As murmurs grow, and a loud cry was raised by one of the party’s irrepressible voices,, former Senator Kabiru Marafa, over his continued stay as Acting head of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Mai Buni’s leadership has been explaining its stay. Buni is Governor of Yobe State.
The explanations come amid growing speculations the acting leadership was not considering holding a convention or leaving soon.
Senator Kabiru Marafa has called for a quick convention by the leadership or it finds the door. The Zamfara former senator orchestrated the court drama that led the ruling party to lose its stronghold of Zamfara State to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party at the Supreme Court last year.
Buni’s committee last June replaced the Adams Oshiomhole’s National Working Committee, which was sent packing after a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting co-ordinated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Said Marafa to the Yobe Governor: “Don’t overstretch your luck, we are not afraid of you. Many of us are aware that your appointment is unconstitutional, [section 17(iv) of our party’s constitution is very clear]. We only kept quiet because of the respect we have for Mr President, and the belief that the party needs to open a new page.
“Be informed that any action you take outside your primary mandate of organising a convention that will usher in a new set of executives will be null, void and of no effect whatsoever. You have up to December to do the needful or we chase you out.
“Your state needs you more than the party, go and administer your state, you can’t be governor and chairman of APC at the same time it’s unconstitutional. You equally can’t accuse Chief Oshiomhole of any wrongdoing, because you were part and parcel of all the decisions he took. If there is any mess in APC today, you are part and parcel of it.
“We are eager to witness the emergence of a responsible leadership, a leadership we all can trust, a leadership that will carry every member, every section, every tribe along, not the type that leads by deceit and lies.
“Your state, Yobe, is in deeper crisis than APC. The state needs you more than the party, emulate your senior brother and colleague in Borno. Your agenda will collapse in a similar way the ones before yours collapsed”.
But in a long statement by party spokesman, Yekini Nabena, the party said the Buni Committee was focused on unity and reconciliation.
Nabena’s statement reads in full: The Governor Mai Mala Buni-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) is focused on achieving and sustaining true and lasting unity, peace and reconciliation across party ranks and ahead of the planned national convention of the Party.
Recall that the CECPC was constituted and inaugurated by the 8th resumed meeting of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) in June with a core mandate to achieve peace-building, true reconciliation and to give a sense of belonging to every member of the Party.
While a section of the media has been awash with reports of a tenure extension for the CECPC, the focus remains achieving and sustaining the APC caretaker committees peace and reconciliation core mandate.
It is important that the APC conducts its planned national convention to produce the Partys national leadership as a united house. Otherwise the main aim of constituting the CECPC following the dissolution of the immediate-past National Working Committee (NWC) will be defeated.
Commendably, the Governor Buni-led CECPC has deployed a combination of true reconciliation, consultation and inclusiveness in achieving unity and cohesion in the Party. To reposition the Party to ensure good governance, Governor Buni proposed the recently-inaugurated tripartite Executive/Legislative/APC consultative Committee which is ensuring synergy, good governance and accelerated implementation of the Next Level agenda.
A peacemaker and stabilizing voice, Governor Buni is meeting all leaders, known party groups and interests in order to accommodate all interests. This has resulted in renewed commitment on the part of party members.
It is not surprising that elected National Executive Committee (Non- National Working Committee) members at a recent meeting with the Partys national leadership, passed a vote of confidence on the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC CECPC. This was sequel to an earlier passed confidence vote on the CECPC by 36 State APC Chairmen, including the Federal Capital Territory.
To further carry along dedicated party members, the CECPC is already working with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to urgently address the reward system for dedicated and loyal party members, particularly on appointment of deserving party members into several boards, agencies and parastatals of government.
It is commendable that the consultative Party leadership style instituted by Governor Buni as Chairman of the APC CECPC has brought back many prominent Party members and leaders including, former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Barnabas Gemade; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Dr. Alex Otti among others.
The planned nationwide registration, update, revalidation of the Party’s membership register will undoubtedly cement the APCs political and numerical status as Nigeria’s largest political party.
Also, the CECPC has resuscitated the Party’s internal dispute resolution mechanisms and has set up reconciliation committees for Oyo, Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ogun, Ekiti among other States chapters with reported disputes. The Committees are already meeting with the key stakeholders in the various states and have achieved substantial reconciliation in many states.
The success stories of the ongoing reconciliation efforts abound. Case points are Cross River State where the CECPC reconciled the two factions and appointed a State Caretaker Committee led by Sen. Matthew Mbu (Jnr.) as acting State Chairman. In Ondo State, all the Governorship aspirants were brought together, campaigned and worked for the successful re-election of the APC Candidate, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
In Akwa Ibom State, the CECPC brought together all the contending interests under one roof and achieved true reconciliation. Today, in Akwa Ibom, leaders such as Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Obong Nsima Ekere, Mr. Umana O. Umana, Sen. Ita Enang, Barr. Bassey Dan Abia (Snr) among others are working together and in collective pursuit of Party interests.
At the national level and on the auspices of the CECPC, the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva have resolved in Party interest to work together and strengthen the Party, particularly in the South South geo-political zone.
The Governor Buni-led APC CECPC met last Tuesday at the Party’s National Secretariat and reviewed the implementation of the CECPC’s three (3) months action plan.
Registration, update, revalidation of the Party’s nationwide membership register: The process is ongoing.
APC National Executive Committee (NEC) resolution directing all aggrieved Party members who had gone to court to withdraw cases: The CECPC further directed affected parties to fully comply with the directive in the true spirit of peace and reconciliation.
Ongoing reconciliation efforts: The CECPC has substantially reconciled various factions in some affected states, viz: Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Zamfara, Ondo, Oyo States.
Meetings with identified stakeholders/elders, state governors, state chairman, National Assembly caucus, identified youth & women group, ministers and heads of parastatals: The CECPC is constantly in touch with the listed stakeholders.
Mid-term Report: The CECPC is constantly briefing the President, Chairman Progressives Governors Forum, Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives with a mid-term report which will enable the CECPC to take all-inclusive decisions.
It is important to take cognizance of the fact that the prior internal party crisis which was unfortunately left to fester before the advent of the CECPC distracted public attention from appreciating the monumental strides that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government is making in delivering on APCs three critical electoral promises fighting corruption, security and revamping the economy from 16 years Peoples Democratic party (PDP) misrule and mismanagement.
Ahead of the planned APC National Convention and indeed the 2023 General Elections, stakeholders should continue to support the CECPC efforts to unite the party in order to make it formidable enough to consolidate on the APCs national governing status and landmark achievements. The APC must not go into a National Convention, and indeed a general election in crisis. We should take it one step at a time and ensure that the ongoing national reconciliation process being undertaken by the CECPC is sustained, successful and continues to yield results.