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…Niger Gov, Sani Bello axed as CECPC acting chairman as Buhari warns APC govs against unguarded utterances

…Says Buni must conduct March 26 convention

…Buni returns, cancels NEC meeting fixed for today

…Party sticks to zoning formula as Yari, Adamu tango

...Yari, Mustapha, Musa, Al-Makura, Akume, Adamu pick nomination forms

By Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Omeiza Ajayi, LAGOS

To end the flexing of muscles over leadership of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, axed Governor Sani Bello of Niger State as acting chairman of the committee.

Buhari affirmed Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State as the CECPC chairman and asked him to take charge and conduct the March 26 National Convention of the party.

President Buhari, who met with Buni in London, yesterday, conveyed his decision in a letter dated March 16, addressed to the Chairman, Progressive Governors’ Forum, PGF, and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku, asking that the status quo ante be maintained.

The letter was copied from the acting CECPC Chairman, Governor Sani Bello, Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha; Director-General, State Services, Yusuf Magaji Bichi; and Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had last week refused to recognise Sani Bello as CECPC acting chairman, leaving the APC with no option but to revert to Buni, who some stakeholders and governors sacked earlier.

The President endorsed the decision on Buni’s return to his position after a series of meetings with APC stakeholders in London where he is on treatment.

Indeed, Buni is expected back in Nigeria today to take charge of APC affairs.

A source told Vanguard that Buni, who has been out of the country for medical treatment, is expected in the country.

When asked when he (Buni) is likely to be back, the source said: “Thursday, Insha Allah. Allah has vindicated him.”

Buni cancels NEC meeting fixed for today

However, in a late Wednesday statement, National Secretary of the CECPC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe said the “purported APC NEC meeting” fixed for today is now cancelled.

“As directed by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning (CECPC) and Governor of Yobe State, H.E. Mai Mala Buni, a purported emergency meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) slated for Thursday, March 17, 2022, is hereby cancelled,” he stated.

Why Buni must return

The president said his decision was necessitated by the need to save the party from INEC’s hammer.

Vanguard last week reported how Governor Buni had left Dubai for London to confer with the president and seek his intervention in the leadership crisis that has recently threatened the party to its foundation.

Buhari’s letter

The letter read:  “As you are no doubt aware, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is currently facing a litany of controversies and some level of uncertainties that may ultimately question its status and affect the status and 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 the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,.

“Furthermore, the party has demonstrated its inability to proceed with the issue of effecting change in the leadership of its Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, in a way that is inclusive, legal and respectful of the time limit set and required for giving the 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 to its implosion and non-existence.

“There is, therefore, an urgent need for the party too, 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 the Caretaker Extra Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), should immediately return to status quo ante;

“Second, all members of the Governor’s 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 26th March 2022.”

Party sticks to zoning formula as Yari, Adamu tango

This came as the CECPC, yesterday, declared that it will stick to its zoning arrangement for the party’s March 26 national convention, stating that it had not thrown the contest open.

The party made the declaration in Abuja shortly after a routine meeting of the caretaker committee.

The CECPC position came hours after a former governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, denied knowledge of any zoning formula in the party, saying he remains determined in his bid to become the party’s national chairman.

However, former governor of Nasarawa State and one of the national chairmanship aspirants, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, insisted that the party had zoned the position to the North-Central.

The spokesman of the CECPC, Mr Ismae’el Ahmed, told journalists that there was no reason to discountenance the zoning arrangement.

He said: “There will be a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting tomorrow (today) where most of the issues that have to do with the Convention will be ratified. We are expecting the President, Vice President and all members of NEC to attend.

“Also, several aspirants have picked forms and we are going to have a robust convention.

“Zoning is a guide for the party but it is not a constitutional matter. However, that is what the party has agreed. Members of the party can pick forms. But we are sticking to our zoning formula. The CECPC set up a zoning committee and we have received the report,” he stated.

National chair zoned to North, Yari’s aide insists

But speaking on behalf of the former Zamfara Governor, leader of his campaign delegation, Senator Tijjani Kaura, who obtained the national chairmanship and expression of interest forms for him, said they are only aware that the position has been zoned to the North.

“We have just purchased the form for Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari to contest for the position of the party’s national chairman. As far as we are concerned, there are contending issues concerning zoning. First of all, we are fully aware that the national championship 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 well qualified.

“We are very ready for the convention come 26th March. Yari is one of the founding fathers of this great party and has contributed immensely and greatly to the betterment and welfare of this party. He is ready to lead the party and will not allow it to die,” said Kaura.

Adamu insists there’s zoning

In his reaction, Adamu, who headed the APC National Reconciliation Committee, insisted that the party has zoned the position to the North-Central.

Adamu spoke through Mr Lawrence Onuchukwu, who had led a delegation to pick his nomination and expression of interest forms.

He said: “The party in her wisdom has zoned the national chairmanship to the North-Central zone and you will agree with me that more than two people have obtained forms and this is the beauty of democracy.

“The Electoral Act signed by Mr President said it very clearly that election can be conducted either by direct, indirect or consensus. For us, at our party, we don’t have a crisis. Anywhere on this planet ruling parties are always this way and that is why you are not seeing anybody decamping from APC to any other party.”

On reports that Senator Adamu may have been endorsed by President Buhari as a consensus candidate, Onuchukwu said: “If that rumour is anything to go by, it is a boost for us. Mr President, as a man of integrity, I am sure will not want to associate himself with someone who does not have the capacity to actualize the vision of this party. You are also aware that we must not pretend that the party has some challenges and you need an administrator, a politician, you need a person who can handle the party.

“I can assure you that Abdullahi Adamu who has seen it all as a former minister, two-term governor and three-term senator — what is left is for this man to come and give service to this great party and take this party to the next level.”

Six aspirants pick nomination forms

At press time, no fewer than six chairmanship aspirants had picked the nomination forms. They are Yari, Saliu Mustapha, Sani Musa, Tanko Al-Makura, George Akume, and Abdullahi Adamu.

North Central APC group buys form for Sani Musa

Meanwhile, the APC North-Central Progressive Movement has purchased the nomination form for a frontline aspirant for the position of national chairman, Senator Sani Musa

Also Read:

.APC Crisis: Buni asserts self, dumps Bello’s Convention Sub-committees, removes CECPC members from Coordinating sub-c’ttee

The coordinator of the group, Alhaji Suleiman Maikwato told the newsmen that it procured the form from the APC Director of Organization, Prof. Al-Mustapha Medaner at the party secretariat, Abuja, for Senator Mohammed Sani Musa.

He stated that their decision was a collective one as a group based on their unflinching belief in the candidacy of Senator Sani Musa as the man to redeem the party’s image, reposition it for good and lead the party to victory come 2023.

The national coordinator of the group that among the aspirants running for the office of APC national chairman, Sani Musa’s manifesto and agenda for the party remains the best for  “repositioning our great party towards greatness and redirecting it in actualising the dreams of the founding fathers.”

I‘ll carry those physically challenged along — Almakura

Former governor of Nasarawa state, Senator Umaru Tanko Almakura, has promised to carry people living with disabilities along if elected as the National Chairman of the APC.

Senator Almakura, who currently represents Nasarawa South Senatorial District, also assured women and youth that they would form part of his administration if given the mandate to serve as the National Chairman of the APC.

Speaking in an interview with journalists in Abuja, Senator Almakura said he played a prominent role in the establishment of the Disability Commission, describing people living with disability as members of his constituency.

His words: “I was talking about people with disability and I know how much input I have put in to ensure the realization of the enactment of the law establishing the disability commission. I’ve had to participate in the one-million-man walk and participated in various advocacies for the enactment.

With regard to women, I was the first governor in Nasarawa State to make a woman, Secretary to the State Government. With regard to party leadership, I’ve been a youth secretary of a party and so I know party administration right from the youth level, to the Secretary level, and other positions.

“That’s why if I become chairman of the APC, I will use my residual understanding to relate with people along the ladder to ensure peaceful party administration,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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