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Anxiety as court decides on APC convention today

There is growing anxiety among top shots of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as an FCT High Court takes a decision today on an application,…

There is growing anxiety among top shots of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as an FCT High Court takes a decision today on an application, which seeks to vacate an order restraining the party from holding its convention slated for March 26.

Daily Trust reports that in the last two weeks, there have been tension over the order restraining the party from holding the convention, leading to a move by some governors to effect leadership change in the party.

Thrice, the exercise, which would birth a new crop of National Working Committee (NWC) to take over from the Mai Mala Buni -led caretaker committee, constituted in June 2020, when Adams Oshiomhole was ousted, failed.

The application seeking to set aside the November 18, 2021 ruling of the court restraining the convention was stalled on Tuesday after two lawyers, Shuaibu Aruwan (SAN) and Michael Adoyi, both announced appearances for the APC.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Aruwan informed the court that he had received a letter from the APC confirming his appointing him as the true counsel in the matter as ordered by the court.

He then sought to move the application to set aside the earlier order of the court for want of jurisdiction.

In the application dated March 9, 2022, the APC was asking for “an order of this honourable court striking out the suit in its entirety for want of jurisdiction.

“And for such other order(s) as the honourable court may deem fit in the circumstance.”

However, Mike Enahoro-Eba, counsel to the claimant, Hon. Salisu Umoru, objected to the commencement of the hearing arguing that the rules permit the respondents seven days to reply to the application for setting aside.

He said the issue of defence counsel had just been resolved and they would need time to join issues with the pending applications before the court.

Justice Bello Kawu fixed the matter to Friday, March 18 (today).

The order followed an application by an aggrieved member of the APC, Hon. Salisu Umoru, seeking to restrain the APC, Governor Buni and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from organising any convention until the determination of the suit.

He had further sought an “Interlocutory injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants/respondent (APC and Governor Buni), their allies, agents, representatives, associates or whoever is acting for them or through them from organising, holding or conducting the national convention of the APC in January and February 2022 or any other date either before or after pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”


Buni takes over, meets Bello 

Governor Buni on Thursday resumed work at the APC secretariat after being abroad for 17 days where he reportedly went for medication.

In his absence, the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello acted.  Bello and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello as well as other members of the party paid Buni a solidarity visit at the Yobe Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.

Speaking before the meeting, Buni said the committee was at the finishing line in preparations for the party’s national convention.

Buni 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.”

On the absence of the embattled Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe at the meeting, Buni said; “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 the house earlier today. “

Similarly, Governor Sani Bello said, “I can tell you for free that in the last one week, we have ensured that we are good to go for the convention.”

However, they declined to brief newsmen at the end of their closed-door meeting.


Drama over secretary, sub-c’ttee list

However, there was drama Thursday as a document purportedly sacking the secretary of the committee, Senator James Akpanudoedehe, dated March 8, surfaced.

Senator Akpanudoedehe is being embattled due to conflict of interest ahead of the party’s national convention.

Members of the Caretaker Committee who signed the document sacking the Secretary are; Niger State Governor, Sani Bello; a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, Prof Tahir Mamman, David Lyon, Akinremi Olaide, Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed, Dr. James Lalu and Stella Okotete.

The document sacking the secretary reads;  “We members of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee as duly constituted on 25th of June 2020, by the NEC of our 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 CECPC of the APC and direct that from today henceforth he steps aside as secretary of the committee and stop forthwith, all activities and duties associated with the office.”

Apart from Buni and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, all other members of the committee endorsed the purported sack, which was carried out before President Muhammadu Buhari intervened.

Akpanudoedehe could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report as he didn’t answer calls put to his phone line.

But Buni’s spokesman, Mamman Mohammed, told the Daily Trust Thursday that Akpanudoedehe remains the party’s scribe.

“He was in his office and was part of the meeting that took place today (yesterday),” he said.

Some members of the party under the aegis of APC Concerned Forum (APCCF) led by the National Convener, Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi said members of the caretaker committee lacked the constitutional power to sack the secretary.

The APCCF also asked the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Police to arrest and probe members of the committee who flouted President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on the crisis rocking the party.

Also Thursday, there was confusion over the list of the convention sub-committee.

Earlier in the day, the embattled secretary of the caretaker committee had issued a statement where some changes were made against the list earlier released and signed by Governor Sani Bello.

Swiftly, Buni issued a statement countering the statement by the secretary saying all the official decisions reached by the Niger State governor and acting chairman of the committee remained valid.

A source close to the two governors said, “The truth is that with the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, there is no ambiguity on who is in charge.

“There is no tussle now and as you can see, in the spirit of peace and tranquility, Buni is carrying everyone along.

“He also endorsed the inauguration of state chairmen done by Governor Bello.

“All these are in the spirit of give and take towards conducting a hitch-free national convention where new leaders would emerge,” he said.

By Ismail Mudashir, John C. Azu & Saawua Terzungwe

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