There is no doubt that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is at the crossroads as it seemed overwhelmed with crisis from all angles as it battles to meet up with it’s national convention deadline..
Just as the dust raised by the purported sack of the National Chairman of Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Mai Mala Buni is yet to settle another issue which is very Germaine has cropped up this time from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
The Nigeria’s electoral body, INEC, had rejected a letter of invitation sent by the interim head of the APC, Abubakar Bello, to attend its emergency meeting.
The APC letter dated March 9, was signed by the controversially appointed chairman of the party, Governor Bello of Niger State, requesting the commission’s presence at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
The INEC, in its response, rejected the invitation on the ground that the letter of invitation was not signed by the dismissed chairman, Mala Buni and the party’s National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, as required by the law.
“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,” the commission noted in the letter.
INEC’s posture seem to be to aggravating the crises in the ruling party and puts the much anticipated March 26 National Convention in doubt
Unless Mr Buni returns to take over the mantle of leadership before the fixed date, the APC may have to extend its convention date again.
In a bit to escape from the possible consequences the party may have retraced its earlier position that the National Chairman of Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Mai Mala Buni has been removed through the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The National Youth Leader of the CECPC, Mr Ismail Ahmed, said while speaking with journalists in Abuja on Friday that Bello took over control of the party in Acting capacity because the chairman was not around.
He stressed that there was nothing wrong with the leadership arrangement within the APC as it had always been the practice for Bello to act in the absence of the Chairman.
He said, “Somebody asks, what is the position of Governor Mai-Mala Buni? I think it’s very simple. I don’t know why this is a complicated process for a lot of people to understand.
“Since the inception of this CECPC on June, 25 2020 whenever the chairman is not around and Governor Sani Bello is around, he acts on behalf of the Chairman. It has always been the case, and it has never changed…
“And now we have a convention on the 26th of March, the chairman wrote a letter and transmitting, for his leave to go for medical treatment.
These are two emergencies: He has a medical emergency that cannot wait for the convention. We have a convention that cannot wait for him to be healthy. So one has to leave for other. The Chairman left, transmitted a letter, and
Governor Sani Bello has been acting appropriately. What is the problem? Why is it difficult for people to simply understand that?
“I just simply don’t understand why people are making this an issue. So Governor Bello is acting with the full authority of the caretaker committee and with the full authority of the stakeholders, and leaders of the party, and with the full consent and knowledge of Governor Mai-Mala Buni. It’s very clear and very simple.
“ If anybody has any issues with any of our decisions, you can take it to court. For now we’re doing it with the full authority and backing of the law. So there is no ambiguity in this. Absolutely none.
The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, had taken over the office of the National Chairman on Monday.
As a fall out of the sudden change of leadership, the Secretary of the CECPC, Sen John Akpanudoedehe, packed his things out of the office of National Secretary on Tuesday thereby giving room for the speculation that he had resigned in the social media.
Akpanudoedehe debunked media reports about his resignation on Wednesday.
However, amidst the doubts and speculations which engulfed the leadership of the APC’s CECPC, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai said President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the immediate removal of Buni.
El Rufai also said that the National Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, was also affected by the Presidential directive.
The Kaduna Governor alleged that the former National Chairman and his people got a court order which they hid to stop the APC National Convention.
El Rufai had said while speaking on Channels Television Politics Today on Wednesday that neither the ousted National Chairman nor the Secretary would return as National officials of the party.
SDP hopeful as Kogi petition tribunal moves away from violence prone Lokoja
***insists on reclaiming mandate to develop Kogi
The national leadership of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP) has reacted to the reports that the Kogi Election Petition Tribunal has now shifted its venue to Abuja as it will no longer sit in Lokoja.
The National secretary of the party, Dr Olu Agunloye, in a statement on Thursday said the Nigeria Police had publicly disclosed that the Secretary of the Election Petition Tribunal, Mr. David Mike Umar was reported to have been robbed of the vital documents and petitions on Monday, 4 December 2023 by gunmen in broad daylight in Lokoja.
He explained saying, gunmen and hoodlums, in a false flag operation, as grimly stated by the Tribunal Secretary, attacked the Tribunal and carted away “all the documents including Petitions filed by four Parties.
The four Political Parties namely Action Alliance (AA), Action People’s Party (APP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP)”, against the declaration of APC’s Alhaji Usman Ododo as Governor-Elect is purely a criminal activity which the law enforcement agents must tackle.
“That the locations of INEC and its officials in Kogi have been attacked by thugs and arsonists is another criminal act that should be investigated and tackled. “Also, that videos of persons thumbprinting ballot papers in Kogi State days after the election are flying around is yet another criminal act staring at the face of law enforcement agencies.
“Although these criminal acts are not out of character or unexpected, they go a long way to support the strong views that the mandate of Alh Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, which was indeed stolen, is set to be retrieved and claimed by Muri and the good people of Kogi State.
He reiterated the position that none of the criminal acts will stop the Tribunal which is now set to sit at the Federal Capital in Abuja. “Even when the Tribunal had lost all its documents and Petitions to gunmen, who appeared sympathetic with declared Governor-elect Usman Ododo, the tribunal will still sit.
“All that will be required is that the respective parties would be called upon to deliver copies of their Petitions to the Tribunal along with the payment receipts.
“The SDP is ready with theirs.”
According to him, “Now that the Tribunal has been relocated to Abuja, hope is again restored that all will be well.
“Nigerians expect that justice will be served without any or much criminal interferences, and Alhaji Muritala Ajaka will claim his mandate back.
“The goodness of this, is that for vast majority of Kogi people, mostly disenfranchised or deprived over the years, a new era of creating and spreading wealth instead of violence will soon commence under Alhaji Muritala Ajaka.
“Muri and the people of Kogi will then take over and start to chart new paths for the Kogi development agenda for youths’ employment and empowerment, women emancipation, and technological and industrial transformation with no time or space for witch-hunting, retaliations, or false flag operations.
“Indeed, a new era of development is beckoning in Kogi State.”
Akpabio brags about South South capacity to deliver for Tinubu in 2027
***Says, Akwa Ibom votes for APC in 2023 surpassed all that of 5 south East States
The President of the Senate Godswill Akpabio has boasted that the entire South South States will resoundingly deliver victory for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2027 to return President Bola Tinubu for second term.
Speaking in Abuja on Friday when the zonal Leadership of the South South APC ked by the National Vice Chairman Victor Giadom Paul him a courtesy call
He said the party in Akwa Ibom made it possible for Tinubu to secure the 25% requirement to win.
He said Akwa Ibom alone devered more than 800000 votes for APC which he said was more than the votes the five South East States gave to the APC
“You will be surprised that the votes from Akwa Ibom alone for the APC in the Presidential election was more.l than the total votes from the five states of the South East
“What it really mean is that recall when David Leon contested in Bayelsa State, he won resoundingly but he was not sworn in, that happened a day before swearing in and even this last one that Timipre Sylva contested we also did very well and we are now in court so I cannot comment of that. “That shows you the strength of the APC in the region and even when the PDP is the ruling party in Rivers State where the Chairman Victor Giadom comes from, we were able to win the presidential election Rivers State, I am talking based on data which can not lie.
“I want to say that with that giant step now that we have a senate President, I don’t see any reason why the entirety of the South South Region will not become APC. “The only way we can pay back the National leaders of our party, the only way we can show the President for standing by us in the South South to produce a sente President After 45 years is for us to make sure that in 2027 we will give him and the entire APC resounding victory in the 6 States of the South South region.
“We are steadily moving on, Cross Rivers State is 100% APC. Here and there some people will emerge either in the Senate or the House of reps and the House of Assembly but in the governorship and government of the State is totally APC.
“Akwa Ibom has the Senate President, so for you to have members of the House of Representatives it shows that things are about to happen.
“For you to have won the presidential election in Rivers State where the Zonal chairman comes from, means things are beginning to happen.
He said in 2019 APC won in Bayelsa State except for technical issues in the court.
“That shows clearly that APC has come to stay in the entire South South,
“Edo State the APC governor took government house into another party and so election is coming next year, we expect the chairman to double his effort with all of us to be included in the campaign and ensure we get back what belongs to us. “Your visit is timely and I believe strongly that working together with you, APC can only be stronger in the South South Region
“On our part, we are working across party lines to support President Tinubu, all the senators of the South South are determine to give Tinubu the support so that he can succeed irrespective of party affiliation and that is a good sign
Nasarawa govt berates PDP over protest against Appeal Court judgment
From Daniel Abel, Lafia
The Nasarawa State Government has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state against blackmailing the judiciary over Nasarawa governorship tussle.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr, Peter Ahemba, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Gov. Abdullahi Sule on Public Affairs and made available to newsmen on Monday in Lafia.
The reaction followed the recent protest in Lafia against the Appeal Court governorship election judgment by a group purported to be coalition of indigenous people of Nasarawa State.
The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday, November 23 had set aside the judgment of the tribunal of Oct. 2nd and declared Sule as the winner of the election.
The governorship elections petition tribunal on Oct. 2, annulled the election of Gov. Abdullahi Sule of All Progressives Congress (APC) and declared David Ombugadu of PDP as the winner of March 18 election.
The governor’s aide described the protest as the shameful step against the judgment of the Appeal Court by a group hired by the PDP.
Ahemba added that the decision of the Appeal Court was a true reflection of the popular mandate freely given to the governor by the electorates on March 18.
He explained that the government has confidence in the judiciary and believed that justice would be served at the Supreme Court.
He further explained that when the PDP was declared at the tribunal nobody protested, rather, the governor challenged the decision at the appeal court.
He advised PDP and its candidate to also challenge the outcome of the appeal court as they cannot takeover power through the backdoor.
“The same party that was crying of external interference on the governorship dispute in the state is now calling on President Bola Tinubu and international communities to interfere,” he added.
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