By Mamman Mohammed
“We shall work to reposition the All Progressives Congress to remain Nigeria’s leading party and Africa’s largest political party that will stay in office beyond two, three or even four terms of office”– Hon. Mai Mala Buni. Yobe state Governor and Chairman APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
He is a man of few words and when he talks, he carefully selects his words, measured and calculated. He addresses an individual or group with humility and listens attentively to make you feel at home, giving you all the attention you deserve. His power to tolerate and accomodate, even in the face of provocation makes him uniquely different.One year after taking over a dying APC, Governor Buni provided examplary leadership to the extraordinary caretaker committee to rescue the sinking party which has now bounced back to life as President Muhammadu Buhari said with pride when receiving the committee’s report on Friday 25th June 2021.President Buhari said “with the work done by the committee the party has bounced back to life, 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 presented a picture of selfishness and division.’’President Buhari’s position corroborated that of the Progressive Governors Forum who had earlier passed a vote of confidence on the Buni led Caretaker/Extraordinary convention Planning committee.Arising from a meeting in Abuja, the APC Governors passed the vote of confidence, commending Governor Buni “for providing excellent leadership to the party at the most critical period.Popularly referred to as “Limamin Sulhu” meaning, the Apostle of Reconciliation, because of his reconciliatory prowess. While some of his fellow politicians referred to him as a political rainbow that sucks away rainwater from the skies of opposition parties, others referred to him as the white ant that sucks away the sweetness from sugar of the opposition parties.
He is certainly a man with a magnetic character that attracts both friend and foe.One year into the stewardship of Buni’s administration as the chairman Caretaker/Extraordinary committee, the party recorded genuine reconciliation and welcomed back those who earlier left the party in anger, while others who went to court, willingly withdrew the litigations. Already on the count, three serving governors have left the PDP and joined the APC. First, it was Ebonyi state Governor Chief Dave Umuahi then followed by his Cross River state counterpart Prof. Ben Ayade and now the Zamfara state governor, Bello Muttawale.
There are also indications of more high-powered defections into the party. Submitting his report to President Buhari, Buni said “With your excellent leadership roles for the party, we are witnessing high powered defections including serving governors from PDP to our great party. It is also interesting that the fortune of the party in the last year has greatly improved across the country and especially, in the Southeast which has been the stronghold of the opposition.Buni noted that all issues and members were given a fair hearing, and an open-door policy was created to accommodate all those that were aggrieved, leading to the withdrawal of cases in court and peaceful settlements.“The party is now more peaceful, orderly and accommodating than what we met on the ground.” Buni said.
The Yobe State governor said the registration and revalidation of members across the country recorded more than 40 million members, and an appeal committee was also set up to hear all matters related to the process so that no member gets disenfranchised.“We have observed that youth and women constitute huge population of the voting group. We had a youth and women committee, and also people with disability,’’ he said.
Accordingly, a committee on Contact and Strategy had been set up in every state to come up with an acceptable template that would ensure transparency, credibility, and acceptability of the internal electoral processes.Buni also said a committee was constituted to review the party’s constitution to check loopholes that give room for conflict and litigations. Over 500 memoranda were received and the process had been completed and ready for submission to the Convention for ratification. At a time when APC continues to wax stronger, the opposition parties continue to suffer in focus and weak leadership. The Buni regime continues to exploit available opportunities and deplete the strength of the opposition as seen in the continuous defection of high profile politicians with thousands of their supporters, and reducing the opposition parties to paperweight who believe in making empty noise than making their parties strong.While APC has largely overcome its internal problems under the purposeful leadership of Governor Buni, the opposition parties are lacking confidence, sense of direction and ability to galvanize their members to be formidable.
With 22 states in its kitty and a population of over 40 Million members, it is obvious that the All Progressives Congress is more than ever, ready to consolidate its leadership in Nigeria’s political sphere.With the ever-growing strength of the party, it will amount to political suicide for the opposition political parties whose fortunes had continuously been reducing to run a race against the APC in the 2023 general elections.Buni said the committee had been very cautious and meticulous in making the far-reaching arrangements to achieve this great feat. He expressed the readiness of the party to conduct “credible, transparent, flawless and generally acceptable congresses and Convention for the party to produce a strong leadership that will enjoy the support, trust and confidence of all members and consolidate the party’s leadership position.”It is therefore very important for APC to support the Buni-led committee in the promotion of internal democracy to elect credible officials in the forthcoming congresses and convention to consolidate the achievements recorded by the party and its success in subsequent elections.
Mohammed is the Director-General Press and Media to Yobe state Governor
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