The crisis currently rocking the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC)hit a crescendo on Thursday as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected the nomination of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State as the Chairman of Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party.
Governor Bello, upon resumption as Chairman of CECPC of APC, transmitted a letter dated 9th March, 2022, informing INEC of the change of guard at the party’s national secretariat. Bello introduced himself in the said letter as Chairman while Professor Tahir Mamman was introduced as the acting Secretary of the party. Both Governor Bello and Professor Mamman were said to have signed the letter.
The letter served as notice to the commission, of APC’s CECPC decision to hold a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for next week Thursday, 17th March, 2022.
The Commission reportedly replied the letter on the 9th of March, 2022, saying it was not aware of any change of guard in APC. With this development, the plot to remove the Chairman of the APC, Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, may have hit a snag.
INEC’s response which was signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Rose Oriaran Anthony, was titled, “Re: Invitation to the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee”, and addressed to the National Chairman, APC CECPC.
The commission drew the attention of the CECPC to the fact that the letter of invitation was not signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the CECPC, Buni and Senator John Akpanudoedehe, respectively. It also said that the letter was contrary to the provision of Article 1.1.3 of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).
POLITICS NIGERIA understands that the document remains strange as there was no time the Commission was invited to observe or monitor any meeting where the changes took place.
A legal expert, who pleaded anonymity, told this newspaper that the recognising the NEC meeting is tantamount to violating the constitution.
“Section 82(2-3) of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) makes it mandatory for all registered political parties in Nigeria to involve INEC in any meeting, congress or convention where elections or decisions to nominate executives or governing bodies of the party shall be taken.”
“The same section also provided that, in a case of replacement of any vacant position in the party, INEC must be fully involved too”.
“The Commission was not invited to any meeting or Congress where Mai Buni was removed as Chairman, and as such, could not deal with what was not legally constituted.”