The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected the nomination of Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello as the Chairman of Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party.
According to an insider source, Governor Bello, upon resumption as Chairman of CECPC of APC, transmitted a letter dated 8th March 2022, informing INEC of the change of guard at the party’s national secretariat.
Bello introduced himself in the said letter as acting Chairman while Professor Tahir Mamman was introduced as the acting Secretary of the party.
Both Governor Bello and Professor Mamman were said to have signed the letter.
The source also added that the letter served as notice to the commission, of APC’s CECPC decision to hold a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for next week Thursday, 17th March, 2022.
But, in a swift reaction, the Commission replied to the letter on Wednesday, 9th March 2022, saying it was not aware of any change of guard in 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 letter was signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Omoa Oriaran-Anthony.
Governor Bello’s letter, according to a source at INEC, remains strange as there was no time the Commission was invited to observe or monitor any meeting where the changes took place, hence, the letter was not honoured.
“Section 82 (2-3) of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) makes it mandatory for all registered political parties in Nigeria to involve INEC in any meeting, congress or convention where elections or decisions to nominate executives or governing bodies of the party shall be taken.
“The same section also provided that, in a case of replacement of any vacant position in the party, INEC must be fully involved too,” the source added.
The source 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 APC will be heading for an illegal NEC meeting by next week by the provision of the law. It is the duty of the Commission to properly guide the party, just as it will do to any of the opposition parties,” the source further stressed.