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How Gov. BUNI Got Pres. BUHARI Angry

Many Nigerians were thrown into confusion last Monday when the news of the replacement of Yobe State governor, Mail Mala Buni surfaced online. He was replaced by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, who is also a member of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), was on Sunday night, appointed to steer the affairs of the ruling party.

It was rumoured that the erstwhile APC Chairman, Governor Buni was working against the interest of President Buhari with the backing of three other governors namely Governor or Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State. They are allegedly against the much-awaited national convention. It was also alleged that Governor Buni had conceived a plot to serve the APC a court injunction two days to the convention and thereby stop the convention from holding at the scheduled date and time. According to InfoOnlineNews' source, the court injunction was the main weapon used by the aggrieved APC Governors to force President Buhari’s approval to kick Governor Buni out of office.

Buhari also ordered that there should be a rejig of the committee to ensure that there are no more dissidents that may not share the same goal with the party. Before now, Governor, Buni was seen as an all-powerful governor who has the ears of President Buhari at all times. He is so close to the President that some of his colleagues usually route some of the requests to the president through him. Some governors believe Governor Buni prefers to do things unilaterally and once he informs the president, he doesn’t see any other person to be relevant enough to be briefed.

Amidst applause and relief of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s reported excesses, Governor Buni and 11 other members of the CECPC were ushered into office in June 2020, after the controversial removal of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) from office. He instantly became President Buhari’s favourite loyalist and he enjoys free entry and movement with the cabal within the Aso Rock. When he barks some key member of the party jumps. Recall that his leadership is originally meant to last for six months, but has dragged for a year and two months with different excuses and twists in party activities.

At the point of his appointment, the Yobe governor, who was a former national secretary of the APC, was tasked to organise a national convention to elect a new set of NWC officers and unified party members, a feat many party members believe he has not significantly achieved.

It was reported that Governor Buni’s elongated “tenure” has, however, earned the party three additional governors and more lawmakers at both the state and National Assemblies. Some members of the APC had alleged that the Yobe Governor had been using his position to make some negotiations with interested parties for the vice-presidential ticket in the 2023 election. Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State in his recent interview with Channels TV, insight into how the ruling party carried out the palace coup that removed Governor Buni,

 Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Wednesday, El-Rufai said the governors of the All Progressives Congress discovered a grand conspiracy between the lawyers of Buni and some people he described as fifth columnists to postpone the national convention of the party through a court injunction. According to El-Rufai, when the governors discovered the move against the convention, they quickly ran to inform President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday who ordered the immediate removal of Buni. According to the Kaduna State Governor, the plan was to postpone the convention till May which coincides with the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission for all political parties to conduct their presidential primaries.

President Buhari received the news of Governor Buni’s self-vested interest as against the grand plan of the party. He felt disappointed at the serial cases of deliberate efforts by Buni and his associates to block the APC convention from holding based on alleged personal ambitions.

He also felt betrayed by one of his very close loyalists and demanded that he should be arrested. The governors who came to deliberate the matter with Mr President reminded him of the section 308 immunity clause that may not allow for his arrest as a serving governor, thus his removal as the serving Caretaker Chairman.

Between November 2021 and January 2022, the APC convention has been postponed three times because of governor Buni’s failure to initiate the processes required, such as booking the venue for the convention and serving the statutory three weeks’ notice to INEC.

Before this crisis, Governor Buni was one of the 3 Governors from the North, whom President Muhammadu Buhari has a soft spot for. The other two include Gov. Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) who is the Chairman of the Progressive Governor’s Forum and Gov. Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State.

President Muhammadu Buhari once commended Gov Buni for reviving, energizing and repositioning the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its national convention and future elections.

He was quoted to have said: “I have listened with great interest the remarkable job you have done so far,” “We are all witnesses to the crisis that engulfed the party leading to litigations and presenting a picture of selfishness and division.”

The President said the party structure was disturbed by the conflicts that preceded and followed various elections, noting that the secretariat has been witnessing a beehive of peaceful activities after the reconciliation.

-Joseph Seun Emmanuel

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