The camp of the embattled Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni Tuesday bounced back as the Secretary, Senator James John Akpanudoedehe, resumed at the party national secretariat.
This is just as the activities for the national convention of the party slated for March 26 commenced with the sale of forms to aspirants.
One of the chairmanship aspirants, Saliu Mustapha, who was the deputy national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), picked up the form after he paid the stipulated N20m.
The ruling party had been enmeshed in a leadership crisis over the purported directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Buni, who has been piloting the affairs of the party since June 2020 when the Adams Oshiomhole- led National Working Committee (NWC) was sacked.
The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, took over the affairs of the party on March 7, amid heavy security cover, fuelling reports about the end of Buni’s reign.
There were reports that the secretary of the party was also ousted.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai said they had the clear directive of the president to remove Buni even though Governor Sani Bello had ab initio said he was on Buni’s seat in an acting capacity.
However, the presidency on March 12, issued a statement, calling for order in the party and warning stakeholders to desist from backstabbing and name-calling.
Daily Trust reports that there was also a court order purportedly secured by the Buni-camp to frustrate the national convention, which was the immediate cause of the altercation throughout last week.
The ruling party has been working hard to vacate the order in court.
Around 11:30am Tuesday, Akpanudoedehe resumed at the APC secretariat with what could be called ‘pomp and pageantry’.
Our correspondent reports that after moving around the secretariat, he went to his office and shortly thereafter issued a statement saying the party had engaged a team of senior lawyers to address a purported court order halting the convention.
He said the APC was crisis-free, strong and remained united in giving the country the transformative leadership and good governance it promised during campaigns.
He said, “The CECPC is intact and functional as originally constituted. That delivering a seamlessly successful national convention for the APC on March 26, 2022, is a top priority for the CECPC.
“We hereby call on the judiciary to give the matter the needed and expedient attention in our bid to vacate the purported Court order and allow for the conduct of a transparent and rancour-free national convention deserving of our great party, APC.”
Court decides suit Thursday as lawyers bicker over representation
An FCT High Court has failed to vacate the order stopping the March 26 convention of the APC due to a dispute over representation for the party.
Following the dispute on Tuesday, the presiding judge, Justice Bello Kawu adjourned the matter to March 17 for a report on the settlement of counsel and hearing.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Shuaibu Aruwa (SAN) and Michael Adoyi both announced appearances for the APC and Buni.
Although Adoyi had previously appeared in the matter, Aruwa told the court that he was briefed to take over the matter from Adoyi’s chambers with Musa Yakubu (SAN) as principal because the latter had been debriefed.
Aruwa submitted that “After we were briefed, we filed a notice of change of counsel and we informed counsel in the court of the changes and there was no complaint.”
But Adoyi replied that his chambers was not debriefed in the matter.
“Mai Mala Buni told my principal that the brief is still extant; we are still in this matter representing the 1st and 2nd respondents.”
The court had on November 18, 2021, issued an order of restraining injunction against the APC from the conduct of its convention in February 2022 or any other date “Either before or after pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”
The judge made the order following an ex parte application by an aggrieved member of the APC, 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.
Confusion over NEC meeting
Daily Trust reports that despite the apparent successes the APC recorded in getting its act together to prevent legitimacy crisis ahead of the 2023 elections and some off-season elections, there was confusion as the leaders gear up for tomorrow’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the party’s caretaker committee meeting on Tuesday, Barrister Ishmael Ahmed who became the spokesperson of the party during Governor Bello’s short stint said the NEC meeting will hold tomorrow and that the sale of forms for various NWC offices had begun.
Barrister Ahmed, who is a member of the caretaker committee, also said the March 26 convention date remained sacrosanct. But sources in the party said the exercise has been put on hold since the Buni’s camp has been “reinstated.”
“NEC will no longer hold since the issue that made the Niger governor to convene it has been addressed,” the party chieftain said.
Speaking further on the line of activities, Barrister Ahmed said about 4,000 delegates would vote for new members of the NWC at the convention.
He said that the party had pegged the expression of interest and nomination forms for the chairmanship position at N20 million, national secretary and deputy national chairman (North and South) at N10 million.
He added that forms for the NWC offices go for N5 million while those for NEC positions (deputies) go for N1 million.
Meanwhile, the returned secretary of the caretaker committee was conspicuously absent during the meeting.
When asked to speak on his absence, Barrister Ahmed said, “I am not aware he was here.”
Protocols sub-committee begins training
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has said the national convention of the party slated for next week Saturday will hold as planned.
The governor who spoke with newsmen at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, on Tuesday said that preparations for the convention had begun.
Ganduje who is Chairman of the Protocols sub-committee for the convention said the training of protocol officers had commenced.
Our correspondent reports that young men and women who are part of the committee were seen at the party’s secretariat in Abuja for the maiden training ahead of the convention.
On the court order halting the convention, Ganduje said, “I have no fears. Our convention will hold Insha Allah. Don’t worry we are equal to the task.
“We are the biggest party in Africa and we have the experience to handle it. We are organising the convention, selection is taking place, consensus is taking place and we believe we will give you the best.”
By Ismail Mudashir, Saawua Terzungwe & John C. Azu