The All Progressives Congress (APC) could be facing more headache as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected a letter inviting it to an emergency meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC).
The development implies that the electoral body did not recognize the removal of Gov Mai Mala Buni as chairman of the party’s caretaker committee and his subsequent replacement by Abubakar Sanni Bello, governor of Niger State.
INEC’s response, which dated March 9, 2022, signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Rose Oriaran Anthony, was titled, “Re: Invitation to the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee”, and addressed to the National Chairman, APC CECPC.
The commission drew the attention of the CECPC to the fact that the letter of invitation was not signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the CECPC, Buni and Senator John Akpanudoedehe, respectively.
This, it said, was contrary to the provision of Article 1.1.3 of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).
INEC also reminded those who wrote and signed the letter of the provision in Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, “which requires at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress, conference, or meeting convened for the purpose of merger and electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any elective office.”
The commission, therefore, urged APC to note the key issues raised for compliance.
The letter by INEC is considered a big clog in the wheels of a plot by a bloc in the party to stage a coup against Buni, who duly transferred power to Governors Sani Bello of Niger State, to enable him to attend briefly to health issues, according to a leaked letter on Thursday.
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State had indicated on a TV program on Wednesday night that Buni was pushed aside because he was working against holding the APC’s planned National Convention, a claim Buni’s letter, dated February 28, 2022, and addressed to CECPC members, countered.
INEC’s letter read, “Please refer to your letter Ref.APC/NHDQ/INEC/019/022/32, dated 8th March 2022.
“The Commission draws your attention to the fact that the notice for the meeting was not signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the CECPC contrary to the provision of the Article 1.1.3 of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).
“Furthermore, the APC is reminded of the provision in Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which requires at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress, conference, or meeting convened for the purpose of ‘merger’ and electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any elective office.
“While hoping these issues are noted for compliance, please accept the assurance of the Commission’s warm regards.”