As opposed to all expectations, especially following the sack as chairman of the All Progressives Congress Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (APC-CECPC), Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State had a comeback as President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed him to lead the party to its national convention on March 26.
However, Gistlover learnt that many of the governors who had legally lined up, behind Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, as replacement for Buni, have made a volte-face with their tails between the legs.
Niger state governor, snatched power at the APC national headquarters, when he announced himself as the new head of the CECPC, which was set up in 2020 in the wake of the sacking of the Adams Oshiomhole-led executive.
The action of Governor Bello and his backers had caused unease within the rank of the governors and top stakeholders as many accused Buni, the governor of Yobe state of plotting against the organization of the convention and declared support for Bello.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) scuttled the joy of the anti-Buni camp when it rejected a letter inviting it to an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the governing party where Bello’s chairmanship was to be approved.
According to the sources, the development is not unconnected with the “body language of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“From Buhari’s statement on Saturday, it was clear that he was not backing any candidate for the party’s chairmanship and would not prevent any interested person from running for the office of the President in 2023,” said a source.
It was learnt that humbled by the president’s statement and rattled by INEC’s position and other issues, some inner personalities in the presidency had to hurriedly sought audience with President Buhari, who is currently undergoing a medical checkup in the United Kingdom.
Those at the UK meeting, it was learnt, were the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, ministers of education and aviation, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Hadi Sirika respectively, and former member, House of Representatives, Faruq Adamu. They are believed to be the most powerful persons around the president from the days of the defunct Congress for Progressives Congress (CPC).
At the meeting, President Buhari reportedly refuted insinuations that he asked anyone to remove Buni and directed that he should be allowed to conduct the national convention as originally planned.
“The president, after he was properly briefed by his powerful associates gave a marching order for Buni to immediately resume the leadership of the ruling party and see to the smooth conclusion of the national convention.”
Buhari was also said to have told the leaders to focus on who becomes the next president and not who becomes the party’s chairman, noting that whoever emerges chairman would not have any effect on aspirants.
The sources at the UK meeting also made it known that Buhari denied endorsing any candidate for the APC national chairmanship office.