President Buhari has ordered Buni’s removal in a dramatic move, despite Malami, the SGF warning.
According to reports, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the removal of Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni as Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the appointment of his Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Sani Bello, in his place, in what appears to be a major step toward containing the crisis plaguing the party’s leadership.
A group of APC governors is said to have complained bitterly to President Buhari that Buni was not inclined to hold the rescheduled convention because no preparations had been made on the ground.
The president was said to have been enraged by what he was told and ordered Buni’s removal and replacement right away.
Buni was unable to defend himself because he is currently in Dubai for medical reasons. When they learned of the development, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; and another top Villa player are said to have intervened on Buni’s behalf and advised the president to exercise caution.
They allegedly reminded Buhari that only the Party’s NEC could convene and remove Buni and that he must have been given seven days’ notice of his removal. They argued, however, that anything done outside of the established procedures could be challenged in court, potentially delaying the rescheduled March 26 Convention date.
However, it was unclear whether the intervention had swayed the President’s decision. However, some insiders who spoke to THISDAY this morning about the development expressed displeasure that some governors went to ambush the president just before he left the country without their knowledge, creating a completely false narrative that Buni did not want the convention to take place.
“They are causing an unnecessary crisis in the party for their gain.” How can they claim that no preparations are being made for the convention when various convention sub-committees have been announced, and the zonal committee is set to announce the zoning formula on Monday? (today).
“In a few days, committees will be formed. These people aren’t being truthful. To further their interests, some governors have plotted to take over the functions of CECPC.
They claimed that the only way out of this is if Buni voluntarily resigns, as he threatened to do two weeks ago during the APC governors meeting in Abuja.
Despite this, the president promised party members yesterday, before leaving the country for a two-week medical trip, that he would do everything possible to ensure the convention takes place on March 26 as planned.
When he said that, constitutionally, his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, was always in charge whenever he was away, he cleared the air of misgivings about the structure of his government.
This comes as the APC zoning committee, led by Kwara State Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq, prepares to announce the zoning formula for the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) today, just days before the national convention.
Senator Tanko Al-Makura, a former governor of Nasarawa State and a frontrunner for the All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairmanship, has denied working against President Muhammadu Buhari’s consensus candidate, calling a report to that effect “mischievous and unkind.”
Before leaving Abuja for London, President Muhammadu Buhari told journalists that “everything would be done to ensure that the party holds the national convention as scheduled,” referring to how a relatively new APC defeated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the polls in 2015.
“Well, they (APC members) should wait and see,” Buhari said as if to allay existential fears. How did we, as a party, come to take power from the ruling party, which had been in power for so long before us? So, we have the capability; everything will be fine,” said the president.
In response to a question about whether his two-week trip to the United Kingdom would leave a vacuum in government, he said he was not the only one working and that his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, was constitutionally empowered to take over whenever he was away.
“Well, I can’t say I’m doing everything by myself,” he admitted. The government is fully represented; the Vice President is present, and he is in charge constitutionally while I’m away. Then there’s the Secretary of State, and then the Chief of Staff. As a result, we have no issues.”
Buhari had left Abuja for London, United Kingdom, for routine medical examinations that could last two weeks.
Nigeria Air Force 1, the President’s official plane, took off from the Presidential wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Sunday morning.
Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Buhari’s Chief of Staff; Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); Yusuf Magaji Bichi, Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS); and Sanusi Lemu, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), were among those who greeted him at the airport.
The president, who returned from a three-day international summit of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, was expected to be gone for a maximum of two weeks.
His Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, hinted last week that the President’s routine medical check-up in London would not last more than two weeks.
However, a source who confirmed the alleged Buni’s removal told THISDAY last night that the president did not previously hint at the news when leaving the country because, as a process person, he wanted the decision to be tidied up without causing any more grievances, hence the meeting to be held today at the party’s National Secretariat.
Reiterating that Buni had already left and that the decision had already been made, the source claimed that the relieved caretaker chairman was aware of the situation, which was why he was forced to leave on medical grounds, and that the party desperately needed to move on.
Bello has called a meeting of the Caretaker Committee for today to accomplish this.
The meeting, according to THISDAY, will begin at 10 a.m. at the party’s national secretariat and will be chaired by him (Bello), with members of the caretaker committee expected to attend.
Some APC governors, including Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, and Bello, were said to have met at the Niger governor’s lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, yesterday.
The meeting was said to be a continuation of the governors’ meeting held on Saturday in Abuja.
According to a source who requested anonymity, it appeared that the committee’s Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, had learned of the plan and was already planning to shut down the secretariat tomorrow, despite the president’s orders.
“The CECPC members will meet at the party secretariat on Monday at 10 a.m., according to the resolution.” Because Buni is out of town, the meeting will be chaired by the governor of Niger State. “However, the secretary intends to close the secretariat tomorrow,” the source said.
Despite the fact that Bello called a meeting of Caretaker Committee members, the party source told THISDAY that he expects confusion.
“There will be a lot of commotion tomorrow.” They might not be able to get into the meeting’s location. Because there is a problem on the ground, they may be locked out.
“The governor of Niger called a meeting, but he’s been double-crossed because he won’t be able to attend because he won’t have access to the meeting’s location.” As a result, the meeting is unlikely to take place,” he said.
However, Yekini Nabena, the APC’s former Deputy National Publicity Secretary, has warned Bello to stay away from a venture that he clearly lacks the authority to undertake.
Bello, according to Nabena, does not have the authority to call a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting without the permission of Mai Mala Buni, the Caretaker Committee Chairman and Governor of Yobe State.
Bello was just an ordinary member of the Caretaker Committee, according to Nabena, who said in a statement last night that he was not the Chairman or Secretary.
“I am using this medium to call on our leaders across the states to issue a warning to Governor Sani Bello of Niger State,” he said. The presidency should also summon him to order to cancel the plan to convene a NEC meeting without Governor Mai Mala Buni and the CECPC Secretary’s knowledge.
“Political vultures like Governor Bello are working against our party and causing anarchy in the ruling APC,” he said, adding that Bello’s plot to destabilise the ruling party has been ongoing for some time due to his vice presidential ambition in 2023, hence his plan to convene a NEC meeting.
“Neither the Chairman nor the Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee is Governor Sani Bello. So, how did he obtain the authority to convene such a meeting? Because of his personal political ambitions of becoming Vice President or whatever in 2023, Governor Bello should not destroy the ruling APC,” he added.
Today, a committee led by Abdulrazaq will announce the zoning formula.
All was set for the APC zoning committee, headed by Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to announce the outcome of its meeting today, according to a member of the committee who asked to remain anonymous.
Even as he denied knowledge of zoning the presidency to the South-west, as reported in a national newspaper, the source told THISDAY that the committee finished its work over the weekend.
According to the source, the committee decided to zone the National Chairman to the north-central zone, the Deputy National Chairman (north) to the north-east zone, the Secretary to the south-west zone, and the Deputy National Chairman (south) to the south-east zone.
“Our report is finished and will be released tomorrow” (Monday). Our project was for party offices, and the outcome would be announced the next day. The various committees would be inaugurated on Monday, and the zoning committee’s announcement would kick off the process,” the source added.
“There is nothing like that,” the source said in response to a question about a report that the committee had zoned the presidency to the South-West ahead of the 2023 elections. We’re dealing with party headquarters here.”
The CECPC Chairman and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, had approved the composition of the zoning committee, according to a statement by APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) John James Akpanudoedehe.
Other members of the committee included Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, who served as deputy chairman; Etim Nyong, M. B. Shehu, Mustapha Salihu, Teslim Folarin, Sadeeq Sule-Iko Sami, and committee secretary, Nkem Okeke of Anambra State.
Last week, Buhari met with governors of the ruling APC at State House in Abuja, where he expressed his preference for Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the former governor of Nasarawa State, as a consensus candidate for the position of APC national chairman.
Al-Makura Defends His Chairmanship Against Opposing President
Senator Tanko Al-Makura insisted yesterday in a statement issued by the Director-General of the Al-Makura Campaign Organisation (ACO), Mr. Dominic Alancha, that he could not have been opposed to Buhari’s purported consensus chairmanship choice because neither the president nor the party leadership had made any public statement on the matter.
As a result, the APC leader bemoaned the sensational headlines and reports in some national newspapers claiming he was hell-bent on opposing Buhari.
“Senator Al-Makura was in Ondo to consult with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as a bona fide aspirant for the position of APC National Chairman, in continuation of consultations with APC governors, party leaders, and stakeholders, which he began many months ago.”
“Anyone who claims that he was working against President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of a consensus candidate for the position of National Chairman of our great party is mischievous and unkind,” he said.
The media report, according to Al-Makura, was a deliberate, albeit unsuccessful attempt to paint him in a negative light.
“This is especially true when neither the president, whom Senator Al-Makura holds in high regard, nor the party leadership have made any statement to the effect of any endorsed consensus candidate,” he says.
“These doomsayers have continued to spread false information about the upcoming APC national convention. As a result, they’re on the lookout for media outlets where they can fan the flames of hatred and confusion within the party.”
To the dismay of the APC’s opponents, troublemakers, and naysayers, Al-Makura expressed confidence in the president and the party’s leadership to steer the party through a turbulence-free convention.