APC Chair: Confusion As INEC Rejects Bello
By Sam Egburonu, Editor
There is confusion today within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as moves to remove the Chairman of the party’s Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, of Yobe State, seems to have hit a brickwall.
This is because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has, in a letter, expressed contrary view over the right procedure to be adopted in the removal of the leadership of the party’s transition committee.
The current intrigues all began when the Commission rejected a letter inviting it to an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling party.
INEC’s response, dated 9th March 2022, signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Rose Oriaran Anthony, was titled, “Re: Invitation to the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee”, and addressed to the National Chairman, APC CECPC.
The Commission reminded APC’s CECPC of the fact that the letter of invitation was not signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the CECPC, Buni and Senator John Akpanudoedehe, respectively.
INEC contended that this was “contrary to the provision of the Article 1.1.3 of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).”
The electoral umpire also reminded APC of the provision in Section 82 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022, “which requires ‘at least 21 days’ notice of any Convention, Congress, Conference, or Meeting convened for the purpose of merger and electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any elective office.”
INEC therefore advised APC “to note the key issues raised for compliance.”
An insider observer, quoting an alleged “leaked letter on Thursday,” has been reported as describing the letter by INEC as “a big clog in the wheels of a plot by a bloc in the party to stage a coup against Buni, who duly transferred power to Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, to enable him attend to health issues.”
Recall that soon after the announcement of Gov. Bello as the new Chairman of APC and at the heat of the controversy over the genuineness of the change of gear within the ruling party, NewsOrient reported that Governorl El-Rufai of Kaduna State said on a TV programme that Buni can never return as APC transition chairman.
While some party leaders shared El’Rufai’s views, others strongly objected to it, further deepening the division within APC.
So, the issues raised by INEC in it’s latest letter to APC have not only deepened the crisis within APC further, but have also created serious confusion arising from the current complications.
The referred INEC’s letter reads: “Please refer to your letter Ref.APC/NHDQ/INEC/019/022/32, dated 8th March 2022.
“The Commission draws your attention to the fact that the notice for the meeting was not signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the CECPC, contrary to the provision of the Article 1.1.3 of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).
“Furthermore, the APC is reminded of the provision in Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which requires ‘at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, Congress, conference, or meeting convened for the purpose of ‘merger’ and electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any elective office.
“While hoping these issues are noted for compliance, please accept the assurance of the Commission’s warm regards.”