Former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to allow him continue as the chairman of the committee until after the national convention of the party which holds in the next two weeks, THISDAY gathered on Thursday.
Essentially, it was learnt that Buni has reached out to Buhari to forgive him of any perceived wrongdoing and allow him to return and conclude the convention in order to forestall any form of legal interpretation of his dramatic removal.
In addition, some of the Yobe State governor’s supporters who are mainly first term governors have also pleaded with Buhari to allow the CECPC chairman to finish his assignment, hand over to the new executive that would be constituted at the national convention and go away. They reason that allowing Buni to conduct the convention which is just two weeks away rather than create unnecessary problems and all sorts of legal complications. According to his supporters, this option is far less complicated than if he doesn’t resign and then resorting to legal challenge of his removal. It is however not certain how disposed the president is to Buni and his supporters’ plea.
However, apparently worried by some of the developments in the ruling APC, some governors and other stakeholders of the party, who are concerned about the state of the party, are jetting out to meet with Buhari in London this weekend, to clarify issues and put closure to the lingering leadership drama.
This is as the Ondo State Governor and Chairman of the South-west Governors’ Forum, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), on Thursday, vowed that no black market court order procured against the party’s national convention would prevent the exercise from holding.
Akeredolu, who did not hide his disdain for Buni’s style of leadership of the CECPC, described his actions as both disdainful and embarrassing.
But while the fireworks appear not ceasing anytime soon, a leaked memo written by Buni, has revealed that he actually handed over the leadership of the party to the current acting chairman and Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, before embarking on medical treatment.
However, disturbed about how things have turned out in the party, especially the way the coup that ousted Buni was executed, some of the aggrieved governors, have established the need to see the president in person and address some of the grey areas.
This, a source among the governors claimed, had become imperative because everything that was done was achieved because they dropped the name of the president all the way, even when there was no communication to that effect to the best of their knowledge.
“It’s important we see the president to seek closure to this whole drama and we are seeing him this weekend. They made up too many stories just so their plan works, especially, a deliberate effort to demonise Buni, which is not true,” he said.
The source, who hinted that things would become clearer by Monday, explained that, “Some people went to go and say certain things to the president, which made him angry and reacted immediately. The truth of the matter is that certain things the president said are not implementable.
“But what really angered the president is the court thing, because they made him believe Buni knew about it, but that is not true. There is no record for the injunction and yet, no one is even taking ownership of the court injunction.
“So, the governors are going to see Buhari this weekend in London and that includes the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the acting chairman, Bello and some other stakeholders. The issues must be understood properly and a closure brought to be,” the sources explained.
But Akeredolu, while singling out Buni and those he characterised as pocket-filling black legs in the corridors of power, for allegedly trying to supplant President Buhari’s will, claimed that the APC did not deserve the kind of antics Yobe governor subjected it to.
“However, the insidious and appalling happenings within our party in the last few months, especially, under the immediate-past leadership clearly posit a huge embarrassment.
“Without necessarily dwelling on details that are known to critical stakeholders, the path taken lately by Governor Mai Mala Buni, the immediate past head of the CECPC and an indivisible few, is an unenviable trajectory undeserving of our dear party. It is a disdainful narrative,” Akeredolu said in a statement.
Nevertheless, he stated that the courage and determination as well as shrewd sincerity of purpose demonstrated by most of the APC governors remained a delight and should be commended.
The governor said the swift response and prompt action taken by the president had, in no small measures, salvaged the party from “internal scavengers”.
He insisted that the APC indeed survived a civilian coup largely inspired by people he said were mischievous and had incurable lust for power through artificial barricades.
The Ondo governor explained that aside feeling very delighted as a major stakeholder in the latest “successful rescue mission,” his confidence in the ability and capacity of the new party chair, Bello, remained unflinching.
“We, the governors are for the party, except for the few ‘yahoo, yahoo’ governors (apologies to Salihu, former DG of the Progressive Governors’ Forum), who were hand in glove with Buni to circumvent the will of majority of our party (APC) members.
“Progressive governors in the true name, mostly all of us, are determined to see our party through these patchy parts at all cost. None of the scanty number has the guts to carry out their imaginary threats as reported in sponsored stories.
“We dare them to leave the party. Their short-lived antics in arm-twisting Buni and probably, some pocket-filling elements within the corridors of power to supplant the president’s will through fake letters, endorsements as well as ‘black market’ injunction (procured since November, 2021) are despicable,” he said.
He recalled that the moments of the struggle as compatriots from all walks of life enunciated and had berthed Nigeria’s most ingeniously successful political network, the APC, adding that without being immodest, APC’s birth was a novel instance as the party’s philosophical beacon woven around its ideological leaning was alluring.
“Undoubtedly, the firm leadership, candour and honesty exemplified by Mr President, who heads the administration that is the product of the APC, deserve no less of support and complimentary responsibilities from all stakeholders,” he said.
According to him, the installation of CECPC of the APC was beyond a call to service, but was a child of necessity moulded to, one, instill discipline in leadership and engender coherence among stakeholders and more importantly, deepen the rule of law in the party.
“Now that the clear motive aimed at frustrating our national convention has been botched, our dear party is on the track to greatness. Governor Sanni Bello, carry on; you have the backing of the majority of us.
“You shall see our full backing come Thursday, 17th March, 2022, at the National Executive Committee meeting. But as you know, this is only for the conduct of the national convention,” Akeredolu concluded.
Meanwhile, Buni had in the leaked letter to Bello, informed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he would be embarking on a medical trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and that he would assume his duty as the party chairman as soon as he returned from Dubai.
The letter read: “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. I will resume office upon my discharge from the hospital.
“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.”