Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has taken over the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ‘sole administrator’ following the sack of Mai Mala Buni as chairman of the caretaker committee, Choicereporters authoritatively report.
Checks reveal that Bini has left country on what those loyal to him said was a ‘medical trip.’
But sources within the highest echelon of the party said on Sunday night that the presidency and the APC governors were miffed at Buni’s conduct and collusion with a few colleagues to undermine the interest of the ruling party.
Impeccable sources confirmed that then President Buhari approved Buni;s sack and Bello appointment shortly before leaving the county to London Sunday.
Buni is currently in Dubai for medical reasons and was not around to defend himself. But the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and another top Villa player, were said to have intervened on behalf of Buni, when they got wind of the development, and advised the president to exercise caution against such action.
They were said to have reminded Buhari it was only the NEC of the Party that could convene and remove Buni, and after he must have been given seven days notice of removal.
They, however, contended that anything outside the laid down processes, could be challenged in court, with the potential of disrupting the rescheduled March 26 Convention date.
It was not certain, however, whether the intervention changed the President’s mind. But some insiders, who spoke to THISDAY on the development this morning, expressed displeasure that some governors went to ambush the president just before he left the country without their knowledge and created a totally false narrative that Buni did not want to hold the convention.
“They are creating unnecessary crisis in the party, because of their selfish interests. How can they claim there are no preparations to hold the convention, when various convention sub-committees have been announced; the zonal committee is announcing the zoning formula on Monday (today).
“Committees will be inaugurated in a few days. These people are not sincere. Some governors have been scheming to take over the functions of CECPC to further their own interests.
The immediate way out of this is; if Buni voluntarily resigns, which he had two weeks ago threatened to during the APC governors meeting in Abuja,” they claimed.
These, nonetheless, the president, yesterday, assured party members before departing the country for his two weeks medical trip, that he would do everything to ensure the convention holds as scheduled on March 26.
He also took time to clear the air of misgivings about the structure of his government, when he said, constitutionally, his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, was always in charge, whenever he was away.
This is as the APC zoning committee, headed by the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq, is expected to announce the zoning formula for the party’ National Working Committee (NWC) today ahead of the national convention.
Also, a former governor of Nasarawa State and frontline aspirant for the All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairmanship, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, has denied working against the president’s choice of consensus candidate, describing a report to that effect as mischievous and unkind.
Speaking to journalists before departing Abuja for London, the president, who told his party members not to forget how a relatively new APC beat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the polls in 2015, reiterated that, “everything would be done to ensure that the party holds the national convention as scheduled.”
And in further allaying existential concerns, Buhari stated: “Well, they (APC members) should wait and see. How did we come as a party to take power from the ruling party, who had been there before us for so many years? So, we have the capacity; everything will be alright,” the president said.
Responding to a question on whether or not there would be a vacuum in government with his two-week trip to the United Kingdom, he said he was not the only person working, and that his deputy, Osinbajo, was constitutionally empowered to take charge whenever he was away.
He said: “Well, I cannot claim to be doing the work alone. The government is fully represented; the Vice President is there, constitutionally when I’m away he’s in charge. And the Secretary to the Government and then the Chief of Staff too. So, we have no problem.”
Buhari had since departed Abuja for London, the United Kingdom Kingdom, for routine medical checks that might last two weeks.
The President’s official plane, Nigeria Air Force 1, took off Sunday morning from the Presidential wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Buhari was seen off at the airport by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu; and the Director-General of Department of State Security (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi; and the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Sanusi Lemu, among other top government officials.
The president, who returned from Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, after attending a three-day international summit of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), was expected to be away for maximum of two weeks.
His Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, had last week, hinted that the routine medical check-up of the President in London would not exceed two weeks.