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Gov. Buni and the future of APC

The recent concerns about the legality of the leadership of Gov. Buni, following the Supreme Court...

By Sanusi Isa

 

In June 2020, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) was on the brink – and some analysts were euphorically writing off the party. Some even claimed the party might be in its last days – then. But a rescue – that appears like a miracle – came with the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NCW) and the swearing in of a National Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Committee under the leadership of  Mai Mala Buni, who is also the governor of Yobe State.

The caretaker committee under the leadership of Gov. Buni had regained the party and made it stronger and more appealing. As a politician in the real sense of the word, Buni was able to put the party back on track by first; addressing all the grievances that, in the first place, brought it to its knees. A crisis, for a political party is much more than a crisis; it is a setback and a damage that is and can be very difficult to recover from. As a political strategist, Buni apart from resolving all the conflicts in the party, also gained the confidence of all stakeholders who trusted his political skills, open-mindedness, and crisis resolution tactics. The result delivered by Gov. Buni was the reason why the party and its stakeholders gave him the nod to go on until he concluded his assignment.

The recent concerns about the legality of the leadership of Gov. Buni, following the Supreme Court ruling on Ondo election, has been clarified and the books show, there is no legal implications for the party, as he continued to take the party to a point of strength. The vote of confidence passed by the APC Progressives Governors Forum on the Gov. Buni-led National Caretaker Committee and its assignment is yet another proof that he is on the right path; legally and politically. It is also proof that APC is on the path to a better future.

In February, the party’ caretaker leadership conducted party membership revalidation and registration successfully across the country. The all-important exercise was smooth and showed how appealing the party is becoming to Nigerians. New members registered and those who were already members of the party renewed their membership. The caretaker committee under the leadership of Mai Mala Buni did not start this project until after wider consultations – especially with all the party stakeholders. Every activity carried out by the caretaker committee towards restoring the party has the endorsement of all party stakeholders and was backed by the rules and regulations of the party.

His commitment to real reconciliation meant, that before starting his current assignment  Buni went around Nigeria and met with all the party’s key stakeholders. During one of such visits in July 2020, one of the party’s stakeholders Chief Bisi Akande, while receiving the caretaker committee, at his country home, expressed confidence and support to the committee and the work it is doing to reconcile and address all outstanding party grievances. Chief Akande was also quoted by the media as saying: “There is great hope in what I have seen in this committee, the party will certainly bounce back stronger. I will continue to leave myself open and with a call on other stakeholders to cooperate and support the committee (caretaker) to succeed.”

Every step the Buni-led caretaker committee is taking is constitutional — including the membership registration and validation exercise, as well as the just-concluded congresses. All actions of the caretaker committee were approved by the party’s highest decision-making body; the National Executive Council (NEC). Every step taken by the Governor Buni-led caretaker committee received support of all the party’s stakeholders.

So far, the caretaker committee under the leadership of Mai Mala Buni is still taking the path of reconciliation. This path brings back into the party’s fold bigwigs who left the party ahead of 2015 general elections. Most of such big names left the party out of feeling of unfair treatment. Getting them back into the party is a concrete achievement.  Above all, more governors have defected to APC to the extent that, some think, the main opposition party is facing an existential crisis. The party has also gained more political bigwigs from across Nigeria through defection. All these are signs that the party is rebuilding confidence and will never go back to its recent past of chaos.

When APC was almost consumed by crisis, many state chapters of the party were also contending with internal wrangling detrimental to the party’s present and future. Through consultations and engaging stakeholders, Governor Buni was able to resolve crises in more than 12 states and reconciliation is a continuous exercise to ensure that the party mends all fences.

Buni is an accomplished politician and choosing him to lead APC out of crisis was based on his solid party politics credentials and the ability to solve problems. Buni is a defender of the rule of law and is always on the side of due process. At the end of the ongoing party rebuilding exercise,  Buni will rebuild APC and turn it into a strong democratic institution. Clearly, the caretaker committee is addressing internal grievances in a fair and just manner. It is also entrenching a strong culture of internal democracy. It is also giving a sense of belonging to all party members.

These achievements are not coming on a platter of gold. Gov. Buni is already rebuilding Yobe State and he is only making a sacrifice to restore hope in APC as a party. At the end the Buni-lead caretaker committee will hand over a strong and new APC that is united and ready to face the future of rebuilding Nigeria.

As is usual with politics, there will be distractions on the journey. But with Gov. Buni in-charge, the journey to a new APC will not be distracted. At the end, the party will be stronger, united and ready to make Nigeria better.

 

Isa wrote from Abuja