Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, who is the Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), will preside over the February 26 national convention.
A credible source told Daily Independent that President Muhammadu Buhari and governors elected on the platform of the APC, under the aegis of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), have given approval to the Buni-led Caretaker Committee to take charge of the convention.
There has been clamour by some members of the party seeking Buni’s removal as the APC chairman following the Supreme Court’s judgment on the Ondo State governorship election last year.
However, Buni has won all the cases in court, the recent being the ruling of a Federal High Court sitting in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, which struck out a suit challenging the competence of the caretaker committee.
When asked if Buni will still preside over the convention, our source said, “Yes, Buni and his team in the caretaker committee will preside over the convention. The APC governors have passed a vote of confidence on the committee on several occasions and they still did that about two weeks ago.
“The issue of whether there will be any negative consequence if Buni presides over the convention has been put to rest as it has been clarified that his position as acting chairman of the committee is not contrary to the provision of section 183 of the constitution.
“It has also been settled because the Supreme Court affirmed that his position as caretaker chairman is held temporarily, which is not akin to executive office or paid employment as envisaged by section 183 of the constitution”.
Also on Thursday, the APC State Assembly Legislators of the North-West zone endorsed Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for President in 2023.
Their endorsement was communicated in a communiqué issued after the extraordinary meeting of the forum, which had in attendance former House of Assembly members of the North-West zone.
It was read by the former speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Mr. Ahmed Marafa, in Abuja on Thursday.
The North-West legislators also urged the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee to zone the party’s presidency to the North.
Marafa said that the North-West legislators agreed to support their colleagues in the North-Central for the 2023 presidency, saying the zone had been deprived of the number one position since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
Quoting the communique, he said, “We resolved that the state Assembly legislators of the North-West zone endorse and state their unalloyed and unshaken support for the aspiration of the young and ebullient governor of Kogi State, Governor Bello, who has, against all odds, decided to take the bull by the horn, by aspiring to the Office of the President of Nigeria come 2023.
“The members thank him for leading the clarion call for the presidency of Nigeria to come to the North-Central zone and urge him to have no fear or doubt in his race for the exalted office as members of the North-West zone are solidly behind him.
“The meeting also agreed to call on the leadership of our great party, APC, to zone the presidency to the Northern region of the country.
“This is because the North will rule for 10 years at the end of President Buhari’s tenure, while the Southern region has ruled for 14 years,” the legislators said.
The state legislators also passed a vote of confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari for his sterling and cohesive leadership, urging him not to relent in ensuring that he leaves Nigeria in 2023 a better place.
The forum passed a vote of confidence in the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC for its aggressive repositioning of the party.
Earlier in his remarks, speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Prince Matthew Kolawole, galvanised the incumbent and former state lawmakers’ support for Bello’s presidential aspiration.
Kolawole described Bello as a young dynamic and energetic individual with capacity to manage Nigeria’s diversity, who would also fit into the demand for a young president in 2023.
A member of the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Hon. Alhaji Maidawa (Sagari Constituency) said that the Sokoto State lawmakers and their supporters were in full support of Bello’s presidential ambition.
Maidawa described Bello’s presidential ambition and the meeting as a new beginning for Nigeria.
Hon. Aliyu Lawal, representing Kaduna Central, Kaduna House of Assembly, described Bello as a bridge-builder and young promising Nigerian who had the capacity to tackle Nigeria’s problems.
“I believe that not only the North will support Bello’s ambition but the other zones of the country,” Lawal said.