Fury as group mulls another tenure extension for Buni-led caretaker committee
The planned tenure extension of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) till the end of the year is already generating tension among critical members of the party.
Some aggrieved members yesterday confided in The Guardian that the third tenure extension for the caretaker committee might spell doom for APC or probably be a ploy to erode the confidence some northern politicians have on the leadership of the party when in 2014 they agreed to merge for the purpose of ousting the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from power in the 2015 general elections.
It is argued that the tenure extension plot could be an agenda schemed to enable PDP present a northern candidate that would win the 2023 presidential election. The decision is also being contested on the basis that those behind the proposal wanted to arm-twist some founding members of the party ahead of the next general elections or perhaps a northern agenda to scheme the south out of the next presidential race.
Not wanting his name mentioned, a member of the party from North Central said for the idea to have been mulled in the first instance, from a northern governor was an aberration and that any southern governor, who is in support is only playing to the gallery.
According to the source: “it is an aberration that another tenure extension is being proposed for the committee. This is clearly the politics of 2023 aimed to ambush the party machinery, otherwise why would a caretaker committee that is expected not to stay for six months is now scheming to be permanent?”
The party member lamented that what the Buni-led committee is turning or has turned into would project the ruling party as a group of unserious people. While advising Buni against accepting another tenure extension, the source warned: “I want President Muhammadu Buhari to understand that those pushing him to stamp his authority on such an agenda do not mean well for the country. For God sake, APC is a ruling party and it holds the destinies of over 200 million Nigerians in its hands. It cannot afford to be playing gutter politics by continuously violating itself, its rules and principles. The whole thing will soon burst and the Buni-led committee will soon drag itself beyond the limit.”
The implications of retaining the leadership of the caretaker committee almost cost Governor Rotimi Akeredolu his governorship mandate in the recent judgment, but for the magnanimity of the judges, who said his opponent did not join Buni in his suit.
Another aggrieved member of the party who also pleaded anonymity said, “we shall wait and see how Buni will sign the nomination forms of other candidates, especially in the coming Anambra State governorship election.”
In a recent published interaction with the media, a former Minister of Youth and Sports Development and member of the party, Solomon Dalung considered the development as clear indication that the party is not organised alongside the tradition of a political movement.
He expressed concern that the current development shows that the ruling party might have personified the individuals over and above its manifesto, which according to him is evidence of the fact that the party’s cohesion is internally weak.
He said APC since the 2019 election, has been moving from one crisis to the other in which a sitting national chairman was suspended by his ward and subsequently, a court order was secured to remove the man from office and he had to step aside. And immediately he did.
He lamented the circumstances that led to the dissolution of the National Working Committee due to the litigation against the leadership of the party, saying the dissolution of the NWC did not provide a strong legal foundation for the reformation of the party because a sitting governor emerged as the chairman of a caretaker committee.
Dalung who reasoned along the line of those saying the party violated itself said: “Constitutionally, and even in the constitution of the APC, you cannot be holding a position in government and, at the same time, hold a position in the party. That is a constitutional violation and the party, in trying to solve one crisis, jumped deeper into a bigger problem. I said this because APC is heading towards foreseeable danger because of the chairman of the caretaker committee, who emerged as a result of the violation of our constitution.
“Can he give our party the desired democracy we are yearning for? This very serious question was what agitated my mind to say we are not heading in the right direction because of an established legal maxim.”
Apart from being skeptical about the legality of the caretaker committee, Dalung said he does not see how the current political structure will be able to reposition and unite the party in preparation for the future.
Before now, the spokesman for the group of Concerned APC members, Abdullahi Dauda, had faulted the idea of the caretaker committee’s constitution amendment and also seeking another tenure extension to buy time for the caretaker committee.
According to him, “there is no point deceiving ourselves; this is something that the new party leadership should be doing when we elect them at our convention.”
Expressing concern over the situation, a member of the dissolved NWC, who also preferred not to be named, noted that the caretaker committee is an illegality and its tenure extension an aberration. He said for Buni, who is a serving governor of Yobe State and Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State to be in the caretaker committee is against the party’s constitution.
“We also have people like Stella Okotete, Ismail Ahmed and others currently holding executive appointments in the committee. This portrayed us as a group of lawless people. People who have access to the president are doing things arbitrarily in APC. The dissolution of the NWC was wrong in the first instance.”
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