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APC Crisis: INEC rejects Bello’s letter, faults process



*Convention now in doubt

By Adline Nnakwu

The planned All Progressive Congress (APC) national convention slated for March 26 has run into troubled waters as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) faulted a notice of the party’s emergency meeting planned by the Governor Sani Bello leadership of the party.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it is not aware of leadership change in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

INEC also insisted that due process must be followed by giving the commission a 21-day mandatory notice for it to monitor the convention.

It was gathered that Governor Bello, upon resumption as Chairman of CECPC of APC, transmitted a letter dated 8th March, 2022, informing INEC of the change of guard at the party’s national secretariat.

Bello introduced himself in the said letter as acting Chairman while Professor Tahir Mamman was introduced as the acting Secretary of the party.

Both Governor Bello and Professor Mamman were said to have signed the letter which was to serve as notice to the commission, of APC’s CECPC decision to hold an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on March 17.

But, in a swift reaction, the Commission replied the letter on Wednesday March 9, 2022, drawing the party’s attention to some obvious lacuna.

The INEC letter signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Omoa Oriaran-Anthony, reads:

“The Commission draws your attention to the fact that the notice for the meeting was not signed by the National Chairman (Buni) and National Secretary (Akpanudoedehe) of the CECPC, contrary to the provision of the Article 1.1.3 of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).

“Furthermore, the APC is reminded of the provision in Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which requires ‘at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of “merger” and electing members of executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any elective offices’”.

By implications, Governor Bello’s leadership of APC is not known to INEC and the stipulated 21 days notice to INEC for the commission to monitor party convention has not been complied with.

For INEC to monitor the convention, the APC letter notifying it of its convention ought to have been written earlier than March 8.

Sani Bello had on Monday in Abuja assumed the APC leadership after President Muhammadu Buhari allegedly approved the removal of the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, as the chairman of the CECPC and in his stead, okayed his Niger State counterpart as a replacement.

This has led to controversy because Sani Bello had on Monday shortly after presiding over meetings at the APC national secretariat said he was only acting as chairman.

However, on Wednesday, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State said Buni who is on a medical trip in Dubai had been removed at the instance of President Buhari.

He blamed Buni for the widening crisis in the party and said that the Yobe governor had been removed for good and that Sani Bello was fully in charge with the support of at least 19 governors of the ruling party.

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