The leadership crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a twist on Tuesday when the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) bounced back to reclaim control of the national secretariat of the party.
Although Governor Buni was not around at the secretariat, CECPC Secretary, Sen John James Akpanudoedehe, had stormed the party’s headquarters around 12 noon, in a rousing welcome from the members of the secretariat staff.
Arriving the secretariat in the company of Buni’s men, the party’s chief scribe had told newsmen that the situation in the party was grossly misrepresented.
In a statement he issued on arrival, he reiterated his claim that Governor Buni is totally in charge, commending the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for, “for firm guidance in the entire circumstances.”
The Buni’s CECPC reassured the party’s leaders, stakeholders and members that the March 26 proposed national convention is still on course.
Reassuring that the processes for the convention are in place, the Buni-led CECPC disclosed that; “the party has engaged a team of senior lawyers to address a purported court order halting the planned APC National Convention.”
According to the statement; “the APC Caretaker Committee under the chairmanship of Governor Buni makes this press release to clarify the events of last week.
We reassure the membership and stakeholders of the party, as well as the Nigerian people in general, that the governing party is crisis-free, strong and remains united in giving the country the transformative leadership and good governance which she promised them.
“The CECPC, therefore, informs the Press and the General Public as follows: That the CECPC was appointed, and has always done her best, to steer the affairs of the APC in line with the mandate invested in her at the inauguration by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress.
“That on February 28, 2022, the CECPC Chairman took a long-delayed trip abroad on health grounds, leaving behind written authorisation for other members of the CECPC to continue work in his absence, particularly the day to day management of the APC.
“That in his absence, sundry activities earlier scheduled for action appeared to develop fresh urgency in order to satisfy the timetable for the 2023 general elections released by the INEC, thus galvanizing some within the CECPC to act in their best understanding of both the situation and the leadership dynamics in the Committee/party.
That all such actions were clearly identified at all times as happening in an acting or proxy capacity, and under the auspices of the substantive Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni, contrary to widespread speculations that the Chairman, Secretary or some other officials of the CECPC have been removed from Office or otherwise replaced,” he noted.
On the convention and the role played by the Electoral umpire, the Buni-led Committee wrote: “That the CECPC is intact and functional as originally constituted. That delivering a seamlessly successful National Convention for the APC on March 26, 2022, is a top priority for the CECPC.
“We shall continue to execute such assignments as are legal pending the return of the Chairman who is on his way back to the country and shall resume office on arrival with the full support of all members and other stakeholders. We are grateful to INEC for her firm guidance in the entire circumstances,” it commended.
Commenting on the attempt to vacate the court orders threatening the conduct of the convention, the statement noted: “the party has engaged a team of senior lawyers to address a purported court order halting the planned APC national convention.”
“We hereby call on the Judiciary to give the matter the needed and expedient attention in our bid to vacate the purported Court order and allow for the conduct of a transparent and rancour-free national convention deserving of our great party, APC.
“The Caretaker Committee hereby restates absolute loyalty to the APC, thanks to the national organs and leadership of our party led by President Muhammadu Buhari, and reassures our members and citizens that the party is stronger than ever before and poised to extend her winning streak since 2015 into 2023 and beyond,” the statement read.