National convention

Exclusive: APC May Move National Convention Again Following Legal Advice – The Whistler Nigeria

A new legal opinion could see the chairman of the All Progressive Congress interim committee, Mai Mala Buni, accept another change in the date of the party’s national convention, THE WHISTLER has learned.

It was understood that legal advice will be made available to Buni upon his return from medical travel.

But Buni would face an uphill battle if he decides to move the date of the convention following mounting pressure from some governors who want it to hold at all costs.

The notice, which is contained in an internal party memo seen by our correspondent on Tuesday morning at the party’s national secretariat, highlighted the reasons for the proposed change and the steps to be taken.

The party’s legal department, which issued the notice, reiterated the need to quash all court cases involving the party and give the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, a further 21-day notice of the new date of the agreement.

He cited Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 as quoted by INEC in its latest letter advising the party that it must abide by the rules in force on any events the party wishes to hold.

The INEC, in its latest correspondence to the APC, wrote: “The APC is reminded of the provision of section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which requires at least 21 days for any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of “amalgamating” and electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or appointing candidates for any elective office.

The new legal notice also drew the party’s attention to the party’s recognized chairman and secretary saying “No correspondence can be received from INEC except signed by Her Excellency, Mai Mala Buni and Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, as previously stated”.

In the last letter written and signed by the acting chairman of the party, Mr. Abubakar Sani Bello and others inviting INEC to its national executive committee meeting, the Commission rejected it saying that it did not recognize as Buni and Mr. John Akpanudoedehe as National President and Secretary respectively.

INEC wrote to the party saying: “The Commission draws your attention to the fact that the convocation to the meeting was not signed by the national president and the national secretary of the CECPC contrary to the provision of article 1.1.3 of the Commission Rules and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).

The party under Sani Bello responded by saying it was not required to write a second letter to the commission, saying advance notice of its original billed convention for Feb. 26 was sufficient.

However, the new letter said it was better “to err on the side of caution than to embark on the convention which could be declared illegal, such as what the party experienced in Rivers and Zamfara states respectively.”

The letter also mentioned several cases that have been brought against the convention, some of which have won perpetual injunctions that have not been overturned.

Other cases the letter referred to were against the party leadership, “thereby requiring a full resolution of all such court cases before going to Congress,” the legal notice reads.

The letter further stated that the Recognized Chair should use “the window available to write to INEC giving the Commission 21 days’ notice immediately”.

When our correspondent contacted Akpanudoedehe about the development, he did not return his calls. No response was also received from text messages sent to his phone at the time of filing this report.

Buni is expected to return home later this week after sick leave.

Mr. Mamman Mohammed, Chief Press Officer to the Governor of Yobe State, told reporters that “Mai Mala Buni is still in Dubai to receive the final round of his treatment as he did not meet the President at the UK You know when there is a problem people tend to speculate but then it ends up in speculation.

“As I speak to you now, Mai Mala Buni is in Dubai receiving the final round of her treatment. We expect her back in the country by the end of this week. Some media houses have speculated that was expected in the country today, but it all ended in speculation.

The division within the party deepened on Monday when Imo State Governor Mr Hope Uzodimma hit back at his Kaduna State counterpart Mr Nasir El-Rufai accusing him of lied that Buhari ordered Buni’s dismissal.

Uzodimma, who appeared on Politics Today, on Channels Television, said: “I am not aware of any such order”, adding that: “It would be unfair for anyone to say this because when we last met with Governor Buni, he highlighted all the activities. He also informed us that he will be traveling for his medicals and while he is there, Bello, who will be acting, will be doing all of that. The decision to swear in as President of the State was made at a meeting where we were all present.