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Nigeria: APC Chair Buni Overrules Secretary Akpanudoedehe, Says All Decisions Made By Acting Chair Bello Stand

Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of Nigeria’s governing party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, has denied the alleged disbandment of the convention

Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of Nigeria’s governing party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, has denied the alleged disbandment of the convention sub-committees inaugurated by the governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, while acting as the chairman of the party.

Instead, Buni said he would take responsibility for all the actions taken on his behalf. He noted, for the record, that he properly transferred power to his Niger State counterpart to act in his stead while he was away on medical grounds.

However, in a shocking turn of events, Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Thursday, described what was going on in the governing APC as a charade and said he was done with the party. El-Rufai added that, with the situation of things, unity was impossible in APC.

Despite boasting that he remained the secretary of CECPC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe was Thursday absent at a meeting convened by Buni with Bello’s team. The meeting, held at the lodge of the Yobe State governor in Abuja, was his first since his return to the country.

The national secretary of the party, Akpanudoedehe, had in a statement earlier Thursday, claimed that Buni had approved the dissolution of the sub-convention committees put in place by Bello and reinstated the ones he set up before embarking on a medical trip to Dubai.

The statement read, “The Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the chairmanship of Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, makes this press release to clarify the events of last week and reassure the membership and stakeholders of the party, as well as the Nigerian people, in general, that the governing party is crisis-free, strong and remains united in giving the country the transformative leadership and good governance, which she promised.

“As approved by the chairman, HE. (Gov.) Mai Mala Buni, please, find below the list of chairmen, deputy chairmen and secretaries of the various sub-committees for the 2022 APC National Convention (as earlier published).”

But Buni, in a rebuttal issued hours later, noted that the report about the alleged dissolution of the committees was not true.
Buni’s stated, “This is to bring to the notice of all stakeholders and members of the party that the purported suspension of some activities initiated and executed by the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the acting chairman and Niger State Governor, H.E. Muhammed Sani Bello, is not true.”
While insisting that all activities carried out in his absence remained valid and binding, Buni added, “All party stakeholders and members are hereby advised to disregard the previous statement discarding the activities of the committee under the leadership of the acting chairman.”

The Yobe governor recalled that he duly transmitted power to Bello to enable him undergo medical attention.
Buni said regarding Bello, “Therefore, all actions and measures taken by the committee under his leadership as acting chairman, remain effective. The party calls for support and understanding to move the party forward to a successful convention slated for March 26th, 2022.”

It looked very probable that Akpanudoedehe might have lost his job as CECPC secretary, following the latest developments.
In a leaked notice dated March 8, 2022 and signed by a majority of the members of the caretaker committee, a vote of no confidence was passed on Akpanudoedehe .
Titled “Motion of no confidence on the Secretary of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee,” the notice was signed by Senator Ken Nnamani, Governor Abubakar Bello, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, Prof Tahir Mammah, Senator Abba Alli, Mr. David Lyon, Hon. Akinremi Olàide, Mrs Stella Okotete, Mr. Ismaeel Ahmad, and Dr James Lalu.

Members of the committee cited Article 17 Sub-section 5 of the APC constitution, which allowed a majority of any constituted ad-hoc committee of the party to pass a vote of no confidence on any member found wanting.

The notice read, “We, the members of the CECPC of the All Progressives Congress, duly constituted on the 25th of June, 2020 by the National Executive Committee of our great party, and sitting in our regular meeting on the 8th Day of March 2022, hereby unanimously resolve and adopt a motion of no confidence on the secretary of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress, and direct that from today henceforth, he steps aside as the secretary of the committee and stop forthwith all activities and duties associated with the office.”

The majority of the caretaker committee members had pulled the rug off Akpanudoedehe’s feet, though this was still subject to ratification by the National Convention or Congress.
According to the party’s constitution, where a vote of “No Confidence” has been passed on an officer, the relevant party organ shall appoint another person to act in his place pending ratification by the National Convention or Congress.

Corroborating Buni’s position, spokesperson of the Bello leadershi Akpanudoedehe , and National Youth Leader, Mr. Ismaeel Ahmed, maintained that the final list of convention planning sub-committees signed by the Director of Organisation following the directive of the caretaker committee remained the final and authentic list.
Responding to news making the rounds about the old list, Ahmed said the CECPC never approved the list and in fact, has no record of such list.

Ahmed, who has been briefing the media since the leadership crisis started, urged party members and the media to ignore the falsehood being spread by Akpanudoedehe.
He stated, “The approved final list was the outcome of extensive consultations with all the stakeholders and follow-up at ensuring a decent list that is representative and inclusive, is put together and the same has since been issued.

“The laughable action of sacked Senator Akpanudoedehe, is, therefore, considered an affront on the committee, which was duly constituted in line with provisions of the party’s constitution and NEC of the party.

“Seeing the unpopular actions of Senator Akpanudoedehe, it is now obvious that he might be surreptitiously working to derail the party, cause internal friction capable of causing further crisis, but the committee against all his antics is determined to forge ahead and ensure the national convention holds as scheduled and approved devoid of any untoward actions.”
In a curious development, El-Rufai, yesterday, expressed frustration with the wrangling in the ruling party. He told his colleague governors that he was done with the party, saying unity may be difficult to foster in APC as things currently stood.

El-Rufai, who addressed other APC governors in what seemed like a WhatsApp message in a group, alluded to betrayal, corruption, greed and other vices in the party, indicating they are the reason he opted out.

The messaged read, as shared, “Your Excellences, unity is impossible to attain when leaders that are in office, because we consented to it, are consistently erratic, capricious, corrupt and deceitful.
“Loyalty begets loyalty.
“Deception begets mistrust.
“Betrayal begets revolt.
“Ineptness, greed and selfishness threaten to destroy what has been built over nearly a decade, by those who didn’t even know how this party was put together.
“Let’s restate that I am done with this charade, unless concrete, honest and transparent steps are taken to implement our agreed plans under a leadership we trusted.
“Thank you. Nasir El-Rufai.”

Notwithstanding the developments, Akpanudoedehe reacted earlier today to his purported sack, saying he remains the secretary of the party. The secretary, in a brief chat with journalists, said, President Buhari’s letter superseded everything.

“The president’s letter supersedes everything. I remain the secretary of the party,” he maintained.
Even at that, Akpanudoedehe was absent at a meeting at the instance of Buni with the Bello-led committee, who stood in while he was away, yesterday.
The meeting, which took place at Yobe State Governors’ Lodge in Asokoro, had all members of the caretaker committee in attendance, except Akpanudoedehe.
It was gathered the Yobe State governor met with the chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, where he was briefed on the outcome of the forum’s meeting on Wednesday night.
Sources close to CECPC said the Bello team met at the Niger State Governor’s Lodge, which is a stone throw from Yobe’s before proceeding to Yobe’s Lodge with other members of the committee.

Speaking to journalists at his lodge, Buni applauded CECPC members on the level of preparations towards the national convention.
He stated, “You know that since I travelled, the party has not stopped. His Excellency (Governor of Niger State, H.E. Abubakar Sani Bello) has done very well in managing the affairs of the party. We are here to discuss the issues going forward.

“We are now at the finishing line in the preparations for our national convention, which is at hand, on March 26. We are putting heads together to achieve this task ahead. I want to emphasise that the March 26 national convention is sacrosanct.”

Buni further clarified that the visit was not a formal meeting of the CECPC, adding, “You know that this is not a formal meeting of the committee. These members of CECPC just came to welcome me back to the country and wish me well after returning from a medical trip outside the country.”

On his part, Bello said, “For the past one week, I have been acting as the chairman of CECPC and what I can tell you is that we made lots of progress towards our national convention like we saw in the inauguration of the State Chairmen, adoption of some of the zoning formula, and some of the decisions of the CECPC taken before he (Governor Buni) left the country. I can tell you for free that in the last one week, we have ensured that we are good to go for the national convention.”

In his intervention to the party crisis, a deputy national chairmanship aspirant, Mr. Sunny Monidafe, urged the members of the caretaker committee to resolve whatever differences they had for the sake of the party.

Monidafe, who made the call after obtaining his form yesterday, said, “I will want to appeal to both sides to keep calm. Whatever has happened, I don’t want to know, I want to come in and reconcile party members.”

Monidafe boasted that he was the most qualified for the position of the national chairman, but had to abide by the zoning arrangement of the party.

In the same vein, a group under the auspices of Progressives Youth Movement, declared that the purported sack of the secretary would not stand.

Chairman of the group, Mr. Mustapha Audu, said there was no need to fight each other at this stage, saying all that is needed is to support the party and chairman to hold the convention.

Audu stated, “We are here because there have been various media reports regarding the purported sack of the secretary of the party, Senator James John Akpanudoedehe. We are here to say the purported sack cannot stand.

“Nine days to the national convention of the party, all hands should be on deck. We saw the letter this morning by our National Youth Leader, Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed. We believe we should be working hand-in-hand to deliver for the party and the convention.”

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