APC Crisis: “Buhari is aware I’m Acting Chair” – Governor Bello

“I’m still in charge”, Buni insists

Amid speculations that the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, (CECPC), Mai Mala Buni, may have been unilaterally sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari from superintending the affairs of the APC CECPC, Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has dismissed such claims, saying he is only operating in an acting capacity.

Gov. Bello, who made his position known after presiding over a ceremony to administer the oath of office on State chairmen of the party yesterday in Abuja, said he has been operating as Acting National Chairman of the APC since Gov. Buni travelled out of the country.

Recall that Gov. Mai Mala Buni travelled out of the country last week, and had handed over the reins of the party to Governor Bello.

Impeccable party sources said Gov. Buni had earlier wanted to hand over to the National Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, or a former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani, but that some forces within the party, especially State governors, wanted a ‘neutral’ person to steer the affairs of the party in the interim.

“Last week, Governor Mai Mala Buni travelled overseas on a private visit and appointed via a letter Governor Sani Bello to act in his absence”, a source in the office of Governor Buni told newsmen, dispelling rumours that President Muhammadu Buhari had sacked Buni as the APC CECPC Chairman and appointed Governor Bello.

Meanwhile, there was a heavy security presence at the Buhari House National Secretariat of the APC, following reports of the sack of Gov. Buni.

As early as 8 am, policemen had taken strategic positions in and around the secretariat, restricting human and vehicular movements, in what they said was part of efforts to maintain law and order. One of the operatives said they were deployed to the secretariat as early as 2 am to secure the party premises.

Gov. Bello, who arrived at the secretariat at about noon went straight to the National Working Committee (NWC) Hall, where he met with some members of the CECPC.

Sources at the meeting said at least nine of the 12 CECPC members were present and that the session was presided over by Gov. Bello.

Gov. Bello also received the report of the APC Convention zoning committee from the chairman and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who led other members of the committee.

The CECPC had on February 3 inaugurated the State executives of the party but, either by commission or omission, did not administer any oath on the party chiefs. The development had consequently put the validity of their election as chairmen in doubt.

There had earlier been speculations that President Buhari may have sanctioned the sack of Gov. Buni as the CECPC National Chairman on Sunday night before departing the country for London.

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