Confusion reigned supreme on Monday, March 7, 2022 in All Progressives Congress (APC’s) the hierarchy as Abubakar Sani Bello, Gov of Niger State, removed Gov Mai Mala Buni, and declared he has taken over the leadership of the party on Acting capacity.
The coups de main allegedly hatched by some APC Governors at the weekend filtered out as rumour until it became a reality.
Gov Bello’s arrival at the party’s National Secretariat at about noon on Monday had caused more than a steer as armed police officers in a show of force, escorted the governor and some of his aide imto the Secretariat causing some workers and visitors to scamper to safety.
The governor who sat on seat usually reserved for the Chairman, immediately presided over a meeting of nine of the 12- member Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) who were on ground, before inaugurating the State Chairmen of the party.
He told reporters that the meeting was called to review preparation for the forthcoming convention of the party as well as receive the report of the party’s Zoning Committee headed by AbdulRazak AbdulRahman, and expressed satisfaction with the report.
Asked why the steer and the fate of Mai Mala Buni,the CECPC Chairman, Gov Bello said he learnt that he travelled, and that he (Sani) will be taking charge as Acting Chairman of the CECPC.
It was reported last night of a crack in the CECPC as some APC Governors reportedly called for meeting of NEC of the party .
When the story of a possible leadership change broke early Monday morning, Senator Akpanudedehe, APC Secretary characteristically dismissed it as a fake news.
A source at the party’s Secretariat also hinted that he was alleged to have rebuffed approach by the Niger State governor to arrange meeting of the APC Caretaker Committee.
Our source disclosed that the secretary vehemently told the CECPC now Acting Chairman that he was not answerable to him.
Asked for his explanation of the rapid development in the APC, Senator Akpanudedehe said the reality is that Gov Mai Mala Buni is away on medical leave, hence the need for somebody to step in as Chairman on Acting capacity. He added that on his return, Buni will return to complete his role. The fact though is that the party has kept tight lips over the fate of Mai Mala Buni, who from all indications has been sacked from his role as CECPC Boss.
Whether or not Akpanudedehe’s deposition was true raised questions when considered against the backdrop of APC Governors that thronged the party’s Secretariat to give support to the Niger State governor.
Among the Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that turned out in their numbers at the party’s National Secretariat in a rare show of solidarity with the new Acting Chairman
Among APC Governors that thronged the party’s headquarters in support of their colleague include Borno State governor, Umaru Zullum, Gov Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), AbdulRazak AbdulRahman (Kwara), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Yahaya Bello (Kogi). They were joined by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Chairman of APC Zoning who submitted the report of the committee.
Asked to know why some of the governors came at short notice, Governor Sani Bello said it not usual adding that what is happening has the full blessing of president Mohammadu Buhari
“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. Of course, what we are doing has the blessings of Mr President” he
A source inside the party however hinted that what may have happened was a smooth”coup” allegedly executed by the Pro- Bola Ahmed Tinubu members of the Progressive Governors Forum, adding that the last of the development has not been heard.
“Look at the governors that arrived here at short notice and you will understand what is going on in the party” the source stated.
In a related development former Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Mohd Lukman has said Gov Mala Buni has betrayed the trust of party stakeholders and has to be removed.
He accused Mai Mala Buni and John James Akpanudedehe of deliberately deceiving the party while hatching an ambition at self-succession.
He said Buni had severally blocked effort to hold the National Convention of the party and has allegedly perfected plan to conduct the presidential primary of the party, among other allegations.
“Mai Mala Buni and his associates to block the APC Convention from holding based on alleged personal ambitions. Between November 2021 and January 2022, the APC Convention had to be postponed three times because of deliberate refusal to initiate most the processes required, such as booking the venue for the Convention and serving the statutory three weeks’ notice to INEC.
“In addition, there were other serious allegations against the leadership of His Excellency Mai Mala, which include the discovery that his group, since November 2022, had obtained a Court injunction against the Convention and are waiting until three or two days to the Convention before serving it on the party to succeed in blocking the March 26 APC Convention from holding.
“The plot is that His Excellency Mai Mala want to continue to run the affairs of the party and conduct the party’s primary where candidates for 2023 elections would emerge. Based on that there are specific allegations of His Excellency Mai Mala striking some deals with some Presidential aspirants to ensure their emergence as the Presidential Candidate of APC for the 2023 elections.
“Some of the allegations suggests extorting monies from these aspirants, including someone who is yet to join the party. It is being alleged that campaign offices for the aspirant are already being opened even before such a person joined the party. All these highlight problems of trust, which the leadership of His Excellency Mai Mala represented.
“A good confirmation of why it will be difficult for party leaders and members to continue to invest any trust on the His Excellency Mai Mala leadership of the Caretaker Committee is the attempt to constitute another zoning Committee after there is decision between President Buhari and Progressive Governors on zoning, based on which stakeholders of the party at zonal levels are to finalise negotiations on positions to go states” he said.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.