To douse simmering tension in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Caretaker Chairman Mai Mala Buni met with five governors yesterday on his return from Dubai where he went for medical checkup and in London where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Yobe State governor also met with Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and members of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC). Governor Bello acted for him while he was away.
Buni, also declared all the activities of the acting chairman as valid and binding on the party.
He has also initiated rapprochement with all the governors who worked against him while on medical trip.
There were indications that Buni and the governors may collectively review the convention committees and agree on a harmonised list.
According to a source, Buni returned to Abuja at about 4am yesterday.
The source said: “In line with the script given to him by the President, Buni was already reaching out to other colleague governors on how to keep APC united to make the March 26 convention a reality.
“Early in the day, he had a meeting with some governors, including Babagana Zulum (Borno); Yahaya Bello (Kogi); Gboyega Oyetola (Osun); Hope Uzodimma (Imo); Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
“At about 5pm, he held another meeting with the acting chairman and members of the CECPC where he told them that he had no malice against anyone.
“In the next few hours, he will have audience with those who moved against him. His objective is to hand over to a democratically elected national chairman.
“Buni’s camp has won the leadership tussle, but wants to be mature in handling things by now carrying everyone along.
“You know he (Bello) inaugurated state chairmen, which Buni was supposed to do before he travelled. If you say everything done in the absence of the substantive chairman has been thrown away, that, too, will be thrown away.
“So, it is a way of dousing tension.
“The Secretary of CECPC, Sen. John Akpanudoedohe is on ground, no one has removed him.”
The source added: “Buni and his colleagues will sit down and review the list of convention committees, which has polarised the party.”
In a statement he personally signed: “This is to bring to the notice of all stakeholders and members of the party that the purported suspension of some activities initiated and executed by the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the acting chairman and Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello is not true.
“Therefore, all activities that were done in my absence remain valid and binding. All party stakeholders and members are hereby advised to disregard the previous statement discarding the activities of the committee under the leadership of the Acting Chairman.
“It could be recalled that I had duly transmitted power to His Excellency, the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello to enable me undergo medical attention.
“Therefore, all actions and measures taken by the committee under his leadership as acting chairman remain effective.
“The party calls for support and understanding to move the Party forward to a successful convention slated for March 26th, 2022.”
Buni, Bello after meeting: we are on course
All Progressive Congress Caretaker Chairman Mai Mala Buni and erstwhile acting chairman Abubakar Sani-Bello declared yesterday after a meeting that the party is on course to hold its March 26 convention.
They spoke to reporters after the meeting in Abuja.
Buni commended his Niger State counterpart who stood in while he was away for effectively managing the affairs of the party.
According to Buni, “You know that since I travelled the party has not stopped. His Excellency (Gov. Sani Bello) has done very well in managing the affairs of the party.
“We are here to discuss the issues going forward. We are now at the finishing line in the preparations for our national convention which is at hand on March 26. We are putting heads together to achieve this task ahead.
“I want to emphasis that the March 26 national convention is sacrosanct.”
On Akpanudoedehe’s absence at the meeting, Buni said: “You know that this is not a formal meeting of the committee. These members of the CECPC just came to welcome me back to the country and wish me well after returning from a medical trip outside the country. So, it is not a formal meeting that one will ask whether the secretary is here or not. However, he was in the house earlier today.”
Recounting his stewardship while he acted, Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello said, “I have been acting as the chairman of CECPC and what I can tell you is that we made lots of progress towards our convention like we saw in the inauguration of the State Chairmen, adopted some of the zoning formulae, and some of the decisions of the CECPC taken before he (Buni) left the country. I can tell you for free that in the last one week, we have ensured that we are good to go for the convention.”