After the sack of the Chairman of Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Mai Mala Buni, by President Muhammadu Buhari, his Niger state counterpart, Abubakar Bello, has taken over the affairs of the party, Thisday reports.
APC governors appeared to have left Buni in the cold as Babagana Zulum of Borno, Babjide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Hope Uzondinma of Imo, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, and AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state stormed the national secretariat of the party to show support for Bello.
In his first official assignment as the acting Caretaker Chairman of the party, Bello inaugurated the state Chairmen of APC.
Addressing journalists briefly after the inauguration on Monday in Abuja, Bello said the governors were at the secretariat to show him support.
When asked if he had taken charge of the party, Bello said, “Acting chairman? I have been acting for a while since the chairman travelled.
“Every time there is a major event, we beef up security. Today we have a major event and all the chairmen came in. And they are to maintain law and order.”
Asked how often he would be coming to the party Secretariat, Bello said, “almost everyday”.
He added: “Most of my colleagues are here to support me to receive the report. You know the zoning committee report is a very important one. And all the governors here are here to support me. Now, at zonal level, they can go and do their work”.
Asked if what was going on at the party had the blessing of President Muhammadu Buhari, he said: “Of course”.
Earlier, the police numbering about 70 came with 10 vehicles and condoned off the secretariat of the party at Blantyre street to prevent any breakdown of law and order.
The police cordoned off the secretariat as early as 8a.m on Monday.
Earlier report has it that the President had approved the removal of Buni as the Chairman and asked Bello to take over.
A faction of the APC governors was alleged to have complained bitterly to the president that Buni was not inclined to hold the convention as rescheduled, because there were no preparations on ground to indicate so.
Following the report, the secretary of the party, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe denied there was a leadership change in the party.
Akpanudoedehe in a statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to sponsored media reports on an imaginary leadership change in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
“The APC is a progressive political party guided by rules. Leadership changes are not announced by ‘sources’ through name dropping in the media.
“We urge our teeming supporters, members and indeed the general public to remain calm and support the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC CECPC conduct a rancour-free and credible National Convention deserving of our great party.”
But at around 12 noon, Bello arrived at the national secretariat of the party, where he held a meeting with the members of the Caretaker Committee.
The meeting had nine out of the twelve members of the Caretaker Committee of the party, including Akpanudoedehe who had earlier denied leadership change, in attendance.
However, when the secretary was asked if he still stood by the earlier statement he issued that there was no leadership change in the party, he referred our reporter to the statement made by Bello where he said he was the acting national chairman of the party because Buni was out of the country.
The secretary disclosed that he was not the right person to answer the question, adding that the question should be directed to Bello.
According to him, I am not the right person to ask this question. You should direct your question to the Niger Governor. Whatever I say now will be like speculation because I didn’t speak with the president and the president didn’t speak with him.
On the statement issued earlier, he said he had the right to maintain the sanctity of the party.