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Intrigues, confusion continue to dog APC as it wobbles amidst absence of leadership

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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.

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Discordant tunes as Obi/LP clash over purported endorsement of Abure

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***Obi says he did not endorse any leadership, as LP counters him

The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party(LP) in the 2023 General election Peter Obi may be embarking on a collision course with the party over his motif for the visit to the secretariat of the party on Tuesday along with his supporters.

Apparently piqued by how his visit was portrayed to be an endorsement of the Julius Abure-led leadership, Obi on Wednesday morning clarified that his visit to the Party’s secretariat on Tuesday was not to endorse the leadership but to engender reconciliation.
A statement by Peter Obi Media Relations (POMR) spokesperson Dr Yunusa Tanko indicated that the visit was more of reconciliation not an endorsement of any leadership as it was being portrayed.
In a swift reaction, the LP national publicity Secretary Obiorah Ifoh in a counter statement described Obi’s new statement as a twist of the well intentioned visit of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate to the leadership of the party.
He said Obi and Abure are on the same page over reconciliation in LP as he warned against any attempt to twist well intentioned visit.
Obi’s spokesperson statement reads,
“Obi’s visit to Labour Party yesterday was not to endorse anybody, but occassioned by his reconcilliatory move. Julius Abure in his speech stated clearly how Obi came to the office, and Obi in his speech clarified same, while preaching peace, and his mantra ‘pursuit of better Nigeria for the poor’

“Leadership of NLC/TUC Political Arm Commorades Titus Amba and Chris Uyot who were informed of Obi travelling out today, hence will honour thier invitation, also met with him, and extensively discussed same peace move with them.

“Obi had repeatedly maintained that his interest was to carry everybody along into one strong family, and not to support one against the other.

“In all his meetings with with all stakeholders, he has always maintained peace, and urge not to lose purpose which is to free Nigeria suffering and pain.

“The LP standards bearer plans to continue meeting with critical stakeholders, and groups to achieve all-inclusive political family with a common dream of rescuing Nigeria.

Ifoh statement reads,

“The attention of the leadership of the Labour Party has been called to a statement issued by the spokesperson to our National Leader, Peter Obi titled, ‘Obi visits to LP, Reconciliatory, not endorsement…’ Dr. Tanko Yinusa wherein he tried to twist the well intentioned visit of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate on the leadership of the party.

“As a party we are pleased that our leader has chosen to reconcile all aggrieved members and stakeholders of the party. “This noble step taken by Mr. Obi is in line with the call made by the Labour Party’s National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure during his maiden press conference last week titled ‘Triumphant Resumption of Abure led NWC’ wherein he pleaded with all the warring parties including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to sheath their swords and join in the rebuilding process in the party.

“Peter Obi’s visit and speech on Tuesday during the FCT solidarity rally has been variedly described in some quarters as an endorsement on the Abure leadership being his very first visit after the successful National Convention of the party held in March. But to us as a party we cherish this visit on whatever nomenclature as a positive wind blowing on the party.
“We believe that very soon, the reconciliatory efforts will be consummated and metamorphose into a political force that will usher in a government that will liberate Nigerians from the shackles of maladministration we are presently facing in the country.

“Finally, we urge the NLC and its Political Commission to understand that we are not the foe, and to see us as an ally in the battle to rescue Nigeria.
“They should emulate the Trade Union Congress, (TUC) which has shown greater understanding and willingness to partner with the Labour Party in our efforts to make a new Nigeria possible.”

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Okonkwo accuses Abure-led LP of being equally yoked by corruption as APC

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***Says he is suspending his association with the party

Nollywood actor turned politician, Kenneth Okonkwo, has alleged that the national convention organized by Julius Abure which returned him as Labour Party (LP) national chairman is nothing but criminality and corruption.

He stated this when he announced he was suspending his relationship with the Julius Abure-led National Working Committee of the LP.

According him, a new Nigeria is the priority, adding that he prefers to lose doing the right thing than win doing the wrong thing.

Okonkwo, who was the spokesperson for the Labour Party Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council in the 2023 election, in a post via his verified X account on Tuesday, said the current Abure-led National Working Committee of the Labour Party is another incompetent and corrupt association, just like the All Progressives Congress (APC) he left before.

The post reads: “I am suspending my relationship in all ramifications with the purported Abure-led National Working Committee of Labour Party.

For me, it’s either a new Nigeria or nothing. I prefer to lose doing the right thing than winning doing the wrong thing.

Nothing can wash out the criminality, corruption, and incompetence with which the purported National Convention was purportedly organised by Abure.

I did not leave the comfort of a ruling party APC because I believe that they are incompetent and dishonest only to come and join another incompetent and corrupt association, which is the current Abure led National Working Committee of Labour Party.”

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Obi, Otti, LP Lawmakers to storm Akure for Ondo guber election campaigns

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***Party Receives Boost From Aggrieved Aspirants from APC and PDP

The Chairman of Labour Party (LP) Governorship Primaries in Ondo State, Mr Olusola Ayodele has declared the resolve of Party to take back Ondo State in the forthcoming coming Governorship elections of the state billed for November 2024 by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC)
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, quoted Olusola Ayodele to have made the declaration when he Addressed the Southwest Leadership of the Party on Friday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

Ayodele who conducted the Ondo State Governorship Primaries of the LP in Akure a fortnight earlier stated that all preparations by the Leadership of the party to win the Ondo Governorship elections have been concluded with the formation of a proposed Southwest Task Force on the Ondo Governorship elections .

According to him, the Task Force being put together comprises key leaders of the party in the Southwest, who have been charged to mobilise a high-powered National Campaign Team of the Party for the Governorship elections to reenact the LP – Mimiko victory and 8 years good governance of Ondo State

He said, “To lead the Ondo National campaign committee is Mr Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party and Mr Alex Oti, Governor of Abia State. They are to be supported by all LP Senators, Reps Members, State Lawmakers and other key leaders of the Party in the country with formidable solidarity from key members of the Obidient Movement in diaspora.”

While clarifying the rumour about the possibility of the party conducting a substitution primaries for the Governorship candidacy of the party, Ayodele said “this would only happen, if the current governorship candidate of the party decides to withdraw from the race during the substitution window created by INEC and if the National Working Committee, NWC of the Party also finds governorship aspirants who have the required competence and capacity as possible replacement to fly the governorship ticket of a mega party like the Labour Party, especially, a party which has ruled Ondo State for 8 years before”

Ayodele said although some aggrieved frontline governorship aspirants, especially from the APC and PDP are already discussing the possibility of crossing to Labour Party with the Committee, it is only the National Working Committee of the Party that can sanction such discussion before the close of the substitution window of INEC. He however applauded the youths, students and the masses of the people in Ondo State for remaining steadfast with the Party.

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