XRAYING HE, GOVERNOR BUNI’S (CENCPC)

By: Edet Eyo Bassey

A couple of months ago, the APC Caretaker/Extra Ordinary National Convention Committee (CENCPC) was born as a child of necessity. As we look back in retrospect, we have many reasons to give each other a pat on the back and thank Mr. President and leader of our great Party for the master stroke that birth HE, Governor Buni’s (CENCPC). Gone is the rancorous and “free for all” era now replaced by the calmness deserving of a ruling party with officials engaged in constructive thinking to rebuild and consolidate the gains of the party.

Let me through this medium commend and thank HE, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and his team, APC Caretaker/Extra Ordinary National Convention Committee (CENCPC) for the remarkable and progressive manner the committee has set about attaining its objectives. In a gradual and steady manner consistent with its terms of reference the Committee has set the ball rolling and already scoring successes in reconciling and wooing hitherto aggrieved members back to the party. The return of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker, House of Representative is a plus and big boost for the party in Bauchi state.

Besides Hon. Dogara, eminent members of the party across the country who left the party in anger are returning in droves. This is no doubt sequel to fresh hopes and new vistas offered by the reconciliatory effort of the Governor Buni led committee. The fresh hope of a bright future for the party has also provoked series of defections from other political parties to APC. For instance, the defection from APGA to APC by Mr. Alex Otti, a political giant from Abia State has added value and provided impetus to the quest by APC to over-run Abia state in 2023.

While contending with administrative matters, in addition to preparing the Party for participation in a series a by-election proposed by INEC, the CENCPC is equally focused on scoring high in the reconciliation of members indulged in intra-party feuds in state chapters of the party. States such as Edo, Ondo, Ogun, Imo, Zamfara, Rivers etc have endured prolonged intra-party crisis. Interestingly, the committee recently brokered a truce in Cross River state that was plagued with leadership squabble.

Oftentimes, intra-party conflicts stem from disagreements over divergent interest of Party leaders which if and when not promptly redressed results to fractionalization of the party. Party leaders of diverse description are usually responsible for such conflicts. It rare its head when influential leaders with considerable followership either insist on securing and preserving their interest but are rebuffed by opposing interests. Therein, lies the root of conflicts in most APC chapters. It is therefore pertinent that the committee focuses on leaders of the party in states embroiled in conflicts as did in Cross Rivers State.

I was exhilarating yesterday, when Governor Buni broke the news that former Governors of Rivers and Bayelsa states, HE, Rotimi Ameachi and HE, Timipre Silva, both ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been reconciled with each other after a prolonged political disagreement. One maybe puzzled at what could constitute or provoke their differences not coming from the same state. Interestingly, both are from the South-South region; a region that holds the wealth of the nation and of great interest to government. As the ruling party, APC needs the South-South states. It is important that governments and Governors of the south-south states align with the centre and work in tandem with the Mr. President for obvious reasons. But for Edo (that is yet at risk) all other south-south states are DPD controlled. This is not good enough for APC.

No doubt, the lapses or gabs that APC has suffered in the south-south maybe occasioned by irreconcilable difference of party leaders in the zone. Settling the political rift between Governors Rotimi Amaechi and Timipre Silva is a huge accomplishment for the Buni led committee. Having 2 strong APC leaders in Rivers and Bayelsa work in synergy with other leaders of the party in Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Delta states offers a glimpse of hope for APC in the south-south zone come 2023.

The committee must be commended for the successes it has recorded so far. There are indications that the committee may request for extension of time to complete its assignment. This is worth consideration by the leadership of the party because it takes diligence and patience to reconcile feuding personalities. Furthermore, on the anticipated extension of time, it is equally important to contemplate the outcome of the elections in Edo and Ondo states which the committee is necessarily expected to deal with. It is obvious such related activity will interface and possibly disrupt the delivery of the scheduled programme of the committee. It is always good to anticipate challenges than be taken unaware.

Finally, it is distressing that despite the appeal made by Mr. President and leader of the party for members to withdraw pending litigations in court, many have remained recalcitrant and obstinate. This is not only disobedient of Mr. President but inimical to the future and forward-looking posture of the party. I was alarmed when I heard in the news yesterday 24th August 2020 of a certain APC chairman in Abia state who obtained the order of an Abuja High court for substituted service on the Ag. Chairman of the Party over a pending suit. This is not only intolerable but unacceptable. It is time for the party to wield the big stick if it must move forward and unencumbered.

A couple of months ago, the APC Caretaker/Extra Ordinary National Convention Committee (CENCPC) was born as a child of necessity. As we look back in retrospect, we have many reasons to give each other a pat on the back and thank Mr. President and leader of our great Party for the master stroke that birth HE, Governor Buni’s (CENCPC). Gone is the rancorous and “free for all” era now replaced by the calmness deserving of a ruling party with officials engaged in constructive thinking to rebuild and consolidate the gains of the party.

Let me through this medium commend and thank HE, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and his team, APC Caretaker/Extra Ordinary National Convention Committee (CENCPC) for the remarkable and progressive manner the committee has set about attaining its objectives. In a gradual and steady manner consistent with its terms of reference the Committee has set the ball rolling and already scoring successes in reconciling and wooing hitherto aggrieved members back to the party. The return of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker, House of Representative is a plus and big boost for the party in Bauchi state.

Besides Hon. Dogara, eminent members of the party across the country who left the party in anger are returning in droves. This is no doubt sequel to fresh hopes and new vistas offered by the reconciliatory effort of the Governor Buni led committee. The fresh hope of a bright future for the party has also provoked series of defections from other political parties to APC. For instance, the defection from APGA to APC by Mr. Alex Otti, a political giant from Abia State has added value and provided impetus to the quest by APC to over-run Abia state in 2023.

While contending with administrative matters, in addition to preparing the Party for participation in a series a by-election proposed by INEC, the CENCPC is equally focused on scoring high in the reconciliation of members indulged in intra-party feuds in state chapters of the party. States such as Edo, Ondo, Ogun, Imo, Zamfara, Rivers etc have endured prolonged intra-party crisis. Interestingly, the committee recently brokered a truce in Cross River state that was plagued with leadership squabble.

Oftentimes, intra-party conflicts stem from disagreements over divergent interest of Party leaders which if and when not promptly redressed results to fractionalization of the party. Party leaders of diverse description are usually responsible for such conflicts. It rare its head when influential leaders with considerable followership either insist on securing and preserving their interest but are rebuffed by opposing interests. Therein, lies the root of conflicts in most APC chapters. It is therefore pertinent that the committee focuses on leaders of the party in states embroiled in conflicts as did in Cross Rivers State.

I was exhilarating yesterday, when Governor Buni broke the news that former Governors of Rivers and Bayelsa states, HE, Rotimi Ameachi and HE, Timipre Silva, both ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been reconciled with each other after a prolonged political disagreement. One maybe puzzled at what could constitute or provoke their differences not coming from the same state. Interestingly, both are from the South-South region; a region that holds the wealth of the nation and of great interest to government. As the ruling party, APC needs the South-South states. It is important that governments and Governors of the south-south states align with the centre and work in tandem with the Mr. President for obvious reasons. But for Edo (that is yet at risk) all other south-south states are DPD controlled. This is not good enough for APC.

No doubt, the lapses or gabs that APC has suffered in the south-south maybe occasioned by irreconcilable difference of party leaders in the zone. Settling the political rift between Governors Rotimi Amaechi and Timipre Silva is a huge accomplishment for the Buni led committee. Having 2 strong APC leaders in Rivers and Bayelsa work in synergy with other leaders of the party in Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Delta states offers a glimpse of hope for APC in the south-south zone come 2023.

The committee must be commended for the successes it has recorded so far. There are indications that the committee may request for extension of time to complete its assignment. This is worth consideration by the leadership of the party because it takes diligence and patience to reconcile feuding personalities. Furthermore, on the anticipated extension of time, it is equally important to contemplate the outcome of the elections in Edo and Ondo states which the committee is necessarily expected to deal with. It is obvious such related activity will interface and possibly disrupt delivery of the scheduled programme of the committee. It is always good to anticipate challenges than be taken unaware.

Finally, it is distressing that despite the appeal made by Mr. President and leader of the party for members to withdraw pending litigations in court, many have remained recalcitrant and obstinate. This is not only disobedient of Mr. President but inimical to the future and forward-looking posture of the party. I was alarmed when I heard in the news yesterday 24th August 2020 of a certain APC chairman in Abia state who obtained the order of an Abuja High court for substituted service on the Ag. Chairman of the Party over a pending suit. This is not only intolerable but unacceptable. It is time for the party to wield the big stick if it must move forward and unencumbered.

LOOKING AHEAD WITH BUNI’S APC

“It is better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back with regrets”.
. . . Anonymous

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is indeed looking ahead. This forward- looking posture of the Party is informed by the strategic and proactive decisions taken by the APC Caretaker Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CENCPC) under the Chairmanship of HE, Mai Mala Buni, Governor of Yobe State. The calculated and positive decision not to look back with regrets but rather to reposition the Party for the challenges ahead is a product of wisdom and good thinking by the Committee.

Since the constitution and inauguration of the CENCPC by President Muhammadu Buhari, I have followed with deep interest and satisfaction activities of the Caretaker Committee. No doubt, recent developments in the Party have demonstrated that composition of the CENCPC described by pundits as a child of necessity was perhaps the best thing that happened to the party following the rancour and acrimony that bedevilled erstwhile leadership of the party. I am one of the many members of the Party who share the ideals and forward-looking disposition of the CENCPC considering its strategic decisions and actions aimed at taking the Party to the next level.
In furtherance of my alignment and avowed support for the decisions and actions of the Buni led CENCPC, I published the article titled “X-raying HE, Governor Buni’s CENCPC” on 25th August 2020 wherein I expressed my thoughts and made critical suggestions on the way forward for the Party. Please see the attached link. Again, on 10th September 2020, I published another article titled “That APC Tripartite Consultative Committee: Good Thinking, Good Product”. Also see link attached.

In both articles, I commended activities of the CENCPC with respect to reconciliation of aggrieved members and wooing fresh members to the fold. I highlighted challenges of the Party and espoused in my considered opinion pertinent actions that ought to be taken to move the Party forward. I applauded the Committee for reconciling HE, Rotimi Amaechi and HE, Timipre Silva and advocated the need for the duo to work together in synergy with other leaders of the Party in the South-South geo-political zone to position APC to secure victory and possibly take control of the oil producing states come 2023.

Interestingly, action has been taken in that regard with a well-attended meeting of leaders and stakeholders from the region which held in Abuja on Tuesday, 15th December 2020. The hallmark of that parley was the inauguration of a six-man Reconciliation Committee headed by HE, Chief John Odigie Oyegun (former Governor, Edo state and former National Chairman, APC) to reconciled aggrieved members of the Party in the zone. I aligned with the speculation (then) for extension of time for the committee to do a thorough job which was granted in the recent NEC meeting. I condemned the recalcitrance or obstinacy of dissident members and called on the Party to wield the big stick against any such member to stem indiscipline and anti-party activities. Thankfully, the party has demonstrated capacity and will by the expulsion of former National Vice Chairman, South-South Ntufam Hillard Etta for disobedience and what awaits any erring member.


In the second article, I commended the initiative of the committee for conceiving and constituting APC Tripartite Consultative Committee (ATCC), the first of its kind in our clime. I up-held and applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his incisive reflections in the distorted relationship of our party organs and re-echoed Mr. President’s plea for a “harmonious checks and balances devoid of bitterness and petty rivalry”. I drew a link between the health and welfare of our political Party — APC and the performance of the government in power. I denounced the situation where the Party is left and treated as a bendable tool, abandoned, lame and helpless by the Executive. Funding of the party is critical. The Party cannot be left in grim and penury to scavenge for funds to fend for itself. The image of the state chapters are a mirror and a reflection of the ruling party. Regrettably, none APC states are gruelling under life support. It is expected that HE, Buni and has team as profound Party Administrators will cast light on the challenges of the Party and continue to inspire hope in members and the future greatness of the Party.

“That APC Tripartite Consultative Committee: Good Thinking, Good Product”.

In retrospect, one can safely conclude that every decision and action taken by the Committee foretells a Party that is looking ahead of the future. In the last six months or thereabout, various decisions and actions of the Committee are suggestive of a Party Administration that knows what the time is and where it is heading. Such a clear-cut direction was again evinced in the Party’s NEC meeting of December, 8th 2020 where critical decisions pointing to the emergence of a virile and new APC were taken. At the said meeting NEC resolved thus;
National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party approved the extension of tenure of the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee led by Mai Mala Buni, which expires on December 25th, 2020 for another six months duration, terminating on 30th June, 2021. This was with a view to allow the National Caretaker and Convention Planning Committee conclude its assignment as laid before NEC. NEC also donated its powers as enshrined in Articles 13.3 Subsection 5 and 13.3 Subsection 6 of the APC Constitution to the Caretaker and Convention Planning Committee. NEC approved granting of waivers to persons who have recently joined the party and those desirous of joining the party in the nearest future. By this, such new members will enjoy all the benefits and privileges accruable by virtue of their membership of the party. They will be eligible to contest for elections and positions in the party. That is to say, they will be qualified to contest elections without any requirement of being members for number of years or period of time.

NEC further approved the expulsion of Ntufam Hilliard Etta from the party for flaunting the directives of NEC to discontinue all litigation against the party and its members. NEC also approved the immediate dissolution of the party organs at the polling units, wards, local government, states and zonal levels as well as the non-National Working Committee component of the National Executive Committee as well as their immediate reconstitution and composition of the defunct EXCOs to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity. This directive excludes the non-NWC members of NEC. NEC approved the conduct of fresh membership registration and revalidation exercise and proposed amendment of the Party constitution for effective service delivery and repositioning of the party.

A critical examination of the decisions taken by NEC elicits a strategic and calculated attempt to cure inherent and manifest deficiencies, structural and Administrative lapses that has rendered the Party dysfunctional and incapable of meeting the expectations of its lawful adherents. Let’s take the structural deficiency of the Party for instance, it is not a secret that the 2014 National Convention was hurriedly put together barely a couple of months after the birth/registration of the Party. It is obvious that many things were overlooked; contentious and disputed convention delegates list in many states were tolerated because the Party was fixated on participating in the 2015 general elections. After that came, HE, Adams Oshiomhole’s membership registration and revalidation exercise of 2018. That exercise ended largely in a fiasco as I doubt if any ward Chairman across the country can produce a comprehensive and authentic list of his ward members. I stand to be corrected please.

The proposed membership registration and revalidation exercise set to begin from the second week of January 2021 shall lay a solid foundation for Party membership, determine its numerical strength according to zones, states, LG chapters, wards and of course, gender. This will make for effective planning and management of the Party. Membership registration and revalidation will lay the foundation for re-organizing our leadership from ward to local government, states and National levels. Above all else, it will underscore the bottom to top approach of Party administration as envisaged by the CTC. Most importantly, duly authenticated subscription to Party membership is a tacit acceptance and willingness of the member to abide by the tenets and ethos of the Party. In sharing this ideology and voluntarily joining the Party for that reason, members are expected to faithfully submit themselves to the Constitutional vehicle (including disciplinary measures) by which this ideology is promoted to the larger public.

Dissolution of the Party structure across board is a wise decision and a necessary development. The party has largely been plagued with intra-party squabbles most of which have remained unresolved. The proposed National convention of June, 2021 for the election of new Party officers seems in my opinion, the best way to go. According to President Buhari, “… the decision by the Party leadership to dissolve the NEC was well conceived as Party members are now enjoying a new atmosphere of peace”. Speaking further, Buhari said “I believe that as leaders, our shared vision is to ensure that we are able to produce leaders that will not inherit any of the problems that led to the decision to dissolve our National Working Committee”.

In a recent media parley in Abuja, HE, Mai Mala Buni represented by the National Secretary of the Party, Senator John James Udoedehe (Ph.D) told Journalists that his vision is “to build a Party that no strong individual will be in control of its structure and Party organs”. He said the crisis that rocked the State chapters and NEC of the Party was due to lack of internal democracy which gave room to godfathers to hijack Party structures and corner Party tickets. He said while the scheduled membership registration and revalidation exercise were aimed at giving the Party back to the people, the reconciliation effort under his leadership was to give aggrieved Party Chieftains a sense of belonging. He said the CTC was more interested in seeking solutions to identified problems for which it has initiated fundamental interventions to remedy any such intra-Party conflicts.

In the words of Kara Goucher, “Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps on the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead”.

I am looking ahead with HE, Mai Mala Buni and his dedicated 13 member Care Taker Committee as they diligently pilot the affairs of our great Party. No doubt, we shall surely get there.

Edet Eyo Bassey (Esq) is a former State Publicity Secretary, APC Akwa Ibom chapter. He writes from Uyo

Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State