The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is heading for another round of crisis as power blocs in the party are prepped for a fight over alleged subterranean plots to extend the tenure of the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
The caretaker committee, chaired by Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, was set up in June, after the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), led by a former Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, with a six-month mandate to reform the party and conduct a national convention to birth a new leadership.
However, about seven weeks to the end of its tenure, the caretaker committee is far from achieving the task, triggering speculations that it is plotting to seek approval from the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party for the elongation of its tenure beyond December.
But in a swift reaction, Buni described the allegation of planned tenure elongation as false, saying that the committee comprises three governors who are not seeking for new jobs.
The committee also yesterday secured the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari to commence fresh registration of new party members.
The APC NEC, presided over by Buhari, had dissolved the NWC and set up the caretaker committee to arrest a power tussle caused by the suspension of Oshiomhole.
But tension started building up some weeks back, when powerful forces within the party accused the caretaker committee of an attempt to elongate its tenure. And as if confirming the fears of these forces, the committee recently started nationwide membership registration expected to drag till next year, an action some leaders of the party described as ‘’questionable strategy’’ for tenure elongation.
A member of the caretaker committee told newsmen in Abuja yesterday that Buni and his members may have succumbed to pressure and now planning the party’s NEC before the end of December in order to seek for extension of their tenure to enable them to finish their task, especially the membership registration.
However, different sources revealed that Buni-led group within the party will meet strong resistance at the NEC meeting over their plot.
‘’It is either we push for total dissolution of the national caretaker committee or one-month timetable will be designed – within which a national convention will be organised for us to elect new members of the National Working Committee of the party.
‘’Buni and his cronies have proved to us that they have a different agenda outside the assignment that was given to the committee a few months ago. Many of our leaders and members no longer have confidence in Buni-led committee,’’ the member of the committee said.
The source added that Buni was until recently behaving like a sole administrator of APC until it became clear to him that he will not go far with his dictatorial tendencies.
Also, another source within the party, suspected to be loyal to the National Leader of APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, and some APC governors, said yesterday that the committee had outlived its usefulness and should go after its tenure by December.
The spokesperson for Concerned APC Members, a pressure group in the party, Mr. Abdullahi Dauda, said that the duration given for the committee is six months while the two major assignment given to them are to reconcile aggrieved members and organise a convention by December.
‘’There is nobody, again, I repeat it, nobody has the power or mandate to extend their tenure. Even the mandate given to them was a violation of Article 17(4) of our party’s constitution.
‘’There is no way Mai Mala Buni should be the chairman because he is already the governor of Yobe State. But we respect Mr. President who appointed the 13-man committee,’’ Dauda stated.
Also, former local government chairmen on the platform of the APC asked the party members to resist the tenure elongation bid of the committee.