The All Progressive Governors that planned the removal of the Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee of the Party, Governor Mai Mala Buni, failed in their attempt as the President Muhammadu Buhari put his foot down on Wednesday, insisting that Buni should be allowed to continue as the chairman.
Buni also cancelled the meeting of the National Executive Committee, which had been called by the acting Chairman of the CECPC, Abubakar Bello, who is also the Governor of Niger State.
Some governors, including Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, had openly backed attempts to sack Buni, while a few others like Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, continued to defend the Yobe State governor.
Reports say, El-Rufai recently had claimed that the President had sanctioned Buni’s removal and the appointment of Bello as the new chairman of the APC caretaker committee.
The Kaduna State governor specifically claimed that Buni had colluded with some fifth columnists in the party to secure a court order to thwart the planned convention.
Akeredolu had also lambasted Buni, describing the governors supporting him as fraudsters.
Bello subsequently wrote a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission informing it of the plan to hold a NEC meeting ostensibly to remove both Buni and Senator John Akpanudoedehe, who is the secretary of the CECPC.
But INEC responded that Bello had no powers to write such a letter. The commission further stated that any meeting involving leadership change would require a 21-day notice.
This effectively threw a spanner in the works. However, the governors remained adamant, insisting that a NEC meeting would hold today (Thursday) without revealing the agenda of the meeting.
But in a bid to ensure that he is not removed, Buni, who had been away on medical leave in Dubai for the past two weeks, visited the President in London on Thursday.
Buni was said to have explained his side of the story to Buhari, who agreed with him, but maintained that the March 26 national convention must hold.
Armed with the President’s support, the CECPC chairman, it was learnt, immediately jumped on a flight back to Nigeria.
In a letter personally signed by Buhari, on Thursday, the President warned that any attempt to change the current leadership could spell doom for the party.
The President also sent communication to the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of the Department of State Services, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chairman, Progressive Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu, to ensure strict compliance. Also copied was the acting Chairman of the CECPC, Bello.