March 26 national convention remains sacrosanct
There was a rain of confusion in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, as the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Governor Mai Mala Buni, returned to the country, while the committee’s secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, was said to have been removed by members of CECPC.
The crises engulfing the party seemed to have continued despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention to stop the removal of Buni as Chairman of the committee.
But Buni, who met CECPC members at Yobe Government House, Abuja, without Akpanudoedehe, feigned ignorance of the development and explained that the embattled secretary was not present, because it was not a formal meeting of the committee.
Buni, who spoke after a closed-door meeting with members of the caretaker committee of the party expressed satisfaction with the performance of his colleague, Mr Abubakar Sani Bello, who he said stood in for him while he was away on medical vacation in Dubai.
The Yobe State Governor reiterated the party’s commitment to the conduct of its national convention on March 26.
He said: “You know that since I travelled the party has not stopped. His Excellency 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.”
Other members of the caretaker committee were in attendance with the exception of the embattled caretaker secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe.
Buni, however, said Akpanudoedehe’s absence should not be misconstrued to mean a crack among members of the caretaker committee.
He noted: “You know that this is not a formal meeting of the committee. These members of the CECPC just came to welcome me back to the country and wish me well after returning from a medical trip outside the country. So, it is not a formal meeting that one will ask whether the secretary is here or not. However, he was in my house earlier today.”
GOVERNOR Sanni Bello, who was present, said that the parley was aimed at briefing Buni on the preparation so far put in place on the conduct of the national convention of the party.
“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 convention like we saw in the inauguration of the state chairmen, adopted some of the zoning formula, and some of the decisions of the CECPC taken before he 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 convention,” he stated.
Buni had, in a statement by his media aide, Alhaji Mamman Mohammed, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the amicable resolution of a recent misunderstanding in the party.
“We appreciate the good leadership role played by Mr President in resolving the recent events to keep a united and strong APC,” he said.
Buni said that all actions taken by the APC CECPC under Bello, who was the acting chairman, remained valid and binding.
He was quoted in the statement to have said, “I duly transmitted power to His Excellency the Niger state Governor, Muhammed Sani Bello.
“Therefore, all actions and measures taken by the committee under his leadership as acting chairman, remain valid and binding,” he reiterated.
TO underscore the fact that the crisis rocking the APC is yet to abate, 10 of 12 members of the CECPC, which included the former Senate President Ken Nnamani, yesterday, passed a vote of no confidence on the secretary, Akpanudoedehe.
Spokesperson of the party, Mr Ismaeel Ahmed, confirmed the position of the caretaker committee and remarked that the decision was in the best interest of the party.
Ahmed maintained that the final list of convention planning sub-committees signed by the Director of Organisation, following the directive of the caretaker committee remains the final and authentic list.
Ahmed said that the CECPC never approved the list and, in fact, has no record of such list. He, therefore, informed that party members and the media should ignore the falsehood being spread by sacked Akpanudoedehe.
He further mentioned that 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.
He added: “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.
“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 the 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.”
A former chairmanship aspirant of the party, Sylvester Moniedafe, has, however, called for calm and reconciliation in the wake of yesterday’s report of the sacking of Akpanudoedehe.
Moniedafe, who is from the Northeast, now gunning for the position of the deputy national chairman of the party after the chairmanship position was micro zoned to the Northcentral said the internal wrangling within the party would be settled through peaceful reconciliation.
In his words, “I will react to this by appealing to all to be calm. When we come in power, the first thing is to reconcile everyone. I will not want to add more problems to our effort to reconcile a party; that is why I want to appeal to both sides to please be calm.”
Fielding questions from newsmen after picking up his form, Moniedafe explained that as a core party man, he considers himself the best candidate for the chairmanship position but since the party leadership has micro zoned to the Northcentral, he has to obey it and that is why he is going for the position of the deputy national chairman which is under his zone.
“I want a better and united APC for a stronger Nigeria, so, I let go and opted for the post of national vice-chairman (North), which is equally as powerful,” he said.
According to him, being the national deputy chairman will also afford him the opportunity to be a bridge-builder in the interest of the party.
Reacting to rumours that President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed Lawal Faruok for the position of deputy national chairman (North), he said Faruok is from the Northeast while he is from the Northwest, therefore, Faruok can only pick up the form of the organising secretary, which has been zoned to Northwest, while the deputy national chairman has been zoned to Northeast, which is his zone.