The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected a letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) requiring the party to give the Commission a 21-day notice ahead of its March 26 national convention.
INEC earlier rejected the nomination of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State as the Chairman of Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party.
A source in the party on Friday told SaharaReporters that the “APC has rejected the letter from INEC saying it requires 21-day notice for our national convention, saying it is unacceptable”.
On Monday, Abubakar Sani Bello, governor of Niger, took over as the APC caretaker committee acting chairman, replacing Mai Mala Buni who was appointed to the position in June 2020.
Bello said he was directed by the President, Muhammadu Buhari to take over from Buni.
Over the past weeks, there have been internal wranglings in the party over the arrangements for its national convention.
Buni and John Akpanudoedehe, the ousted national secretary of the APC caretaker committee, were accused by some governors of taking steps to scuttle the party’s national convention scheduled for March 26.
SaharaReporters learnt that Bello, upon resumption as acting chairman of CECPC of APC, transmitted a letter dated March 9, 2022, informing INEC of the change of guard at the party's national secretariat.
Bello introduced himself in the letter, obtained by SaharaReporters, as chairman while one Professor Tahir Mamman was introduced as the acting secretary of the party.
Both Governor Bello and Professor Mamman signed the letter.
The letter served as notice to the commission of APC's CECPC decision to hold a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting next Thursday, March 17, 2022.
But, in a swift reaction, the Commission was said to have replied to the letter on Wednesday, 9th March 2022, saying it was not aware of any change of guard in the APC, and would not honour it, since it was not signed by the known CECPC Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni and Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe.
The electoral body further maintained that the commission was not invited to any meeting or congress where Buni was removed as chairman, and as such, could not deal with what was not legally constituted.
The letter was signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Omoa Oriaran-Anthony.
"The Commission draws your attention to the fact that the notice for the meeting was not signed by the National Chairman (Buni) and National Secretary (Akpanudoedehe) of the CECPC, contrary to the provision of the Article 1.1.3 of the Commission's Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).”
INEC also pointed out to the APC a provision in Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which “requires 'at least 21 days' notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of 'merger' and electing members of executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any elective offices," a copy of the letter obtained by SaharaReporters reads.