APC crisis: Buhari backs Buni, cautions governors over convention

Buhari instructed that Buni should be allowed to continue as APC caretaker Chairman pending the emergence of a substantive chairman through the convention.

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Yobe state Governor, Mai Mala Buni in London. [Twitter:@BuniMedia]

President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, should immediately take over the affairs of the Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The president also gave Buni the mandate to ensure that the APC National Convention holds on March 26 as scheduled.

This was revealed in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

This is coming shortly after photos surfaced on social media showing Buhari and Buni at the president's residence in London.

Meanwhile, Adesina confirmed that the governor, who had been in Dubai for medical purposes, stopped by in London to meet with Buhari over the leadership crisis in the APC.

Recall that shortly after Buni left Nigeria, Niger state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello took over the leadership of the party in the Acting-Chairman position.

Kaduna state Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai later declared that Buni will not return as the Chairman of the APC, claiming Buhari has approved his removal from that position.

El-Rufai also said 19 governors on the party's platform supported Buni's ouster and are backing Sani Bello as the new Chairman.

However, the party was forced to backtrack on its position after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) subsequently rejected a notice of a national executive committee (NEC) meeting announced by Bello.

This development has created uncertainties around the party's future as the 2023 general elections draw ever closer.

According to Adesina, the directives issued buy Buhari is part of the president's efforts to intervene in the crisis rocking the ruling party.

The spokesman also revealed that Buhari wrote a letter to Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State who is also the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum.

In the letter dated March 16 Buhari noted that APC “has demonstrated its inability to proceed with the issue of effecting change in the leadership of its Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee (CECC)”.

“It has come to my attention that, because of recent events, the APC is faced with a multiplicity of court cases pending against it in various courts across the country. As a result of this, the party faces the possibility and prospect of the invalidation of all its activities and actions by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” the letter reads.

“The party has demonstrated its inability to proceed with the issue of effecting change in the leadership of its Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee (CECC), in a way that is inclusive, legal and respectful of the time limit set and required for giving the INEC Sufficient notice of the time and venue for holding its convention.

“No doubt, these controversies and uncertainties, as enumerated above, pose a real threat to the party; and may lead to a possible non-recognition of its activities, elections and the probable invalidation of all its other actions by INEC. This may ultimately even lead [to] its implosion and non-existence.

“First, the issue of the leadership of the Caretaker Extra Ordinary Convention Committee (CECC), should immediately return to status quo ante.

“Second, all members of the governors’ forum and their followers should desist from any behaviour or utterance that will likely lead to disunity in the ranks of the party, and ultimately jeopardise the transition to the convention.

“Third, the Mai Mala Buni-led CECC should, accordingly, be allowed to proceed with all necessary preparations to hold the convention as planned-unfailingly, on 26th March, 2022.”

Recall that a coalition of APC Youth Groups have passed a vote of confidence onBuni of Yobe as leader of the party’s CECPC.

Leader of the group, Malam Bashar Binji, told a news conference in Abuja on Sunday that Buni remained the chairman of the committee in spite of antics of detractors.

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