APC crisis: Buni’s fate hangs as Bello takes charge | Dailytrust

APC crisis: Buni’s fate hangs as Bello takes charge

Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger at the APC secretariat yesterday
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger at the APC secretariat yesterday

By Ismail Mudashir, Saawua Terzungwe & Muideen Olaniyi

 

The fate of the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State is hanging in the balance following the take-over of the party’s affairs by his Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Sani Bello.

Reports filtered in the early hours of Monday that Buni, who had been piloting the affairs of the ruling party since June 2020 when Adams Oshiomhole- led National Working Committee (NWC) was ousted, has been sacked on the order of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Bello, who is a member of the 13-member caretaker committee of the party, was at the national secretariat, where he presided over the affairs of the ruling party for the first time.

Daily Trust reports that in the last 21 months, whenever Buni was away, the Secretary of the committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, presides over activities at the national secretariat.  Sources around the Yobe governor said he jetted out of the country last Tuesday to Dubai.

Ahead of the arrival of Bello to the APC Secretariat, there was a massive deployment of security personnel.  All roads leading to the secretariat in Wuse 2, Abuja, were blocked.

The Niger governor performed two major functions; he met with the states chairmen of the party and received the report of the party committee on zoning chaired by the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

I’ve Buhari’s blessing to act – Niger gov 

Speaking to reporters at the secretariat, Bello described himself as the acting national chairman of the APC. 

The governor, who presided over the meetings and sat on Buni’s seat said elected states chairmen were sworn in by him.

He added, “We discussed progress made so far on convention and what needs to be done next so that we will achieve the March 26 date”.

Responding to a question on why he presided over the meetings, the governor said, “Acting Chairman; I have been acting for a while since the chairman (Buni) travelled”.

When asked to confirm Buni’s sack and his appointment as the new chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Bello tersely responded, “No comment!”

Also, in an interview with a foreign radio station, Bello said that he has not taken over the party affairs.

“I’m an acting chairman of the party; we have continued with the party’s activities because of the forthcoming national convention. We had the meeting of the caretaker. I’m not aware of any takeover. There are procedures for everything. We came to inaugurate the party chairmen,” he said.

Our correspondent reports that the development looked strange as Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, Senator Akpanudoedehe, was known to be the one always in charge of all functions at the party’s national secretary and not the Niger State governor.

Speaking when he received the report of the party’s zoning committee, Bello said his role at the party’s national secretariat has President Buhari’s blessing.

The zoning committee was constituted last week with Kwara State governor as chairman.

The content of the zoning committee’s report was not made public. Bello said he would be coming to the party’s national secretariat “almost every day” to discharge his duties.

On why security was beefed up at the party’s national secretariat, he said, “Well, every time there is a major event, we beef up security. Today, we have a major event and all the chairmen came in, so they are here to maintain law and order. 

“Most of my colleagues are here to support me to receive the report. You know the zoning committee report is a very important one. And all the governors here are here to support me. Now, at the zonal level, they can go and do their work.”

In his remarks, Senator Akpanudoedehe said Buni was on a medical trip. 

State governors present during the event were; Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), among others.

How govs plotted Yobe gov’s sack 

Notwithstanding the claims that Buni has not been sacked, credible sources told Daily Trust that some governors plotted the removal of the Yobe State governor on Thursday in Abuja. 

The sources said after plotting Buni’s removal, the governors including that of Ekiti, Jigawa, Plateau, Kebbi, Niger and Kaduna met with the president on Saturday where they reportedly secured his directives to sack Buni as the party chairman.

It was gathered that the president was informed of the deliberate plans by Buni and his co-travellers including some Presidency officials to frustrate the forthcoming convention of the party slated for March 26. 

Daily Trust gathered that a court judgement had been ‘procured’ to this effect, which stops the party from holding the convention.

Purported court documents seen by Daily Trust on Monday showed that an FCT High Court sitting in Bwari has asked the ruling party to pull brakes on the conduct of its convention pending determination of the matter. 

The convention of the party had been postponed thrice by the Buni committee. The emergence of the said court order, which was alleged back-dated, reportedly angered the president, who gave his blessing for the removal of the caretaker chairman. 

One of the sources, a governor from the South told Daily Trust that he was at the meeting where Buhari ordered the removal of Buni as chairman of the caretaker committee of the party.

“The statement by the caretaker committee describing the president’s directives on Buni’s sack as fake was funny because I was there when the president ordered for the Yobe governor’s sack,” he said. 

He also disclosed that the Niger governor has been asked to convene the National Executive Committee (NEC) to ratify the decision and set in machinery for the convention. 

A villa source told one of our reporters that the governors defended their position that Buni was planning not to organise the convention. 

It was further learnt that the constitution of the Abdulrazaq-led zoning committee despite an agreement reached at a recent meeting with the president was said to have provided proof to the argument adduced by the governors. 

NEC decides on Yobe gov Tuesday

As effort to save the soul of the party gathers momentum, stakeholders have agreed to convene a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) which is expected to take a stance on Buni.

The NEC meeting is expected to serve as avenue for the party to put its house in order so as to avoid legal pitfalls as there were fears aggrieved parties could create a big problem for the party through the courts.

President Buhari is expected to chair the NEC virtually from London, a Presidency source told Daily Trust.

Buni, according to a source knowledgeable with the politicking in the party, is expected to tender his resignation at the NEC meeting. The resignation option was said to be proposed as a face-saving alternative for the Yobe governor, as advocated by a governor close to him to key party stakeholders.

Meanwhile, Governor Bello last night held crucial meeting with state chairmen of the party at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel where the NEC meeting and preparation for the March 26 convention topped the agenda.

A senior stakeholder told Daily Trust that all hands were on deck to ensure that the convention is not shift even for a day, as directed by President Buhari before he left for London.  

Presidency, Buni mum

Contacted on phone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, advised our reporter to rely on the information released by the APC headquarters.

The president had while leaving the country for London on a medical trip on Sunday, said the party had the capacity to organise the scheduled programme. 

“Well, they should wait and see. How did we come as a party to take power from the ruling party, which had been there before us for so many years? So, we have the capacity. Everything will be alright,” he said.

All efforts to talk to Buni and his spokesman, Mamman Mohammed were not successful as the duo did not answer nor return calls.

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