By Lazarus Zakaa
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday says Mai-Mala Buni, Governor of Yobe is still the Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party.
Ismaeel Ahmed, Spokesperson and Youth Leader of the CECPC made the disclosure at a press conference in Abuja on Friday also said the March 26 date for the party’s National Convention remain sacrosanct while earlier scheduled Zonal Congresses will hold on the same date.
Buni is said to have been removed as CECPC Chairman by President Muhamadu Buhari’s instructions and replaced with Abubakar Bello, Governor of Niger State and a member of the Committee who has been running affairs of the party.
But Ahmed said the Yobe Governor had before embarking on foreign medical trip transmitted a letter to his Niger counterpart to act his absence as it has always been the practice since constitution of the CECPC in June 2020.
He said: “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 Bello is around, he acts on behalf of the Chairman. It has always been the case and that has never changed.
“Now we have a convention on the 26th of March, the Chairman wrote a letter transmitting, for his leave to go for medical treatment. These are two emergencies. He has a medical emergency that cannot wait for convention. We have a convention that cannot wait for him to be healthy.
“So one has to leave for the other. The Chairman left, transmitted a letter, Governor Sani Bello has been acting appropriately. What is the problem? Why is it? 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.”
Ahmed dismissed insinuations that the party’s convention and National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting will not hold following a purported letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) demanding 21 days notice.
“Convention would hold on the 26th of March. We have served a notice to INEC for the 26th of February earlier. We serve that notice on the 5th of February and that was the required 21 days. If you are going to make any adjustment to that date all you need is a letter, making an adjustment to the date. You don’t need another 21 days and that letter was since written about two weeks ago, when we realised that we couldn’t hold convention on the 26th of February.
“The moment, the CECPC agreed on the 26th of March, that letter was written to INEC, INEC has accepted that letter. So that is long gone, is not an issue. The issue of the date of convention is not in question, not in INEC, not certainly with us. That is settled it is sacrosanct that 26th of March and we have comply with all the rules and we have notified INEC as appropriately expected for us to do that. So that’s no longer an issue.
“You are somebody asks, what is the status of the NEC meeting that we signed. I think Professor Tahir Maman who is overseeing the the Legal Department would be addressing you once all these issues are clarified but notice has been sent out for NEC meeting,” he stated.
Responding to why he was silent on the role assigned John Akpanudoedehe, CECPC Secretary in new schedules for the Committee’s members, Ahmed said:”We didn’t say anything for other people as well. We just talked about the members of the committee we didn’t talk about either Secretary or Chairman, they have their responsibilities cut out for them anyways.
“The other members are the ones that are all told to come back and handle specific departments. And that’s what we are doing, you know, and at the full course of time, once all these things are over will be able to be able to brief you may be next week on the full status and everything but for now, these are the responsibilities of every member.”
He said APC disagreed with the Federal High Court in its judgement on the status of the Governor of Ebonyi state over his sound decision to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and join the APC along with the majority of members of the State House Assembly.
The APC Spokesperson said the CECPC regarded the judgement as a travesty of justice and stand with the Governor and Ebonyi state legislators on appealing to a higher court.