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Buni c’ttee dilly-dallies on APC convention

Fresh facts have emerged on why the national caretaker committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) under the leadership of Yobe State Governor Mai…

Fresh facts have emerged on why the national caretaker committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) under the leadership of Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni is delaying the conduct of the party’s national convention.

Tension and confusion enveloped the ruling party following the indefinite postponement of the convention earlier scheduled for February 26, this year.  

Around noon on Monday, the caretaker committee via a letter, dated February 21 to the Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fixed the zonal congresses of the party for March 26, this year. 

 The letter jointly signed by Buni and the secretary of the committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, was silent about the new date for the convention. However, as the news of the latest development filtered around the top shots of the party, pressure began to be mounted on the committee to rescind its decision. 

 Sources said a section of the presidency, some governors, aspirants for the national chairmanship position and other tendencies faulted the decision taken by the APC leadership, thus around 7pm, the committee backtracked on its earlier decision and fixed the convention for March 26, this year after a marathon meeting.

 Addressing newsmen at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, after a closed-door meeting that lasted for several hours, Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator Akpanudoedehe, said the preparation for the national convention will commence on February 24, 2022.

 He said the zonal congresses would be held before the national convention. 

“After deliberation and agreement with the committee, we have agreed and approved that the activities of the national convention commence from February 24 and terminate on March 26. The convention activities commence on February 24 and it will terminate at the Eagle Square on March 24,” he said.

In the new schedule of activities obtained by one of our correspondents, zonal congresses would be held on March 12, while the sale of forms for various categories of aspirants would commence on March 9 and end on March 11, 2022. 

 Our correspondent reports that the executives that would emerge at the zonal congresses would serve as delegates to the convention, without which the March 26 new date would not be sacrosanct.

Buni, others want convention, primaries same day – Former govs 

Top party sources told Daily Trust that the national convention of the party was being deliberately delayed by the Buni-led committee to advance his political interest and that of a few others. 

One of the sources said the exercise was being delayed to enable the committee to conduct both the convention and the presidential primaries the same day. 

 A former governor and one of the founding members of the party urged President Muhammadu Buhari to swiftly act in the interest of the party.

 According to him, “The convention is now going to hold one week to the Ramadan fast. And if the president assents to the new electoral act, it means that the primaries would be conducted between June and July in line with the provisions of the electoral act. You know the new proposal in the bill is that the primaries should be conducted six months before the general elections. 

“From what we are seeing, the party will go into confusion because what they want to achieve is to conduct the convention and primaries at the same time so that aggrieved party chieftains would be left with no option after the exercise,” he said. 

Another former governor said the convention was being delayed because the Yobe State governor was eying the presidency. “He is targeting no one and everyone including himself. It is all about interest. 

“He is desperate to be the next president or at worst the vice president,” the former governor said.  

Another source said some governors, especially those going for a second term, were working in cahoots with the caretaker committee to have an easy sail. 

“There are other stakeholders including second-term governors who want to go to the Senate and the only way is to limit the chances of others.

“Of course, we cannot rule out the antics of greedy people who are also looking for ways to take over the party for their selfish reasons. So, President Buhari has a key role to play in stabilising the polity,” he said. 

Yobe gov’s ambition is to reposition APC, nothing more – Media aide

Contacted, Buni’s spokesperson, Mamman Mohammed, punctured the claims that his boss was nursing presidential ambition, describing it as the figment of the imagination of the former governors.

 “We have been inundated with these baseless allegations. His Excellency is just doing this job to reposition the party based on the confidence reposed on him by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). He has never contemplated or discussed with anyone that he has interest in any national office or party office.

“Remember, he is a first term governor. It is just the imagination of those blinded by their aspirations that can’t see the good things the Yobe State governor is doing in the party.  We have deliberately refused to join issues with those spreading falsehood against the governor. He is working tirelessly to reposition the party and that is just his ambition. Any other thing is a figment of the imagination of those saying it,” he said last night.

 All eyes on Buhari as he meets with govs today 

Our correspondents report that President Muhammadu Buhari will today hold a meeting with the governors of the ruling APC at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. 

The crucial meeting is expected to ratify all arrangements made so far over the postponed convention and discuss the controversy over the zoning of National Working Committee (NWC) offices.

Stakeholders of the party are expecting the president to act to save the party from a looming implosion. 

One of the chairmanship aspirants told Daily Trust that party chieftains were looking up to the president to end the logjam over the convention. 

Ahead of today’s meeting with the president, some governors who are members of the party were seen at the Kebbi Government Lodge preparing for a meeting last night. 

 Meanwhile, the Presidency was mute yesterday over the postponement of the convention. 

When contacted on phone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, directed our reporter to contact the APC leadership for information on the postponement. 

By Ismail Mudashir, Saawua Terzungwe & Muideen Olaniyi