Joshua Omoloye, Abuja
Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello performed his first official assignments as acting chairman of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Caretaker Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, (CECPC) Monday afternoon when he received report of the national convention Zoning Committee.
Gov. Bello, a member of the CECPC, took over the leadership of the party following what was described as an endorsement by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Chairman of the APC Zoning Committee, Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq submitted the report to the acting chairman at the National Secretariat, Abuja.
“I would like to thank you for this assignment handled in a very mature manner. This is the beginning of good things to come to our party. This exercise was hitch-free and by God’s grace every other exercise will be free as this,” said Gov. Bello
The acting chairman commended the committee while he described the zoning system as a representation of fairness and equity in the party.
He also commended members of the Committee for their commitment to the success of the assignment.
Governor Bello replaces the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala as chairman of CECPC.
Though, no official statement has been made by the party on Buni’s fate.
An unofficial source had it that the plot to remove Buni was hatched at a meeting on Sunday at the Niger State Governor’s lodge in Abuja when the idea of convening a National Executive Committee, (NEC) was mooted.
The Buni- led CECPC has been passing through rough times over several calls for removal of Buni and the Caretaker Secretary, John James Akpanudoedehe for inability to convene the national convention of the party since its inception in June 2020.
Before Gov Bello arrived at the party secretariat, the road leading to Blantyre Street was cordoned off by stern-looking security operatives.
Bello arrived at the party headquarters in the company of colleague governors; Babajide Sanwolu of Lagos State, Babaganna Zulum of Borno State, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, Abdulrasak of Kwara, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State and some others party chieftains.
The acting chairman immediately presided over the CECPC meeting and swear in the new party elected chairmen across the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT).
Bello presided over the meeting of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in which nine members including Akpanudoedehe.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the acting chairman said “the States’ Chairmen took their oath of office today and we discussed progress made so far on Convention and what needs to be done next so that we will achieve the March 26th, convention date.
“I participated as the acting Chairman, I have been acting for a while since the Chairman travelled.”
When asked to confirm the news that he’s been appointed as the acting Chairman taking over from Buni, he stated; “You said news; No comment.”
On the issue of security at the party secretariat, he stated: “Well, every time there is a major event, we beef up security.
“Today we have a major event and all the chairmen came in, they are to maintain law and order.
“I will be here, ‘Buhari House’ almost every day. 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 to support me. Now, at zonal level, they can go and do their work and of course, the happenings today have blessings of President Buhari”.
Earlier in the day, CECPC Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe denied a change in leadership while describing media reports to that effect, as ‘fake news.’
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 to conduct a rancour-free and credible National Convention deserving of our great party,” the statement added.