THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has refused to recognise Niger State governor Abubakar Sani Bello as the new chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
INEC made its position on the matter known in a letter titled, ‘Re: Invitation to the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee’, signed by its Secretary Rose Omoa Oriaran-Anthony.
The letter, dated March 9, 2022, was in response to an invitation extended to INEC to an emergency meeting of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) where Bello is to be formally ratified as chairman of the caretaker committee.
The invitation letter was signed by Bello and Tahir Mamman, who was reportedly appointed as new secretary of the CECPC.
However, INEC, in its response said it was not aware of any change of guard in APC, and would not honour the invitation since it was not signed by the known chairman of the CECPC, Yobe State governor Mai Mala Buni, and Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe.
“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,” parts of the letter read.
INEC urged the APC to note the issues raised and ensure immediate compliance.
The ICIR reported that a fresh leadership crisis has erupted in the APC over the position of caretaker chairman after Bello presided over a meeting of the CECPC on Monday.
However, a letter leaked to the media on Thursday suggested that Buni, who is away in Dubai, United Arab Emirates to attend to his health, had formally transferred power to Bello before embarking on the trip.
Buni, in the letter, said he will resume office when he is discharged from hospital.
Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai has however claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari approved Buni’s replacement with Bello.
According to El-Rufai, Buni plotted to stop the party’s national convention, which has now been scheduled for March 26.