APC Crisis: Governors, Others Jitter As Buhari Returns Ahead of Party’s Convention
- Earlier, governors of the ruling APC converged in Abuja to discuss crucial issues regarding the forthcoming national convention of the party
- In another move, President Muhammadu Buhari backed Governor Buni's caretaker committee and urged members to work with him ahead of the convention, against his removal
- In a twist of an event, the president's return from the UK has shaped the forthcoming polls as governors and major stakeholders are on their toes, anxious to get things done right ahead of March 26
The political atmosphere in the All Progressives Congress (APC) has risen to its crescendo following the return of President Muhammadu Buhari from his United Kingdom vacation.
The president returned to the country Friday night, March 18, after two weeks of sojourn in the European country.
While away in the United Kingdom, the president had to wrap his head around the political affairs of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Legit.ng reports.
The APC had recently been entangled in crisis over its national convention after the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni left the country for a medical trip.
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Buni had reportedly charged the Niger state governor, Sani Bello, to oversee the affairs of the party while he was away.
But Bello and other officials took over the party secretariat as the authentic leadership of the party, purportedly under the directive of Mr President, charging the party into a political ‘war’, with different camps running to meet the president in the United Kingdom in order to buy him into their interests.
Buhari’s support for Bello
President Buhari had initially declared support for the Bello-led leadership of the party after it took over the party’s secretariat and announced that the March 26 convention of the party remained sacrosanct, but the president’s initial position contradicted the view of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC on the matter.
Legit.ng recalls INEC had in a reply to the APC insisted that the letter it submitted on the party’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting be signed by the recognized party leadership.
The commission also faulted the party for not notifying it about its meeting 21 days earlier.
Following the development, many had thought INEC and the party were heading for a collision course over the matter, and efforts were made by party stakeholders to approach Mr. President on the matter.
Buhari reverses decision
A source who does not want his name in print told Legit.ng that some stakeholders mobilized and had a meeting with the president regarding the issue in the party, and they told the president that since the Buni-led leadership has also agreed to continue with the convention, there was no need to change the party’s leadership. They said such action would tear the party apart ahead of the 2023 election.
The source said:
"And Mr President, the father that he is, listened to the advice and consequently changed his position on the matter. His last statement on the matter was an afterthought. You know the president listens when it matters, and he ordered that the Buni-led leadership be reinstated.
“One wonders what would have happened to the party if there was no Buhari. But baba’s return has further created tension among party members as some trying to breed trouble in the party have suddenly gone quiet.
“Our members should not create the impression that APC is Buhari and Buhari is APC. How then will the party survive after Buhari?”
Buni-led CECPC takes over
Following Buni’s meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the UK, he summoned courage and contacted the secretary of the committee who stormed the party secretariat to re-affirm that Buni remains the party’s chairman despite the attempt to remove him.
Planning Committee (CECPC) Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, and other party supporters addressed the media.
Just after the address at the party’s secretariat affirming Buni’s continuous stay as party’s chairman, Buni returned home from his medical trip to take over his position.
He consequently followed Buhari’s directive that further crisis in the party was capable of tearing the party apart.
Buni followed his advice on reconciliation, and consequently commended the Bello-led leadership that purportedly stood in for him while he was away.
An eyebrow was, however, raised on the absence of Akpanudoedehe from the media briefing. But the chairman has since dismissed any more cracks in the party, saying the absence of Akpanudoedehe was because it was an emergency gathering.
Buhari’s return coincides with vacation of court order
Legit.ng has observed that immediately President Buhari returned to the country, a court order stopping the APC convention was vacated by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting at Kubwa, a satellite town in Abuja.
The court presided by Justice Bello Kawu vacated an earlier order stopping the party’s convention.
There were suspicions that Buni was allegedly behind the court order stopping the convention, and the vacation of the order after Buhari took a new position in his favour further confirmed the suspicion.
Guardian reported that an expert order had been obtained by one Salisu Umoru, which temporarily restrained the APC; Mai Mala Buni; and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the convention which had been fixed for March 26.
But upon a case filed by the court that the order is set aside, Justice Kawu held that the plaintiff lacked the locus to take drag the party, especially as an individual member of the party.
The judge further ruled that the injunction had been overtaken by a supreme court ruling in a similar matter. The order was consequently vacated. This development coincides with the return of President Muhammadu Buhari who clearly is in support of the APC convention holding on the fixed date.
A party chieftain who also pleaded not to be named said that with the return of President Buhari, a lot will change ahead of the APC convention. He said that even the governors who played different roles in ensuring that the party leadership remains divided are jittering now that Mr president has returned to Nigeria.
“You can see that everyone is trying to sit up because Mr. President has arrived. Even the governors themselves cannot go against Mr president’s directive. I think we should stop saying the APC is divided. We are not divided. The governors, because of their personal interests are dividing us. I hear the president has warned them and he has sent a special message to those ready to further polarise the party."
Whichever way Nigerians look at the development in the APC, it’s clear that President Buhari holds the ace to the crisis rocking the party.
Ahead of the convention, which is a few days from now, intrigues and permutations are expected even against Buhari’s advice.
APC crisis: How Buni, Yahaya Bello defeated El-Rufai’s camp, fresh facts emerge
The internal crisis rocking the ruling APC in recent times is said to be fuelled by some major stakeholders of the party.
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the plot to remove the Yobe state governor failed due to the intervention of INEC and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Meanwhile, the plot to remove Buni as the chairman of the party's caretaker committee thickens when he travels outside the shores of Nigeria for a medical check-up.