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HomePoliticsAPC further engulf in crisis as Niger Gov takes over party leadership

APC further engulf in crisis as Niger Gov takes over party leadership

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The crisis within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for several months suddenly took a new dimension on Monday when the governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello assumed leadership of the party in the absence of the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Mai Mala Buni.

Buni, who is the governor of Yobe State was appointed to head the of CECPC in 2020 to organise the National Convention of the party and steer the ruling party away from imminent collaspe due to internal conflict after the sacking of its hitherto Chairman Adams Oshiomhole..

However, instead of Buni spending six months as stipulated by the party National Executive Council (NEC), his tenure has been extended more than three times since then.

However, Governor Bello, who is a member of the caretaker committee, on Monday arrived at the APC national secretariat to preside over of the meeting of CECPC in acting capacity.

This led to confusion on the status of Buni in the party as Bello told journalists that he was not aware of his (Buni) position.

But an aide to the Yobe State Governor at the APC secretariat, Yusuf Ali said Buni, who is currently on medical trip to Dubai remained the party chairman, adding that governors were in support of him.

The Niger State governor, Bello, who arrived amid heightened security presence comprising about 70 security personnel with no less than 15 patrol vehicles which barricaded access roads to the premises, said he had the blessing of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The governor disclosed this to reporters shortly after a meeting with members of the caretaker committee and state chairmen of the APC.

When asked in what capacity he was taking action, he responded, “Acting chairman of the APC and governor of Niger State. I am acting chairman, caretaker committee.”

But when Bello was asked what Buni’s position in the party was, he responded, “I am not aware of any position at the moment.”

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Explaining the purpose of his visit to the national secretariat, the acting chairman said “The state chairmen took their oath of office today and we discussed progress made so far on convention and what needs to be done next so that we will achieve the March 26 date for the convention.”

The development appeared strange to some party officials who said the National Secretary of the CECPC, Dr John Akpanudoedehe, had always overseen the daily operations of the party including the handing of certificates to state chairmen in early February, and not the Niger State governor.

As acting chairman, Bello also received a report of the party’s zoning committee ahead of the March 26 national convention.

According to the APC, the committee was inaugurated to ensure a just and equitable sharing formula of leadership positions in all the geopolitical zones in the country.

Speaking after receiving the report, the Niger State governor said his role in the CECPC had the President’s blessing.

He also explained the reason for the heightened security presence, saying it was meant to maintain law and order in the midst of Monday’s “major event”.

“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 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.”

Asked if the happenings at the Secretariat had the blessing of the President, he said: “Of course”.

Party leaders said the President stepped into the crisis in a bid to avert major breakdown because of surreptitious move by some members of the cartaker committee to abort the national convention.

According to sources in the party, there was a court injuction obtained by a strange fellow to rerstrain the holding of the party convention on March 26 and it was observed that the chairman of the caretaker committee had not make any move to challenge the court injuction, raising further suspicion of the involvement of the party official in the plot.

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