of the CECPC.
The embattle secretary of the CECPC, who spoke to reporters while refuting media reports that he had resigned his position, hinted that those behind the purported removal of Buni from office may have dropped the name of President Buhari to score their goals.
Akpanudoedehe who appeared worried over the report declared that both he and Buni could not rely on media report to vacate their respective seats.
According to him: “I have read in social media that I have resigned as Secretary of the APC. I want to state that it is not true. If I have resigned, you would have seen my letter of resignation written by me. Someone cannot just say somebody is dead when he is alive.
“I am not bigger than the party, or bigger than the President, who is a leader of the country. I am waiting for my national chairman to come back. If we have directive from the President that we should resign, we are not bigger than the President, we will do so, if we hear from him.
“Someone cannot say the president said this or that, I just believe him. I have not received any letter from anywhere. As I said, nobody is bigger than the party. The issue is that, if I have resigned, the answer is no. I am the national secretary of the party.”
THE Senate caucus of the APC has expressed concern that if something urgently is not done the challenges facing the party may affect its chances in the 2023 general election.
The Senators met on Tuesday to deliberate on the crisis rocking the party with the plan to finding a lasting solution, however, debunked insinuations that there was leadership change in the party.
Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi while speaking to newsmen after the two hours closed-door meeting, said they are very worried about what is happening in the party.
He said: “The same convention planning committee is in place. What we realised is that the chairman of the convention planning committee has been sick and he went for medical checkup.
“The current Niger State Governor, from the grapevine and from the knowledge that is available to us is actually the deputy chairman and in the absence of the chairman, he is acting till the chairman comes back.
“The speculation in the papers is not exactly true. What we are concerned about is the seeming disarray in the party.
“So from our standing coming from all the states in Nigeria we have to come and establish a national platform where all these things can be articulated so that all of us will come up with one mind and strategise for the success of the party.
“All personal and individual bitter struggling for power should be subordinated to the chances of the party.
As the crisis rages, a group, under the aegis of APC Elder’s Council Southwest has warned Bello against the usurpation of the duties of Buni as chairman of the caretaker committee of the party.
The group in a statement by Mr Lateef Ali threatened to drag anybody who usurps Buni’s power to a court of law. The group maintained that Buni’s purported removal remains speculative, as there has been nothing to prove that the directive to that effect emanated from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Drumming support for Bello-led executive, a group, Youths of Benue Northwest Senatorial district (Zone B) has described the appointment of Niger State Governor, as chairman of the Caretaker Committee as a step in the right direction.
Comrade Asor Aondohemba Jeremiah, said the decision of the party to appoint Governor Bello is not confusing but a right decision to move the APC forward in ensuring the party comes into a consensus for a successful national convention.
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has drawn attention of all intending aspirants on the platform of APC to what it called structural and legal defects in the ruling party that have made it ineligible to contest the 2023 general elections.
In a statement signed by its national publicity to secretary, Debo Ologunagba, the PDP said “APC is legally defunct, structurally crippled and no longer a legitimate and valid vehicle to field candidates for elections under our extant laws.”
The PDP said “the unilateral dismissal and replacement of Buni with Governor Bello by President Muhammadu Buhari as Chairman of the APC CECPC confirms that the CECPC is an illegal creation that lacks statutory powers, authority and legitimacy of party leadership.”
The PDP further explained that “Mr. President’s action confirms that the APC is not a political party under our laws but a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which became legally nonoperational when in December 8, 2020, it dissolved its national, state as well as local government structures and handed its affairs over to a team of “political undertakers” known as the CECPC.”
According to the opposition party, in the absence of a NWC, NEC, a Board of Trustees (BoT) or legitimate structures in the states, the APC is plagued by confusion and fierce infighting by its various warlords with two National Chairmen, multiple factions in the states and a national secretariat now taken over by security agencies.
It stated that the development had validated its position that the APC is just a bunch of strange bedfellows and inchoate sailors clobbered together for remote personal gains and not for governance and public good.
“Moreover, by virtue of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which bars a sitting governor from holding “any other executive office in any capacity whatsoever” while serving as a State Governor, the APC’s CECPC whether headed by Governor Buni or Governor Bello remains constitutionally invalid.”
The PDP draws the attention of intending aspirants on the platform of the APC to the fact that the CECPC has no statutory authority under the law and that any State Congress or National Convention conducted by it to produce any party leadership at any level remains invalid and unrecognized by law.
The opposition party argued that any Governorship, State Assembly, National Assembly as well as Presidential Primary election conducted by any leadership produced by the illegal CECPC can only produce invalid candidates just like in the case of Zamfara and Rivers states in the 2019 general elections where the APC had invalid candidates due to defective primaries.