Mustapha, Al-Makura, Musa first to pick N20m chairmanship form as Buni’s CECPC bounces back, APC kick starts convention activities


After about two weeks of confusion and uncertainty around the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Yobe state Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee(CECPC) triumphantly returned to the Muhammadu Buhari House national party headquarters amidst jubilation by secretariat staffers and some party officials.

Although Buni had yet to resume after his medical trip abroad, Blueprint correspondent, who was at the national secretariat, saw most of his aides at the party secretariat carrying out one task or the other.

With the return, the purported change in leadership  by a group of 19 governors, as claimed by Kaduna state Governor Nasir el-Rufai,  has been finally laid to rest, thus signalling the return of the Buni-led caretaker committee.

Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello, had while taking over the committee leadership, said he was doing so in acting capacity.

And when asked what Buni’s position was in the scheme of things, the governor said he wouldn’t know.

Further to that, Sani-Bello said he had the blessing of President Muhammadu Buhari to oversee the party’s affairs and conduct its national convention scheduled for March 26.

But the  Independent   National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected a letter inviting it to an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee(NEC) of the governing party where Bello’s chairmanship  was to be ratified, a development that threw the party into further disarray.

Also,   the meeting with President Buhari by some ministers and other party stakeholders, led by Attorney General of the Federation  and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), was all that was needed to end Sani-Bello’s short tenure as acting chair.

At the end of the meeting, Buhari directed the restoration of the Buni leadership of the committee.   

 The rousing return

Announcing the committee’s return Tuesday at the party secretariat in Abuja, CECPC National Secretary Senator John Akpanudoedehe said Buni’s comeback as the party chair was an indication that the APC was crisis-free.  

Akpanudoedehe, who was given a rousing welcome by the staffers and officials of the party, had earlier been shoved aside by the party leadership under the Niger state governor.

Decked in an immaculate  white attire  with a white face mask to match, Akpanudoedehe confidently walked into his office to face the curious journalists to speak up on what he called the “recent events and the state of leadership in the party.”

The party scribe said, contrary to the belief in some quarters that the  chairman, himself and some officials of the CECPC  were sacked from office, all actions taken in Buni’s absence were done  in an acting or proxy capacity, and under the auspices of Buni, the substantive chairman.

Akpanudoedehe, who told journalists that the Yobe governor was on his way back to Nigeria after his medical trip abroad, said the party chair would resume office upon arriving,  with the full support of all members and other stakeholders.

 “The Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, makes this Press Release to clarify the events of last week and reassure the membership and stakeholders of the Party, as well as the Nigerian people in general, that the Governing Party is crisis-free, strong and remains united in giving the country the transformative leadership and good governance which she promised them. 

“The CECPC therefore informs the Press and the General Public as follows: That the CECPC was appointed, and has always done her best, to steer the affairs of the APC in line with the mandate invested in her at inauguration by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress. 

“That on the 28th day of February, 2022 the CECPC Chairman took a long-delayed trip abroad on health grounds, leaving behind written authorisation for other members of the CECPC to continue work in his absence, particularly the day to day management of the APC. 

“That in his absence, sundry activities earlier scheduled for action appeared to develop fresh urgency in order to satisfy the Timetable for the 2023 General Elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), thus galvanizing some within the CECPC to act in their best understanding of both the situation and the leadership dynamics in the Committee/Party. 

“That all such actions were clearly identified at all times as happening in an acting or proxy capacity, and under the auspices of the substantive Chairman, His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni, contrary to widespread speculations that the Chairman, Secretary or some other officials of the CECPC have been removed from Office or otherwise replaced. 

“That the CECPC is intact and functional as originally constituted. That delivering a seamlessly successful National Convention for the APC on March 26, 2022 is top on priority for the CECPC and we shall continue to execute such assignments as are legal pending the return of the Chairman who is on his way back to the country and shall resume Office on arrival with the full support of all members and other stakeholders. 

“We are grateful to INEC for her firm guidance in the entire circumstances. 

“Meanwhile, the party has engaged a team of senior lawyers to address a purported court order halting the planned APC National Convention. We hereby call on the Judiciary to give the matter the needed and expedient attention in our bid to vacate the purported Court order and allow for the conduct of a transparent and rancour-free National Convention deserving of our great party, APC. 

“The Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) hereby restates absolute loyalty to the APC thanks the National Organs and leadership of our Party led by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and reassures our members and citizens that the Party is stronger than ever before and poised to extend her winning streak since 2015 into 2023 and beyond. 

“Ladies and gentlemen of the 4th Estate of the Realm, we thank you,” he said.

Nomination forms

And further to Buni’s return as party chair, the ruling party Tuesday announced the sale of nomination forms for all categories of aspirants ahead of its national convention.  

The APC fixed N20 million for the national chairmanship nomination form while aspirants for the office of Deputy National Chairmanship would pay N10 million and other positions in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party attract N5 million each.

In a template issued by APC Director of Organisation Prof Usssiju Medaner and obtained by Blueprint, “the CECPC reached the decision at its 25th regular meeting of 14th March, 2022.”

The meeting also reviewed and adopted  the timetable/scheduled of activities for the national convention.

Mustapha, Al-Makura, Musa pick form

And as a mark of his readiness for the convention, a frontline national chairmanship aspirant, Mallam Saliu Mustapha, Tuesday, picked up his nomination forms.

Director General Saliu Mustapha Campaign Organisation (SAMCO) Balla Usman collected the Expression of Interest and nomination forms on behalf of the former national deputy chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, Tuesday.

 A statement by Mustapha’s media aide, Dapo Okubanjo said APC’s Deputy Director of Organisation Sabiu Bello handed over the two forms after receiving the mandatory N20 million from the aspirant’s representatives. 

Receiving the forms at his campaign office, Mustapha said: “This is a clear confirmation that I’m in the race and a testament to the seriousness I’ve shown since I threw my hat into the ring.

“Now that I’ve collected the forms on the same day they were made available, I would intensify consultations with key party stakeholders with a view to letting them know why I’m the best man for the job.

“I however want to express my appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for paving way for what we have just done today.”

The statement said Mustapha was the first aspirant for the national chairman to collect the nomination forms.

Similarly, it was gathered that the duo of Senator Mohammed Sani Musa and former Nasarawa state governor, Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura, also picked the forms Tuesday.

Ganduje hopeful

Meanwhile, Kano state Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has confirmed that the forthcoming national convention of the APC slated  for March 26 stands.

Governor Ganduje spoke to journalists after a technical training session with ushers  and protocols selected to work during the convention.

Ganduje, who heads the protocol committee, said he had no fear about the March 26 date for the national convention.

“I have no fear the convention would not hold. The convention would hold Insha Allah. Don’t worry, we are equal to the task. We are the biggest party in Africa. And we have experienced hands. A lot of reconciliation has taken place, consensus has taken place and we believe we will give you the best,” he said.

On his committee’s preparations, Ganduje said: “We are preparing for the convention. Apart from the selection of about 250 able young men and women, they are undergoing training after which they will proceed to the Eagle Square the venue of the convention. I will be there myself together with other members of the committee protocols sub-committee.”

APC still intact – Musa

In a related development, a leading national chairmanship aspirant, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, has said despite the seemingly diverse interests, the ruling party was still united and intact.

This is as he reiterated that President  Buhari, as leader of the party, was on top of the situation in APC and had everything under control.

Speaking on Television Continental (TVC) News Tonight, the lawmaker representing Niger East in the National Assembly, also discussed about APC’s preparations for the convention and his plans for the party, if elected the national chairman of the party.

 Fielding questions on if the selection of candidates for the chairmanship position would  go down to consensus or votes by the delegates,  Musa in his response, affirmed that “both are within the party’s constitution and he will support whichever of the two the party leadership decides on.”

The lawmaker further stated that if he emerges as the party chair , he would  strengthen the party structure in line with the ideology of its founding father and make it  a worthy institution as the largest party in Africa.

 Reeling out some of his programs, the chairmanship aspirant pledged “to institutionalize and make the APC a political party that will work its policies to support the women and youths in both the internal working and developmental structures of the ruling party, if given the opportunity at the forthcoming National Convention.”

Musa, who is the Chairman of the Senate Services Committee, also promised to adapt to a participatory work style that will usher visionary and pacesetting leadership for the party that will guarantee affirmative action.

“Under my leadership the party will embrace more technology in our operations which will reduce waste and abuse of our party best practices.

“We’ll run a party that will preserve the legacy of our founding fathers to build a strong country that is more tolerant, more prosperous and fairer by giving every member of the party equal opportunity,” he said.

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