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Saturday, September 23, 2023

APC in Jeopardy Over Buni’s Continued Stay as National Chair

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…..Party insists its July 31 ward congresses will hold as planned

Wednesday’s Supreme Court split decision that upheld the election of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, as winner of the November 20, 2020 governorship poll, has thrown up confusion within the fold of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), particularly the status of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.

Stakeholders of the party, including the Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, Hillard Etta, Festus Keyamo (SAN) and President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior advisers, Babafemi Ojodu and Ita Enang, among others, have reacted to the court’s observation that Buni’s headship of the interim management committee of the party was in violation of Nigeria’s Constitution.

As early as 7:30a.m. yesterday, the national secretariat of the party was buzzing with human and vehicular traffic, just as a sense of urgency mixed with quiet despondency descended on the members. Nobody died, but there was a shadowy sense of foreboding and inexplicable worry written all over the faces of early callers at the No. 40, Blantyre Street, Wuse 2 secretariat in Abuja.

Despite warnings, the APC, yesterday, said its July 31 ward congresses nationwide will hold as planned. The party, at a media briefing held in Abuja, told its members to ignore statements from some of the party leaders calling for the removal of the Buni-led caretaker committee.

Speaking to journalists about the slim victory from the apex court ruling, CECPC Secretary, Akpanudoedehe, faulted notions in some quarters that the court’s observations would affect the ward congresses scheduled to begin tomorrow.

While contending that the Supreme Court’s judgment had no bearing on the CECPC’s status and its membership, Akpanudoedehe urged party faithful and aspirants to disregard the speculations and come out en masse to participate in the ward congresses.

Alluding to the position canvassed by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Keyamo, he explained that in politics, one can win or lose, stressing, “A lot of people have seen that they are in a disadvantaged position in their communities and wards. They want to vent their anger by misinforming the public.

“I want to assure them that the congresses would be fair and transparent. I advise them to go to their wards and be a party man and a politician who should expect to either win or lose. You can always re-strategise and not to destroy the party.

“On behalf of the caretaker committee, we stand firmly with the national chairman and declare our unalloyed loyalty to President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We will not be used to bring down the government of the APC. We will hold the congresses and we remain firm on it,” he stated.

A member of the dissolved National Working Committee of the party, Etta, regretted that in the hurry to do away with a properly constituted working committee, those who conspired to dismantle the leadership structure failed to take the constitutional provisions into consideration.

Etta, who disclosed that the court case challenging the dissolution of the APC NWC was still at the appellate stage, stated: “My take is that rather than the matter being resolved by the judiciary, it will save us more if we can find a political solution to it. I have been in politics for a long time and I know that judicial pronouncement does not make for political reconciliation.

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