2023: Two Reasons Why INEC Rejected Buni’s Removal As APC Caretaker Chairman

 

 

According to reports filtering into the country’s media space, efforts by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to have Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, removed from his role as the party’s Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Chairman appears to have suffered a major setback.

The PUNCH reports that the Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected a letter requesting its presence at an emergency meeting of the APC’s National Executive Committee to ratify the appointment of Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, as the party’s new caretaker chairman.

 

You may recall that Bello took over the chairmanship seat after storming the APC’s headquarters in Abuja with armed security operatives some days back. He went on to preside over an emergency meeting with some members of the party’s Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) in attendance.

At the end of that meeting, Buni, who had traveled abroad supposedly on health grounds, was removed as the Chairman of the CECPC.

As sequel to the removal, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, had told Channels TV that President Buhari sanctioned Buni’s removal because he was working against the party for selfish interests.

The Yobe governor was accused of frustrating all efforts made by the party to conduct its National Convention to elect candidates into executive offices. At the time, El-Rufai insisted Buni’s fate had been sealed and he was gone for good.

 

In a strange twist to the plot, however, the INEC has rejected Bello’s leadership, insisting that as far as it was concerned, Buni was still the APC’s Caretaker Chairman.

According to a letter written to the party on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, the Commission noted that it will not honor the invitation to attend an emergency meeting presided over by Bello because it does not recognize him as the APC’s caretaker chairman. Two other reasons which were also given by INEC are as follows:

1. The invitation letter was not signed by the APC Caretaker Chairman and National Secretary respectively.

 

 

According to INEC, the letter of invitation sent to it was not signed by Buni, who is the officially recognized caretaker chairman, and Senator John Akpanudoedehe, whom the Commission recognizes as the party’s National Secretary.

According to the electoral body, such a move contravened the provisions of Article 1.1.3 of INEC’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).

2. The APC did not give INEC adequate notice of the plan to remove Buni from office as Chairman of the CECPC.

By quoting section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, INEC insisted that the APC must give at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress, conference, or meeting to elect members of its executive committees or other governing bodies.

By failing to properly inform the Commission of its plans to depose Mai Mala Buni from his position as Chairman of the CECPC, Sani Bello’s position will be deemed illegal.

Judging by INEC’s response, therefore, it appears that Mai Mala Buni may end up having the last laugh after all. Only time will tell.

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