APC Leadership: Bello Denies Succeeding Buni

…States Chairmen Take Oath Of Office One 
…CECPC Receives Zoning Committee’s Report
…No Leadership Change In APC – Caretaker Secretary

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday landed into what could be best described as the state of leadership quandary as Abubakar Bello, the Niger State Governor who has been reportedly appointed Interim Chairman of the party decline comments on the development.

Mai Mala Buni, the Yobe State Governor has been allegedly removed as the Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and was replaced with Bello.

President Muhamadu Buhari reportedly gave the approval after a faction of APC governors allegedly complained  to him that Buni was not inclined to holding the March 26 National Convention hence there were no preparations to that effect as at date.

While Buni is currently in Dubai receiving medical attention and was not around to defend himself against the allegations, Buhari yesterday (Sunday) departed Abuja for routine medical check-up in London.

Bello who is also a member of the CECPC summoned a meeting of the Committee at the National Secretariat today (Monday) and but there was heavy security around the Buhari House which according to sources was to prevent him access to the premises.

A credible source at the Secretariat confided in BusinessDay that the tight security at the Secretariat is to hinder the Niger Governor and his loyalists in the CECPC from accessing the Buhari House to take over.

“The presence of the security here is unusual. The simple reason is to prevent Bello and his allies in the Caretaker from entering the Secretariat to take over or hold any meeting. Know that His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni is still in charge and even in his absence, the Secretary, Akpanudoedehe is controlling the Secretariat, the APC Secretariat staff said.

However, the Niger Governor stormed the Secretariat at around 12: noon, headed straight to the NWC Hall, mounted the National Chairman’s seat and presided over CECPC meeting which was attended by nine out of the 12 members of the Committee, including the Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe.

Bello’s arrival at the Secretariat and mounting of the National Chairman’s seat sent out feelers that he assumed the position of Interim Chairman or head of the CECPC.

But addressing journalists shortly after the meeting, the Power State Governor said he only presided over the meeting as Acting Chairman in the absence of Buni, adding that he has been doing that since the Yobe Governor travelled.

“I have been acting for a while since the Chairman traveled. You said news. No comment…I am not aware of any position, ” Bello said while declining comments about Buni’s removal and his appointment as a replacement but that he has the backing of the President.

Explaining the security beef up at the Secretariat, Chairman of the North Central Governors Forum said: “Eevery time there is a major event, we beef up security. Today we have a major event and all the Chairmen came in and they are to maintain law and order.

On what transpired at the CECPC meeting, he said: “The States Chairmen took their oath of Office today and we discussed progress made so far on the Convention and what needs to be done next so that we will achieve the March 26 date for Convention”.

The States Chairmen of the party were inaugurated on February 3 without taking oath of Office contrary to Article 29 of the APC Constitution 2014 as amended.

It states that:”Every Officer elected or appointed as an officer of the Party shall subscribe to the Oath of Office as provided in Schedule II to thisConstitution before an appropriate Principal Officer of the Party as may beapproved by the National Working Committee.”

But when the CECPC Secretary,  Akpanudoedehe who performed the inauguration at the NEC Hall in the APC Secretariat had simply said he asked to issue certificate of return to the Chairmen and after issuance of the certificates, he called for National Anthem to close the event.

“I have been asked to issue you a certificate of return as duly elected chairmen of your state. So it’s going be very brief. So I want to start by calling one by one, each of the states,” Akpanudoedehe.

Meanwhile, the CECPC led by Governor Bello and Akpanudoedehe, the Secretary received the report of the APC zoning sub-committee for the Convention headed by Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq,the Kwara State Governor.

Abdulrazaq was accompanied by other members of the Committee, including the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya and Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum.

The report was submitted despite the zoning arrangement believed to be endorsed by President Muhamadu Buhari who appended his signature on the document.

According to the template, the National Chairman is zoned to the North-Central; National Secretary, South-South; Deputy National Chairman (South), South-East; and Deputy National Chairman (North), North-East among others.

Speaking with journalists after receiving the report, the acting CECPC Chairman said the report was very crucial for the conduct of the convention.

“Most of my colleagues are here to support me to receive the report. You know the zoning committee report is a very important one. And all the governors here are here to support me. Now, at zonal level, they can go and do their work,” Bello said.

Earlier, Akpanudoedehe APC CECPC Secretary said there was no change in the party’s leadership, describing media reports pointing to that effect as fake news.

Akpanudoedehe in statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Monday said the media reports are fake  and should be disregarded.

“Our attention has been drawn to sponsored media reports on an imaginary leadership change in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).

“The APC is a progressive political party guided by rules. Leadership changes are not announced by ‘sources’ through name dropping in the media.

“We urge our teeming supporters, members and indeed the general public to remain calm and support the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC CECPC conduct a rancour-free and credible National Convention deserving of our great party,” the statement read.

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