The attempt to change the leadership of the All Progressives Congress by aggrieved Governors was finally put to rest on Tuesday with the resumption of the National Secretary of the Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.
Akpanudoedehe was given a rousing welcome by staff of the secretariat and officials of the party who were elated to receive him back in the office after what appears to be a very short holiday.
Clad in a white attire and matching white face mask, Akpanudoedehe entered the office in style, and addressed an eager press on “recent events and the state of leadership in the party”.
He said contrary to widespread speculations that the Chairman, Secretary or some other officials of the CECPC had been removed from office or otherwise replaced, all actions taken in his absence were clearly identified at all times as happening in an acting or proxy capacity, and under the auspices of the substantive Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.
Maintaining that Buni’s CECPC was intact, Akpanudoedehe disclosed that the Chairman was on his way back to Nigeria after his medical trip and would resume office on arrival with the full support of all members and other stakeholders
Recall that Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, took over affairs at the APC national headquarters, announcing himself as the replacement of Buni who had headed the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), since 2020.
This unsettling development had caused rivalry amongst APC Governors and top stakeholders as some of them accused the Yobe Governor of plotting against the organisation of the convention and declared support for Bello.
But while some quarters had rejoiced about the supposed ousting of Buni, the National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected a letter inviting it to an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the governing party where Bello’s chairmanship was to be approved.
Addressing the press, the National Secretary said, “The Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, makes this press release to clarify the events of last week and reassure the membership and stakeholders of the party, as well as the Nigerian people in general, that the governing party is crisis-free, strong and remains united in giving the country the transformative leadership and good governance which she promised them.
“The CECPC therefore informs the Press and the General Public as follows:
“That the CECPC was appointed, and has always done her best, to steer the affairs of the APC in line with the mandate invested in her at inauguration by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress.
“That on the 28th day of February, 2022 the CECPC Chairman took a long-delayed trip abroad on health grounds, leaving behind written authorisation for other members of the CECPC to continue work in his absence, particularly the day to day management of the APC.
“That in his absence, sundry activities earlier scheduled for action appeared to develop fresh urgency in order to satisfy the Timetable for the 2023 General Elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), thus galvanizing some within the CECPC to act in their best understanding of both the situation and the leadership dynamics in the Committee/Party.
“That all such actions were clearly identified at all times as happening in an acting or proxy capacity, and under the auspices of the substantive Chairman, His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni, contrary to widespread speculations that the Chairman, Secretary or some other officials of the CECPC have been removed from Office or otherwise replaced.
“That the CECPC is intact and functional as originally constituted.
“That delivering a seamlessly successful National Convention for the APC on March 26, 2022 is top on priority for the CECPC and we shall continue to execute such assignments as are legal pending the return of the Chairman who is on his way back to the country and shall resume office on arrival with the full support of all members and other stakeholders.
“We are grateful to INEC for her firm guidance in the entire circumstances.
“Meanwhile, the party has engaged a team of senior lawyers to address a purported court order halting the planned APC National Convention. We hereby call on the judiciary to give the matter the needed and expedient attention in our bid to vacate the purported court order and allow for the conduct of a transparent and rancour-free National Convention deserving of our great party, APC.
“The Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) hereby restates absolute loyalty to the APC, thanks the national organs and leadership of our party led by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and reassures our members and citizens that the party is stronger than ever before and poised to extend her winning streak since 2015 into 2023 and beyond.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the 4th Estate of the Realm, we thank you.”