Buni’s men tighten hold on APC, Akpanudoedehe returns to office

Members of the All Progressives Congress, who are loyal to the Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, on Tuesday, consolidated their hold on the party after surviving last week’s attempt to remove them.

On Monday, the Secretary of the CECPC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, who had not made a public appearance in the last one week, returned to the party’s secretariat amid tight security.

The secretary was welcomed by jubilant members of staff, who exchanged pleasantries with him. Afterwards, Akpanudoedehe was escorted to his office by four policemen wielding AK-47 rifles.

In a statement he signed on behalf of the APC caretaker committee, the secretary promised that the national convention would hold on March 26 as planned.

The statement read, “On February 28, 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 to satisfy the timetable for the 2023 general elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, thus galvanising 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, 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.”

The committee thanked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and INEC for their firm guidance and intervention throughout the period.

To enable it to hold the national convention on the scheduled date of March 26, the caretaker committee revealed that the party had engaged a team of senior lawyers to address a purported court order halting the planned convention.

It, therefore, called 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, the APC.”

Court fails to lift injunction stopping convention

However, attempts by the APC to lift the injunction barring it from holding its national convention suffered a setback on Tuesday as an FCT High Court sitting in Kubwa adjourned the matter till Thursday, meaning the convention is still not 100 per cent certain.

The said restraining order, which was issued on November 18, 2021 by Justice Bello Kawu, was instituted by Salisu Umoru, a member of the party.

When the application was called on Tuesday, there was mild confusion as two lawyers claimed to be representing the APC and Buni, who are the first and second defendants in the suit respectively, while INEC is the third defendant.

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