- The position of national secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is vacant
- It was occasioned by the emergence of Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, as Yobe state governor-elect
- The vacant position is currently causing crisis within the ruling party
The vacant position of national secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has kick-started another round of infighting within the ruling party.
A report by Daily Sun indicates that the tussle for the position have split the ruling party as a faction of the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) faction insists on getting the vacant seat.
The current occupant of the office, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, is present,ly Yobe state governor-elect.
CPC is one of the parties that made up the APC in its merger in 2014. Others are the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP).
At inception six years ago, following the merger that brought about the APC, the party positions were shared on pro-rata basis.
There were 32 positions then, ACN nine, CPC nine, ANPP nine and the remaining shared among the smaller parties who were parts of the merger. But the CPC bloc is complaining that just after one term in power of the APC, the party appears to have jettisoned the sharing formula.
One of the CPC stalwarts said that 90 per cent of the members of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) as at today are of the ACN bloc, adding that technically, they have been totally eliminated from the affairs of the party.
He said: “Before our national convention, we were marginalised no doubt, but today what we have is total elimination. Our national chairman is ACN, national secretary, ACN, deputy national chairman (north), ACN, deputy national chairman (south), ACN, national legal adviser, ACN, financial secretary, ACN, national vice chairman (south-south), ACN, I can go and on.
“This is why I call it total elimination. We have been eliminated from the party.”
It was the desire to give the CPC bloc a say in the party affair, that compelled some like minds within the party to prompt Bulama to run for the office of the national secretary in June last year, it was further learnt, before he was brought under “tremendous pressure by the governors and Tinubu to step down.” He stepped down for Buni.
While Bulama had to step down at the last national convention, another of Buhari’s loyalists, Faruk Adamu Aliyu, who like Bulama was prompted to run for the office of the deputy national chairman (north) to represent what they call the “ideological” arm of the group, refused to step down despite appeals from party leaders.
But in the end, in spite of the fact that his candidature enjoyed tremendous support of the core Buhari men in government, like the chief of staff to the president, Abba Kyari, the Customs boss, Hameed Ali, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, and the rest he was roundly defeated by another member of the ACN bloc, Senator Lawal Shuaibu.
At the moment, the north-east zone of the party had been asked to forward a consensus candidate to fill vacancy created by the exit of Buni. But the Yobe state chapter of the party is insisting on producing Buni’s replacement.
Interestingly, Yobe and Borno states are also in hot contest for the Senate presidency. Senator Ahmed Lawan, who is the party’s preferred candidate for the position is from Yobe state, while his major challenger for now, Senator Ali Ndume is from Borno state.
Yobe state APC secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Bakabe, in a recent interview noted that the state has competent personalities to replace Buni.
His words: “We have all it takes to occupy that seat; we have a lot of experienced and intelligent party administrators who are interested in the position. So, definitely, one of our people would be sponsored to occupy that seat again.
“Going by the fact that Buni was able to leave an indelible mark, we feel it’s proper for one of us to go and continue with the good job. Secondly, he only spent a year or less in his second term. So, we have to complete that term because it is Yobe state’s quota.”
Reminded that party stakeholders from Borno are already appealing to Ndume to drop his ambition for Lawan, he insisted: “We (Yobe) want both of them because Borno has occupied a lot of seats at the federal level. In Yobe, we consider whoever occupies that seat from Borno as our own because we were carved out of Borno state.
“I see no reason they cannot concede to us to produce the Senate president and the national secretary of the party at the same time. In this government, they have Chief of Army Staff, National Security Adviser, Chief of Staff to Mr President, EFCC boss and many others. We in Yobe have not complained because we considered them as our brothers.
“So, I think we need both positions and I believe they would concede to that. Ndume would soon concede because even the governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, has expressed his solidarity and support for Ahmed Lawan’s ambition.
“I will like to call on Borno people to rally around Lawan for the Senate president because he is an experienced, committed and intelligent person. He has all it takes to hold that position; he is an orator and quite disciplined. That is why even the president and the party endorsed him, a gesture which I think other senators should consider and vote him.”
He was, however, quick to add that should the party decides otherwise, by micro-zoning it to Borno, the Yobe state APC would not be opposed to it.
“We are very disciplined and organised; whoever the leadership of the party endorses, all of us would support him,” he stated.
Meanwhile, there is serious outcry among some members of the APC over an alleged move by some leaders of the party to foist an unpopular national secretary on the party.
Those fingered in the plot are the party's national chairman; Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, national leader; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and governor of Borno state, Kashim Ibrahim Shettima.
Chieftains of the party who raised the alarm say the trio are planning to jettison the party’s national convention’s norm for the election and selection of executive officers in regard to the vacant position of national secretary.
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