President approves extra 6 months for APC’s Caretaker Committee

June 26, 2021
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•Says crisis-ridden party back to life
•Dates for congresses at all levels ratified

Deji Elumoye and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has granted another six months tenure extension to the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The President gave the approval yesterday morning after a closed-door meeting with members of the Committee at the State House, Abuja.

Sources said the Buni-led committee requested for another six months tenure extension after doing 12 months, to enable them “put the party in very good shape and conduct a seamless elective National Convention.”
The Caretaker Chairman and Governor of Yobe State, Buni presented a summary of the Committee’s progress report to the President at the meeting.

The Chairman was accompanied to the meeting with the President by other members of the committee – Governor Isiaka Oyetola of Osun State, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, Ken Nnamani, Abubakar Yusuf, Akinyemi Olaide, Mrs. Stella Oketete, Dr. James Lulu, Chief David Lyon, Abba Ali, Prof. Tahir Mamman, Ismail Ahmed and the committee’s Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe.

Akpanudoedehe, in a statement after the meeting, said the President approved the tenure extension after a detailed consideration of the progress report, the schedule of outstanding activities with regards to congresses, the National Convention and the forthcoming Anambra State Governorship election.

He said by virtue of the extension, the tenure of the caretaker committees at each level from wards, local governments, states and national, would end immediately elections were held at their respective levels with officers immediately take oath of office, terminating with the National Convention.

The secretary recalled that at its last meeting, the National Executive Committee (NEC) conferred on the Committee, the power of the National Convention, “which is in line with powers provided in Article 13.3 of the party’s constitution.”
Akpanudoedehe stated: “President Buhari on Friday approved the review of the timelines available to the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).

“The President also approved the timetable for APC Ward, Local Government and State Congresses. Ward Congresses will hold 24th July, 2021 followed by Local Government Congresses on 14th August, 2021 and State Congresses on 18th September, 2021.”

Akpanudoedehe noted that Buni informed the President that the Committee had during the period under review, led the party to contest in several elections and bye-elections, with an overall success rate of 95 per cent.
On the peace and reconciliation efforts, he said the Chairman informed the President that the committee commenced its assignment with the desire to foster genuine reconciliation on solid foundation, by giving all issues and every aggrieved member fair hearing and objectively placing party interests above individual interests.
“I am pleased to state that the party is now more peaceful, more accommodating, and more united with greater prospects than when we came on board,” Akpanudoedehe quoted Buni as telling Buhari.

On the Anambra governorship election, the secretary stressed that the chairman notified the President that 14 aspirants indicated interest to contest the election through purchase of expression of interest and nomination forms, and that all of them had been cleared by the Screening Committee as eligible to contest.

He added: “Among other achievements in the CECPC’s administration of the party, the National Chairman informed the President that “the CECPC inherited liability of unpaid legal fee to the tune of N340 million, but successfully negotiated and brought down the fees to N179 million which is now fully paid.”

The secretary added that the Chairman informed the President that the Committee had been very cautious and meticulous in making arrangements to conduct credible, transparent, flawless and generally acceptable congresses and convention for the party to produce a strong leadership that will enjoy the support, trust and confidence of all members.
“At all times, we have enjoyed the confidence of Mr. President and enjoyed your leadership. In developing the timetable for the congresses and convention, the support to conduct a credible election cannot be over-emphasised; this will also justify the successes recorded and the status of the new APC that we have all dreamt of,” Akpanudoedehe quoted Buni as telling the President.

During the meeting at the State House, President Buhari took a holistic look at the activities of the APC in recent times and concluded that the party, which was crisis ridden, had been revived and now fully back to life.
He, therefore, congratulated the Mala Buni-led committee for its task to return the party from a comatose state to proper reorganisation at all levels.
The President said the APC had been revived, energised and repositioned for its forthcoming national convention and future elections.

According to him, the fortunes of the party had been brightened by the re-organisation and reconciliation of members across the party, saying “with the work done by the committee the party has bounced back to life.
“I have listened with great interest to the remarkable job you have done so far. We are all witnesses to the crisis that engulfed the party leading to litigations and presented a picture of selfishness and division,” said the President.

President Buhari said the party’s structure was disturbed by the conflicts that preceded and followed various elections, noting that the secretariat had been witnessing a beehive of peaceful activities after the reconciliation.
The President said: “It is gratifying to note that with the coming of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and its effective management of the affairs of the party and the pursuit of its mandate, the party has bounced back to life and the National Secretariat of our party has once again become a beehive of activities, as it used to be in the good old days before the crisis.”

The President told members of the committee that they would continue to enjoy the support of all party stalwarts and members to complete their assignment with the actualisation of the convention and leave an “indelible footprint’’.
He said: “I wish to assure you that your committee will continue to enjoy my support and that of other stakeholders to ensure that the conduct and outcome of the congresses and National Convention are done in a manner that conforms with our desire to leave indelible footprints of all-round development and a lasting legacy for future generations.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of APC Caretaker Committee said they approached their duty with commitment and dedication to rescue the party from imminent collapse.

The Yobe State Governor noted that all issues and members were given a fair hearing, and an open-door policy was created to accommodate all those that were aggrieved, leading to withdrawal of cases in court and peaceful settlements.
“We are currently witnessing high powered decamping to our party, including governors from the PDP. The party is now more peaceful, orderly and accommodating than what we met on the ground. Although there was initial fear, the mobilisation and sensitisation was able to allay the fears of members,” Buni said.

The Yobe State governor said the registration and revalidation of members across the country recorded more than 40 million members, and an appeal committee was also set up to hear all matters related to the process so that no member gets disenfranchised.

“We have observed that youth and women constitute huge population of the voting group. We had a youth and women committee, and also people with disability,” he added.
According to him, a Contact and Strategy Team had been set up in every state to come up with an acceptable template that would ensure transparency, credibility and acceptability of the internal electoral processes.

Buni also said the committee had instituted a process to review the party’s constitution and look into loopholes that usually fan conflict and litigations among members, with more than 500 memoranda already received.
He told the President and other party members that 14 party members had indicated their interest to contest for the Anambra State elections, assuring that the primary elections will be free, fair and transparent.

The Yobe State governor said huge legal fees were inherited, and the committee had worked with members to settle all the outstanding, after scaling them down, noting that payment for the APC National Secretariat had been completed.
“The party members have agreed to name the secretariat, Muhammadu Buhari House,” he added.
While thanking the President for his support and insight, Buni noted that a National Conference for the Youths was organised recently as part of the bottom-up approach to strengthening the party and ensuring relevance of all stakeholders.

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