•Beyond The Feb. 26 Convention
The purported plan to extend the tenure of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) beyond February 2022 is already generating tension among critical members of the party.
Some aggrieved members, who were not privileged to witness the chairmanship installation last week, expressed their worry that what may seem like the fourth tenure extension for the caretaker committee might spell doom for APC or probably be a ploy to betray the confidence some northern politicians have on the leadership of the party when in 2014 they agreed to merge for the purpose of ousting the then ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from power in the 2015 general elections. According to the faction of the federal lawmakers within the party, it is argued that the tenure extension plot could be an agenda schemed to enable the preferred candidate of the cabal to clinch the party ticket and ultimately win the 2023 presidential election.
The decision is also being contested on the basis that those behind the proposal wanted to arm-twist some founding members of the party ahead of the next general elections or perhaps a Northern agenda to scheme the South out of the next presidential race. A source, who is in the legislative chamber, confided in City People that it is an aberration that another tenure extension is being proposed for the committee.
The truth is, Gov. Buni, at this point had no business in the coming convention in February, his caretaking tenure is long overdue, so his illegitimate stay in that capacity has an ulterior motive.
This is clearly the politics of 2023 aimed at ambushing the party machinery, otherwise, why would a caretaker committee that is expected not to stay for six months be now scheming to be permanent?
Recall that Governor Buni took over the APC leadership in June 2020 following the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) led by former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole. The CECPC was given an initial 6 months within which to reconcile aggrieved party members and organise a National Convention to elect substantive members of the NWC to run the party’s affairs.
Mr Buni’s 13-member committee was set up on June 25, 2020, by the APC National Executive Council (NEC) after the controversial dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC). However, the committee did not disclose when the tenure was to end.
The tenure of the CECPC, which was originally set up to stay in office for six months, was initially extended from December 2020 to June 2021. By June 2022, Buni would have spent two years as a caretaker chairman.
His alleged romance with the APC Governors’ forum, generation distrust and suspicion by the legislative arms who are in a long-standing rivalry with the governors based on power tussle.
As a governor, Buni has been seen as a pro-factional leader who does the bidding of his colleagues and the cabal, coupled with his closeness with the President. Buni can’t be wrong.
It is also believed that the newly installed state chairmen consist of those who were recommended by the state governors. This means the other factions in these states had no representation in the chairmanship calculation, consequently elections at state levels and primary elections will favour the governors and not the lawmakers.
The bone of contention is that some of the aggrieved members are already seeking redress in court, one of which is Kano. Kano is one of the key deciding factors in any election in Nigeria.
Also, at the time of the inauguration, states such as Osun, Ogun, Kwara, Zamfara, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bauchi and Kebbi still had parallel executives. These states have in the last one year, fought in factions as each state field’s parallel leaders; the governor’s party and the state leaders’ party. Kano, for instance, falls between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and state leader, Senator and former governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, Ogun State is being shared by the former two-term governor and Senator, Ibikunle Amosun and current serving Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun. Osun State is another battleground for former Governor and current Minister, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his not-too favoured successor, Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
Some of the losers include; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Others who lost out include Senator Kabiru Marafa and a former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’Aziz Yari’.
By the time these 11 states file a stay of activities against the party, the convention may just not hold. This means that Governor Buni may have to come back to the drawing board and x-ray the local peculiarities of each state and fashion out modalities that will bring a win-win resolution. This of course may last for another 6 months, just as the general elections pull closer. The rhetorical question is to know who gets to benefit from all these challenges within the party? Equally important to note is that none of the 35 newly inaugurated chairmen of the party took any oath of office
This is against Article 29 of the APC Constitution which mandates every elected or appointed officer of the party to be subscribed to the oath of office.
The APC constitution stated that “Every Officer elected or appointed as an officer of the Party shall subscribe to the Oath of Office as provided in Schedule II to this Constitution before an appropriate Principal Officer of the Party as may be approved by the National Working Committee,”
It cannot, however, be ascertained whether the act was deliberate or not, however, there have been arguments questioning Mr Buni’s legal right to appoint or swear in party officers into offices as a caretaker committee Chairman.
-Joseph Seun Emmanuel