APC Crisis: Amid court order threats, Buni gets Buhari’s nod to conduct party National Convention

There were indications yesterday that embattled chairman of Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, may have weathered the storm of the ongoing leadership crisis rocking the party.
Leadership gathered that in the aftermath of the briefing he received from some ministers on the implications of the impasse on the 2023 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that Buni should return as the chairman of the caretaker committee with a view to leading the party to its national convention billed for the 26th of this month.
We had reported exclusively yesterday that the Attorney General of the federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and other Ministers had at the weekend briefed the president of the danger of proceeding with the National Executive Committee (NEac) meeting and the convention without complying with electoral laws of the country.
The AGF, in the company of the minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu; their Aviation counterpart, Hadi Sirika and one of the president’s associates, Farouk Adamu Aliyu were said to have informed the president that with the situation on ground, any attempt to ignore INEC’s letters might render everything the party had been doing in the build to the 2023 elections null and void, thus replicating the misfortune in Zamfara State where the party lost all elective seats to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Jolted by the information, President Buhari on Saturday warned leaders and stakeholders of the party to desist from name-calling and backstabbing.
It was learnt that a majority of the APC governors have been swayed by the president’s stance and are quickly realigning with the Buni camp, including seven of the governors who had been sitting on the fence.
It would be recalled that Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, had last Monday resumed duties as acting chairman of the party’s caretaker committee. Although Bello had said he was doing so in acting capacity, Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, had appeared on national television, announcing that Buni was gone for good and would not return as chairman of the party.
He said Buni had allegedly midwifed a legal process in which a court order was secured to stop the national convention from holding.
Corroborating El-Rufai’s claims, Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, had on Thursday lambasted Buni for taking a path that nearly destroyed the party and supplant President Buhari’s will.
Describing governors backing Buni as ‘Yahoo Yahoo governors’, Akeredolu said no black market judicial procurement can stop convention.
Apparently miffed bybthe development, Buhari on Saturday asked the APC governors and other party loyalists to remain steadfast and maintain its unity to enable the party to continue in the path of victory and its dominance at all levels throughout the country, even as he insisted that the party will go ahead with its convention slated for March 26.
Respite however came for Buni when the National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected a letter inviting it to an emergency meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) convened by Bello.
It was against the backdrop of the legal implications of of INEC’s position that AGF Malami, ministers of Education and Aviation as well a former member of the House of Representatives, Faruq Adamu, met President Buhari who is presently medical vacation in London.
A source privy to the meeting in London had disclosed that the ministers informed the president that with the situation on ground, any attempt to ignore INEC’s letters might render everything the party is doing in the build to the 2023 elections null and void, thus replicating the misfortune in Zamfara State where the party lost all elective seats to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The source who did not want his name in print said, “The president got to know about the implication of INEC’s the letter, and one of them is that if the Governor Sani Bello-led leadership proceed to hold the convention, it would amount to illegality and the party officers will remain a product of illegality.
“It also means they can only organise an illegal party primary to produce illegal candidates and all offices won by these candidates may be subjected to litigation and the precedence of the Zamfara case may spell doom for the APC. The option now is that the best bet for APC is for Buni to resume, communicate to INEC with the mandatory 21-day notice and conduct the convention for the APC to prepare for 2023, or else the chances of party in 2023 may be shaky.”
LEADERSHIP gathered yesterday that after the briefing, President Buhari denied ordering Buni’s sack, and to buttress his position, he ordered that the Yobe governor should return to his office and fast track the process of conducting the national convention on March 26.
A source privy to the London briefing said, “After he was briefed by Malami and the rest, President Buhari gave ordered that Buni should immediately resume the leadership of the party and see to the smooth conclusion of the national convention.”
The source who did not want his name in print also told this paper that the president also denied endorsing former Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Adamu, for the APC national chairman position.
According to him, Malami and his colleagues demanded to know the president actually endorsed Adamu ad reported in the media.
He said, “Buhari said he didn’t make such an endorsement. Rather, he only informed the delegation of his desire to see to a smooth, democratic and popular contest that would lead to the birth of a brand new National Executive Committees (NEC) of the party.”
The ministers, the source further said, advised Buhari that it would amount to betrayal against other aspirants like Saliu Mustapha and Senator Tanko Al-Makura who have remained loyal to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) bloc in the party.
“Neither of them failed or faulter since then. So, how do you morally explain a purported endorsement of someone that we hardly know within our ranks, someone that does not enjoy popular support?” the queried.
Unvacated Court Order Threatens March 26 Convention, Hearing Of Substantive Suit Fixed For March 30
Meanwhile, there are fears that the national convention of the APC fixed for March 26 may be thwarted by a legal action
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which restrained the party from proceeding with the national convention until the case pending before it is heard and determined has slated hearing in the matter for March 30.
The plaintiff in the suit with number FHC/HC/CV/2958/2021, Salisu Umoru had dragged the party, chairman of the party’s caretaker committee and governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the court to challenge the planned convention.
In the motion number FCT/HC/M/9655/21, the plaintiff prayed the court for an order interlocutory injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants, allies, agency, representative, associates or whoever is action g for them through or through them from organising, holding or conducting national convention in January and February or at any other date either before or after pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
After listening to counsels in the matter, justice Bello Kawu of the court granted the order and restrained the party from going g ahead with the convention and also warned that the subject matter of the case is now subjudice and must nor be tampered with.
Already, a contempt application has been file before the court against the March 26 national convention of the party.
The claimant informed the court that the mere inauguration of sub-committees for the March 26 national convention when the order of the honourable court is in force is a demonstration of disdain for the rule of law in the country.
While the court has fixed March 30, 2022 for the continuation of hearing of the substantive suit, no date has been fixed for the commencement of contempt proceedings against the APC.
Desperate Cabal Out To Procure Court Injunction Against Buni – Group
Meanwhile, the APC Youth Development and Solidarity Network has alleged that some cabals are desperately out to procure a court injunction against the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under Governor Mai Mala Buni.
The group said a whopping N5billion has been earmarked for the purpose.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the group led by Tobias Ogbeh, its secretary general, said the plan is aimed at causing an uprising within the APC and the country at large in pursuit of an ambition built on deceit and the quest for power through the back door.
Ogbeh said, “As we may be aware, some governors within the party have attempted to change the leadership of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under Governor Mai Mala Buni.
“As despicable as this might sound, there has been an attempt at effecting a change in the leadership of the party, not on the strength of the interest of the party, but in furtherance of a blind ambition towards taking over the party structure through the back door in the buildup to the 2023 general elections.
“We wish to state that we have it on good authority that since the humiliation suffered by the sponsors of the failed leadership change in the party, there have been concerted efforts to use the instrument of the court to achieve their objective of effecting a change in the leadership of the party.
“We wish to inform all APC stakeholders and members of the general public that part of the new plot is to secure a court judgement through the back door that would sack the party’s leadership from office. The scheme, which is heavily funded by a serving Minister and presidential aspirant from the South south , has earmarked close to 5 billion naira for this purpose.
“We have credible information that the overarching plot is to cause an embarrassment to President Muhammadu Buhari, who from all indications was not in support of the leadership change and never gave his blessings as been speculated in the media by the brains behind the despicable plot” he said
Ogbeh also alerted members of the public as well as the security agencies that the sum of 2.5 billion naira has been earmarked as payment for the lawyers that would initiate the process, as well as reaching out to the willing judge, who would, in turn, be rewarded with the sum of 2. 5 billion naira.
The plan, he added, is for the judge to give an injunction against the Chairman of the CECPC that would pave the way for a change in the party’s leadership through the back door.
Noting that part of the plan is to secretly obtain this order without service on the parties in a way of ex parte motion, Ogbeh said, “This is unacceptable for a serving minister of the APC to lead this plot against a party through which he actualized his ambition of being a Minister for almost 8 years despite the odds against him.
“We wish to use this medium to call all relevant security agencies and anti-corruption agencies to be on the watch out for this despicable plot to undermine democracy. The Nigerian Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the Department of State Security should be on alert in this regard as the plot has reached an advanced stage.”
He stated that the general public is also encouraged to be on the watch as the manifestation of this plot would gather steam soonest.
“It is our considered opinion that this Minister and some governors are desperate to secure the court injunction to secure a change in the party’s leadership”, Ogbeh said, even as he noted that the party’s interest must come first, and Nigerians must come to terms with the stark reality before us to stand up for the truth in the perseverance of the APC as a party of progressive-minded people.
Show More

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button