El-Rufai opens up on Buhari’s order on removal of Gov Buni as APC Chairman

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has said that President Muhammadu Buhari gave them an express directive to remove Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni as Chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

El-Rufai who disclosed this on a Channels Television programme, said Governors of the All Progressives Congress discovered a grand conspiracy between the lawyers of the ousted  Chairman of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni; and some fifth columnists to postpone the national convention of the party through a court injunction.

The Kaduna state Governor said 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.

He added that no fewer than 19 governors of the party and one deputy governor unanimously agreed to carry out the directive of the president, adding that the remaining three governors are the ones dishing out “fake news” that Buni has not been removed.

El-Rufai said, “The president held a meeting with us (APC governors), and gave us a clear directive and responsibilities and went into his waiting chopper at the airport. The president in his wisdom knew that we have the capacity.

“It is just that some of us decided to take the back seat and allow things to even get to this point because we believe that once we were elected, we should focus on governance, and leave the party administration to those who are better at it.

“But clearly, it got to a point that something was going to go wrong. The party was being placed at great risk, and we had to do something.

“I’m happy that the caretaker committee headed by Abubakar Sani Bello has issued a notice for an emergency National Executive Committee meeting.

“The president will join us virtually. Of course, His Excellency, the vice president, all the governors and all the state chairmen of the party will converge on the party headquarters, and we will take certain decisions that will lay a very solid foundation for the convention taking place March 26.

“We got to know of a court order last year. It was obtained in November. A member of the party went to court to say there must not be a convention until his case against the party is disposed of which can take months or years and the lawyers of Buni went to court and agreed with the person and nobody knew about this order.

“It was a hidden nuclear weapon to destroy the convention which further made us believe that there are fifth columnists in the party that want to bring this party down because if we don’t have (convention) and we go ahead with the primaries we might likely have our candidates lose all their seats as the case in Zamfara.

“We reported to the President that no action had been taken on the order. He said the Niger state governor must take over on Monday and we should use whatever legal means necessary to make sure that the convention is delivered.

“Bello has the President’s full backing and the backing of at least 19 of the 23 progressive governors and deputy governors. There are some governors not fully on board and are the ones planting fake stories. Since Monday he took over, we have substantial progress.” 

The Kaduna state Governor also noted that the President had signed off on some recommendations including the issue of zoning but the Secretary of the caretaker committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, refused to take instructions from Governor Bello who is acting chairman.

El-Rufai also said Akpanudoedehe who has continued to issue statements insisting that Buni remains the chairman, would be dealt with when the time is right. He further stated that most APC governors had relocated to Abuja and would continue to work round the clock to ensure that the convention holds on March 26.

He said, “I can assure you that even when he (Buni) returns to the country, he will handle no position. The National Secretary, I believe, the CECPC has taken action against him already. The CECPC has taken a decision on him. The CECPC will explain this decision in due time.”

Governor El-Rufai also said that the APC is still the best choice for Nigerians ahead of the 2023 election and that the ruling party will win the presidential election in 2023.  

“I think Nigerians expect much more than we have done but if Nigerians reflect deeply and compare with the other party, we are still a better choice.”

“I believe that in 2023, the APC is going to win the presidential election as well as  the majority of the governorship elections.”