The crisis of leadership in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC assumed another twist on Thursday following indications that the embattled National Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Gov. Mai Mala Buni officially transmitted a letter handing over power to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello
This came as Gov. Bello hinted that the National Secretary of the CECPC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe might be replaced soon even though he said the matter has not been tabled for discussion.
Vanguard had on Monday exclusively reported details of how Gov. Bello emerged as acting National Chairman, stating how Buni was persuaded to transfer power to him rather than to the Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe.
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Vanguard had reported that Gov. Buni had earlier wanted to hand over to the National Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe or a former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani but that some forces within the party, especially state governors, wanted a “neutral” person to steer the affairs of the party in the interim.
“Last week, Governor Mai Mala Buni travelled overseas on a private visit and appointed via a letter Governor Sani Bello to act in his absence.”, a source in the office of Governor Buni told this newspaper, dispelling rumours that President Muhammadu Buhari had sacked Buni as the Chairman of the APC CECPC and appointed Governor Sani Bello.
“Gov. Buni usually hands over to Sen. Akpanudoedehe and on few occasions, to Sen. Ken Nnamani. Before he jetted out of the country, he wanted to hand over to either of the two but some vested interests prevailed on him to hand over to Gov. Bello, and which he did. It is surprising that some people are now spinning very dangerous narratives to the effect that Buni has been sacked and to the ridiculous extent of some characters saying a sole administrator has been named, implying that the CECPC has been disbanded. Nothing can be farther from the truth”, said a party source.
However, on Wednesday, the said letter was leaked to the public, showing how Gov. Buni handed over to Gov. Bello.
While the Niger state Governor has denied receipt of the said letter, one of his close allies said Buni’s letter was an afterthought.
“Buni initially transmitted powers to Akpanudoedehe, the secretary but on Monday when they saw how the pendulum was swinging and how Gov. Bello was wisely supported to take over the reins of the party, the Buni camp decided to hurriedly put together another letter and transmitting powers to Gov. Bello. So, it was an afterthought and that was why even though they backdated the letter, they couldn’t send it to us be she we know when they typed it and why they did that”, said Bello’s ally.
When asked if elko had received any letter, he simply said no, but added that the “letter for National Convention has been sent”, to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
Kaduna state Governor, Nasir el-Rufai had on Wednesday night said Gov. Buni was sacked and that he did not willingly transmit power to anyone.
However, in the letter dated February 28, Buni directed Governor Bello to act in his absence as the chairman of CECPC because he would be away for a medical trip to Dubai.
The letter was also copied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all members of CECPC.
The letter reads: “This is to please inform you that I will be embarking on a medical trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from today, 28th February, 2022.
“In my absence, I hereby transmit the functions of my office as the National Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to you.
“This is to enable the committee conclude all arrangements leading to the National Convention slated for March 26th, 2022 and other duties that may be required of the office.
“I invite all members to cooperate with Governor Abubakar Sani Bello by extending to him all the support that I have enjoyed from you.
“Please do accept the assurances of my best regards.”
But when confronted after a meeting of the CECPC Thursday at the national secretariat of APC, governor Sani-Bello told newsmen that he has not seen the said letter.
When asked the governor simply said: “The letter? I haven’t seen it. Did you say on social media? I have not seen it.”
When asked to confirm whether the CECPC has appointed another national secretary, governor Bello said: “It has not been discussed. It wasn’t on the agenda in today meeting.
Probed further on whether another national secretary will be appointed, the Niger governor said: “Probably. But it has not been discussed yet.”