- Ahead of its national convention, the ruling APC is sharply divided over who is the real chairman of the ruling party
- While Governor Umahi said Mai Mala Buni remains the party's acting chairman, Governor El-Rufai said the Yobe governor has been removed
- El-Rufai said Governor Sani Bello of Niger state has replaced Buni with the backing of President Buhari and 19 governors
Abakaliki, Ebonyi state - Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state governor has insisted that Mai Mala Buni remains the caretaker committee chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Umahi said this in Abakaliki just as he said that there’s no crisis in the APC and tasked party members to dispel the rumours that the ruling party is divided, The Punch reported.
He said Buni, the governor of Yobe state, is the APC acting chairman while Governor Sani Bello of Niger state only acted for the former while he was away on medical leave.
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“We are battle-ready. This is not about the Governor of Ebonyi State; Nigerians are fighting for us. I want to thank the National Chairman of APC. And let me tell you that there is no division in APC. The chairman went on medical leave. And we were there when he asked the governor of Niger State, Mr Bello, to act for him.
“If there will be change, it will be notified. But for now, there is no change, and there is no crack. It is the PDP that is doing everything to destroy this country. But let me tell you, the attention of our party, the APC, has been drawn to all their antics, why they are misleading this country.”
Buni is gone, Buhari, 19 governors back his removal
Contrary to Umahi's statement, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state said Buni can never return as the chairman of the caretaker committee of the ruling APC.
Speaking on Channels Television on Wednesday, March 9, Governor El-Rufai said Buni, who was currently out of the country, could only return as governor of Yobe state, but not as chairman of the ruling party.
According to El-Rufai, the Niger state governor, Sani Bello has the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari and 19 governors to replace Buni.
INEC reacts to Governor Buni's sack
Meanwhile, the crisis bedeviling the ruling APC may have started yielding negative effects on the party as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected the nomination of Governor Bello as the caretaker chairman.
Sources within the APC have said that Governor Bello, upon resumption as chairman of CECPC transmitted a letter dated March 8, informing INEC of the change in leadership at the APC's national secretariat.
However, in a swift reaction, the commission has replied to the letter noting that it is not aware of a change of leadership within the APC.