THE National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) scheduled for next Thursday suffered a serious setback due to a rebuff from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A letter to Niger State Governor and CECPC Acting Chairman Abubakar Sani Bello from the commission’s secretary, Rose Oriran Anthony, reveals that INEC has refused to recognize Governor Bello as chairman of the committee.
In the letter dated March 9, 2022, the commission argued that Governor Buni and Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, as President and National Secretary, respectively, should have signed the notification of the APC NEC meeting under the provision of Article 1.1.3 of the Rules and Guidelines of the Commission on the Operation of Political Parties (2018).
The letter reads in part: “Please refer to your letter Ref. APC/NHDQ/INEC/019/022/32, dated March 8, 2022. “The committee draws your attention to the fact that the notice of meeting has not been signed by the National President and the National Secretary of the CECPC, contrary to the provision of Article 1.1.3 of the Rules and Guidelines on the Operation of Political Parties of the Commission (2018).
“Further, the CPA is reminded of the provision of Section 82(1) of the Elections Act 2022, which requires ‘not less than 21 days notice’ of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for purposes of “merger” and elect members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominate candidates for any elective office.
“While hoping these issues will be noted for compliance, please accept the assurances of warm greetings from the committee.”
A Saturday Tribune source revealed that the anti-Buni governors are already in a dilemma over how to proceed with the NEC meeting and convention in the absence of formal letters of resignation as president and secretary of the duo of Buni and Akpanudoedehe.
The party source noted that under Article 14.1 of the 2014 APC Constitution (as amended), Governor Buni is the only one who can convene and chair the NEC meeting. The article reads: “The national president shall: (i) be the chief executive officer, accountant and chair the meetings of the national executive committee and the national working committee of the party.” The source argued that the dismissal of Governor Buni without recourse to the NEC was a clear violation of Article 13.3 (v) which grants this statutory body of the APC the power to dismiss offending national officers.
He recalled that the former National Chairman of the Party and former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, was removed from office by the NEC which in June 2020 announced the establishment of the CECPC.
The article reads in part as follows: “The National Executive Committee of the Party is the main executive organ of the Party and performs the following functions:
“Exercise control and take disciplinary measures over all organs, leaders and members of the Party and decide on appeals brought before it by any member or organ of the Party”.
The source revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari, who was aware of the NEC meeting that removed Oshiomhole, could not have ordered the removal of Governor Buni through a simple verbal order.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has no power to unilaterally sack Governor Buni as the party’s interim chairman. The president could not have done that because he knows the law and the party constitution.
“For those who may not be aware, the only party body that can remove Buni as party president is the National Executive Committee, which is the party’s highest decision-making body. And President Buhari is not the NEC of the party.
“If he no longer wants Buni as party president for whatever reason, the best he can do, being the person with the highest influence in the party due to the position he holds, is to secretly pressure those at the NEC to find a way to remove Buni.
Those who claim that Buhari abducted me are droppers -Buni
Further investigation revealed that after being informed that INEC was unwilling to be a tool in the palace coup against the governor of Yobe State, the camp of the governor of State of Niger pressures Governor Buni to officially declare that he has ceased to be the party’s president.
Governor Buni’s press director Mamman Mohammed, however, denied knowledge of pressure on his director to throw in the towel, saying President Buhari had not given instructions for his director to be removed. of his functions as President of the CECPC.
He told the Saturday Tribune in a telephone interview that Governor Buni was not back in the country as assumed. He said, “You ask who to quit? He is still the president of the party and he will not resign. Upon his return, he will resume his office. He is still the president. The INEC has made it clear that as far as they are concerned, Governor Buni is the president.
“Have you seen a letter from President Buhari asking Buni to resign? There is no such communication from President Buhari. One day we will wake up and a governor of the People’s Democratic Party will say that Buhari asked him to take over the chairmanship of the APC. I don’t know if any of the governors who fuel this anarchy will give up their governorship if someone says that Buhari asked him to assume the governorship of the state in his domain.
Bello acts for Buni —CECPC
Speaking to reporters on Friday, APCCECPC spokesman Ismaeel Ahmed said the leadership under Governor Bello would proceed with the NEC and national convention as planned despite INEC’s stance that it would not would not participate in the violation of the electoral law and the constitution of the APC. .
Asked by reporters whether the APC would defer to INEC’s request for the statutory 21-day notice before the convention, Ahmed who, by the way, is a lawyer, said the commission’s position was misinterpretation of electoral law. He argued there was no need for a new notice since the ruling party had previously informed INEC of an earlier date of February 26.
He said, “Our convention would be on March 26. I am not only a young leader or a party spokesperson, I am also a lawyer. And we served notice to INEC for February 26 earlier. We served this notice on February 5 and that was the required 21 days. If you are going to make an adjustment to this date, all you need is a letter, making an adjustment to the date. You don’t need another 21 days and this letter was written about two weeks ago when we realized we couldn’t hold it back on February 26th.
“At the time when the CECPC gave its agreement on March 26, this letter was written to the INEC, the commission accepted this letter. So that’s long gone, that’s not a problem. The question of the date of the convention is not in question, not at the INEC, certainly not with us. It is all good. It’s sacrosanct, this March 26th, and we followed all the rules and notified the INEC as required for us to do so. So that’s no longer a problem. »
Ahmed, however, contradicted Governor Bello who denied having knowledge of a letter written by Governor Buni to transfer the administration of the party’s national secretariat to him. The party spokesman confessed that the governor of Yobe State had in fact written a letter mandating his counterpart from Niger State to act as interim governor. He however said that the party would not delay the election of new national officers as Buni had to deal with his health issue.
“Someone asked what is the position of Governor Mai-Mala Buni? I think it’s very simple. I don’t know why this is complicated for many people to understand. Since the creation of this CECPC on June 25, 2020, whenever the President is not there and Governor Sani Bello is there, he acts on behalf of the Acting President. This has always been the case which has never changed. This has always been the case.
“And now we have a convention on March 26, the president wrote a letter for his leave for medical treatment. These are two emergencies. He has a medical emergency that cannot wait for the convention. We have a convention that cannot don’t wait until he’s healthy. So one has to go for the other. The president left, delivered a letter, Governor Sani Bello acted appropriately. What’s the matter? Why is it hard for people to just understand that?
“I just don’t understand why people make it a problem. Governor Bello acts with the full authority of the interim committee and with the full authority of the stakeholders and party leaders and with the full consent and knowledge of Governor Mai-Mala Buni. It is very clear and very simple. If anyone has a problem with one of our decisions, you can take them to court. For now, we do so with the full authority and backing of the law. So there is no ambiguity there. Absolutely none.