The Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has acted swiftly by inaugurating a National Reconciliation Committee to enable the party prepare grounds for the party’s national convention. The reconciliation committee was set up just as some members of the party and support groups have started expressing frustration over the long delay in convening the national convention. One of the many support groups attached to APC known as the Concerned All Progressives Congress members recently handed down a 14-day ultimatum to the caretaker body urging it to set up a convention planning committee or risk mass protest by members.
The group insisted that Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker must produce an acceptable timetable for the National Convention slated for December as directed by the party’s NEC within the 14-day time frame. The group spokesman, Abdullahi Dauda, while briefing the media in Abuja, leveled on the caretaker committee members several allegations including a plan to elongate the tenure of members. Dauda said the concerned members of the party have watched with keen interest, utter amazement, and disillusionment the inability of the APC Caretaker Committee to provide direction for the party by producing a workable timetable for the December elective convention. The group said: “We are Concerned APC members, who have watched with amazement and disillusionment for several months the inability of the APC Caretaker Committee to provide direction for the party and set up a timetable for December elective convention. “We are not out to discredit the conscientious efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari and his team that have taken commendable steps to fight for the progress of the party by setting up the present Caretaker Committee to save the party from the internal crisis but to bring to his notice that there are certain areas that the Governor Mai Mala Buni led Caretaker Committee has failed outright, especially as it concerns the non-compliance to the scheduled December National Convention.
“We are less than two months away from the December deadline and no meaningful plan is in place for the much-awaited convention. The committee led by Mai Mala Buni was inaugurated to carry out two critical challenges faced by our great party. One was for it to reconcile aggrieved members and the second, was to conduct a National Convention by December 2020. The group alleged that information reaching them revealed that there are plans by the Buni led Committee to extend their tenure for another one year.
“The Buni led Committee has shown in its actions that tenure elongation is its priority and being stakeholders in the party, we see the urgent need to speak out loudly on time to save our party from another round of self-inflicted crisis. It is as our responsibility to speak up for posterity’s sake. “We are aware that the composition of the committee is illegal and alien to our party’s constitution abnitio and we are aware some members are in court already as regards that anomaly but due to our respect for Mr. President, we allowed the process as a child of necessity and supported it but the present action and body language of the committee necessitated our press conference today. “Furthermore, we are aware that the committee is planning registration of members which is not part of the resolution of the last NEC. We call on the committee to let legally elected and constituted NWC to come and conduct the new membership registration for the party and jettison this idea. The question remains? “Why is the Caretaker Committee planning to extend its tenure? Governor Buni was elected to govern the good people of Yobe state not to jettison his constitutional responsibility and be arranging a sit-tight regime in the party. A word is enough for the wise! “Why were the caretaker members and all the governors not present at Edo rallies if they had not compromised the election? We note that Gov Fayemi said he did not attend because as chairman of Gov forum, there existed a silent rule not to campaign against another governor of another party. This shows Fayemi is more loyal to PDP than APC who gave him the platform to be a governor in the first instance. “From our deep analyses, the Buni led Committee lost out in its first assignment in Edo where it allegedly conspired with some over-ambitious Governors to sabotage the party.
“We have it on good authority that Governor Buni personally called Caretaker Committee members not to go for campaigns in Edo. This act of betrayal to a party that has done so much for him is condemnable. “Ondo would have been another disappointment but for the unity of purpose by the leadership of the South West zone to avoid another embarrassing outing. We cannot hold our peace anymore, our collective silence is an indictment.” “We have therefore resolved as follows: That we are giving the Caretaker committee 14-day ultimatum to roll out plan of action/ timetable for the party’s December elective convention, Or face mass demonstration of party members nationwide. However, while inaugurating the panel, Mai Mala Buni, who is also Yobe State Governor and Chairman, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) at a ceremony on Monday expressed the hope and desire that aggrieved members would be convinced to sheath their swords and work together with others for the progress of the party. Buni explained that the committee was set up to reconcile members who were offended by last and previous party congresses in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory [FCT].
He stated that members of the committee, notably the leadership, comprising former Governor Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa State [chairman] and Moses Adeyemo, the secretary were carefully selected based on their individual track records of excellence, having served the party with high sense of commitment, integrity and dedication. Other members of the committee include former Governor George Akume of Benue, former Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu, former Governor Ali Saad of Jigawa and former Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. With a new reconciliation committee in place, all is now set for members who have one grouse or another to step forward and table them before the group of elders for solutions to be sought in resolving the issues. The task before the committee is enormous and daunting because many complaints likely to be filed will revolve around the imposition of candidates, unjustified denial of mandates, and selective appointment of candidates rather than acceptance of congress election results.
In the FCT, for example, all the six area councils have complaints against the party’s unjustified interference in the congresses and this has prompted mass exodus of members to other political parties especially the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in recent times while some of them have gone to seek redress in the courts. The FCT reconciliation panel headed by Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello did not help matters when it elected to listen to only few members and edited out the majority of contestants who had serious complaints against the handling of the congress. Today, the APC has lost a sizeable number of its members who left in protest after the Yahaya Bello committee ignored them. Again, many aggrieved members believe that since the primary election has been concluded and those preferred by the party leaders have been put in place, there cannot be any reconciliation except the results are canceled and the congresses re-conducted. The same cases have been noticed in the 36 states and the problems which made the party lose states like Zamfara, Edo and other states in recent times are still there and have not been properly addressed. While speaking, Buni had charged the national reconciliation committee members with the task of critically examining areas of conflict in the party’s ward and local government congresses and advance solutions to the problems.
“The much-anticipated congresses have commenced and progressed with significant successes. We have also constituted mechanisms such as the appeal committees to address complaints arising from the conduct of the congresses. “Your report on the resolution of these discrepancies will indicate our readiness as a united and strong family for the national convention. Your assignment, therefore, has great impact and influence on the convention,” Buni said. He urged them to take the interest of the party above personal and selfish interests for APC to remain strong, united as Nigeria’s leading political party. “The task before this committee is very important and crucial. It is to reconcile, harmonize, integrate and unite members of the party. “The committee is also expected to resolve real or seeming differences and to cement all cracks for us to approach the National Convention with a united front,” he said. Buni urged the committee to conduct appropriate engagement between identified groups in each state where disputes are reported to bring about genuine reconciliation and establish lasting peace and unity in the party. The committee was specifically directed to consult with party leaders and concerned members as it deemed necessary with a view to achieving peace in the party in a veiled reference to complaints from party leaders in the FCT about being ignored by the Yahaya Bello committee. He remarked that the APC has progressed significantly with purposeful and productive leadership and promoted justice, equity, fair play and genuine reconciliation to give party members true sense of belonging.
“I am happy to say that this has restored confidence and trust in the party. I am also glad to state that since we came on board, the party’s membership has enthusiastically supported President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the party leadership,” he said. Buni praised loyal party members for complying with the directive to withdraw court cases instituted against the party in some states. He remarked that the withdrawal of the court cases will contribute to the speedy reconciliation and boost the rebirth of the party, declaring also that the APC was more united today, stronger and bigger. “It was a crucial tool in the recovery of the party. Over 40 million members were registered while the process is still ongoing. It provided existing and new members with a sense of belonging and ownership of the party.