Thirteen governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are set on a collision course with their remaining counterparts in the party as they insist that Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, must retain his position as chairman of the party’s Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
The governors also threatened to abandon the broom party if the decision taken at the National Executive Council (NEC) of APC in 2020 that Buni should head the party until the national convention is held, is not respected by President Muhammadu Buhari and other members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF).
Internal wrangling in the party reached a boiling point on Monday with a faction of APC governors claiming that President Buhari has named Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, as Buni’s replacement to head the CECPC.
Daily Independent gathered that the 13 governors, who met in Abuja on Monday night, contemplated leaving the APC for another political party as their future would be uncertain in their current party if what they described as “the ongoing illegality” is allowed to stand.
Another option on the table, which is being seriously weighed by the governors is teaming up with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as three of them defected to the APC from PDP.
The governors are reportedly upset with the way their colleagues in the “cabal” are belittling them in the decision-making process of the party having first lost out on the fixing of a date for the party’s national convention and are now facing further humiliation with the attempted imposition of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, as the CECPC chairman.
One of the governors from the North-East geopolitical zone protested that “the cabal formed by our other colleagues has suffocated the life out of APC. The party has been reduced to the equivalent of a drug-dealing gang where decisions are now based on who can manipulate President (Muhammadu) Buhari better.
“Even if APC governors were constituted into a kind of electoral college to make decisions for the party, which is not the case, there is no way seven is greater than thirteen. When you have only seven governors forcing their decision on thirteen governors of equal jurisdiction then you know there is a problem.
“So, what we are saying is that we are ready for them. We are not saying that Mai Mala Buni should not stop being the chairman of CECPC, but our point is that there must be due process. There is a proper way to go about it, not some character sneaking to the president to snitch in the dark of the night and then come out throwing the president’s name around.
“If they want us to fall out with them as fellow APC governors then we are ready. But this thing about being dictatorial must stop. It is a democracy, and the APC must run as a democracy. Or else there is no example we are showing anybody as leaders”, the aggrieved governor who spoke anonymously said.
Meanwhile, the 13 governors had their various Attorneys-General write legal opinions on the illegality of what happened at the party’s secretariat on Monday.
Governor Bello has maintained that he was only acting as chairman, since Buni was yet to return from his Dubai medical leave.
But with the inauguration of state chapters’ chairmen and reception of zoning committee report by Bello on Monday, pundits pointed to the fact that he was playing a script written by the seven governors, on behalf of Buhari.
As at night time of filing this report, the presidency was yet to make any official statement on the status of Governor Bello and the fate of Buni.
APC Adopts Zoning Report, Holds NEC Meeting Next Week
Meanwhile, Governor Sani Bello of Niger and acting Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC) CaretakerExtraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), has disclosed that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling party will be convened next week ahead of the party’s national convention.
He also declared that the party has adopted report of the zoning arrangement submitted to it by the Gov. AbdulRazak AbdulRahman led committee.
He said the party will soon unveil the zoning formula to the public.
Fielding reporters’ question after a meeting, Governor Bello said: “The report on the zoning formula has been submitted and adopted and it will be released any moment from now. I mean the zoning formula.
“Hopefully, by next week, the NEC meeting will hold”, he said.
“It is a continuation of yesterday’s meeting. And just know you are not going to be asking me same thing tomorrow because we are going to be meeting every day until convention so that we can put things together.
“Basically, today we looked at the convention sub-committee and we collected some of the reports from the committee hoping that tomorrow we will decide on the next step to take.
“Nothing much happened today”, he noted.
On whether the former CECPC Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, is still part of the new leadership, the Gov. Bello replied, “Ask him”.
APC Senators Meet Over Fear Of Party Implosion
Again, APC senators hurriedly met on Tuesday over fear of implosion in the party.
The senators, who met in Abuja, expressed concern over seeming disarray in the party.
Addressing newsmen shortly after their closed door meeting that lasted for about two hours, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North), said that the concern of the lawmakers on the platform of the APC at the moment is to save the party from further crisis at the national level.
He said: “What we are concerned about is the seeming disarray in the party.”
Senator Abdullahi disclosed that the senators have resolved to serve as uniting block within the party to bring together all the various groups with vested interests.
He said: “We are too worried about what is happening in our party and we expressed our concern over the challenges facing the party very close to its national convention.
“As very important stakeholders in the party, we want to draw the attention of everyone involved to come together and unite so that we can have very successful convention in the party.
“This is not the time for exchanging regrets about what we could do. What is happening is about the future of our party and government and also the capacity of our party to win elections in 2023.
“We cannot afford to come to the convention as a divided entity. Anywhere there are challenges that could cost the party its victory is a loss for everybody.
“So we have resolved to meet again to articulate the major issues and then meet with the various stakeholders and aspirants of the party to advise and call for unity and sense of purpose in order to make sure that we unite every faction, every stakeholder of the party, so that the party can emerge victorious in 2023 elections”.
The APC Senate Caucus, however, commended the Caretaker Committee for some of the gains it made within the last two years. (Daily Independent: Excludes headline)