*Alleged tenure elongation plot untrue, says ruling party
*Ojudu commends party for adopting direct primary for Ekiti 2022
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The National Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, yesterday debunked speculations that he was scheming to contest for the chairmanship position of the party at the National Convention slated for February 26.
The ruling party, through the Secretary of the Buni-led committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, has also described the speculations that the Yobe State governor was plotting to remain in office as the national chairman of the APC as untrue.
Buni’s clarification came as the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, has commended the Buni-led CECPC for embracing direct primary for Ekiti State governorship election, saying this would help in dousing the tension and return calmness after the internal poll.
There were strong speculations that Buni was scheming to contest the chairmanship position of the party, following an alleged plot to throw the position open to all geopolitical zones in the North.
But Buni’s Director-General, Press and Media Affairs, Mr Mamman Muhammed, said in a statement yesterday that the governor had not discussed with anyone that he would contest any position.
He stated: “Governor Buni is not scheming for any position. As you know, he is a serving governor, the Executive Governor of Yobe State and comfortably piloting the affairs of the state.
“He is just the chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party. As you said, there are so many rumours.
“But l want to assure you that Governor Buni has not discussed with anyone that he is contesting any position.
“He has neither confided in nor asked someone to work for him for the aspiration of any office. That he is scheming or lobbying or aspiring for the party’s office is false, unfounded and baseless.”
Also, the Secretary of the committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe described the report as untrue.
He said the media is trying to create content that has been misleading Nigeria and keep saying things that are not true.
Akpanudoedehe said: “You wanted a convention; we have set a date for our convention; you are coming with another story. That I simply say that it is not true.”
Meanwhile, the Presidential Adviser on Political Matters, Ojudu, has saluted the national secretariat of the ruling party for embracing direct primary for Ekiti governorship primary, saying this will help in dousing the tension and return calmness after the internal poll.
He, however, advised the Buni-led National Caretaker executive of the APC to conduct a free, fair and credible primary that can produce a formidable candidate for the June 18 governorship election in the state.
The presidential aide said this in Ado Ekiti yesterday during an interaction with journalists on the January 27 APC primary to elect its flagbearer.
He averred that the only way the APC can be proud of itself as a ruling party and win the June 18 election with ease, is to conduct a credible primary that is devoid of violence, venom and bloodshed.
“I want to appeal to party men to be civil and peaceful. The only glory we can record in our party is to be peaceful and for our leaders from Abuja to conduct a primary we can all be proud of. Don’t let us be violent just because of the internal election.
“Primary of any party should be a day of celebration of democracy and not a day of bloodshed. We should be able to do this election without rancour. I am of that belief that politicians, who want to use money to hire thugs to win the election should rather use such money for the development of our unemployed youth.
“Our party officials should be fair and transparent. They should also be efficient with the process.
“I commend Governor Buni-led executive for allowing direct primary for this election, so that every member of the party, either rich or poor, high or low can participate. This will enable us to produce a candidate that can face the candidates of other parties.
“If by any means we impose someone or throw up someone who used money to induce the people, or relying on federal might, we will have a candidate that cannot win or that wouldn’t be acceptable to the party people.
“Let me clarify that this government of President Buhari doesn’t believe in using federal might to win elections, you have to go through the people to get votes.”
Ojudu warned party members to resist vote buying temptation for APC to have a credible and formidable candidate that will be acceptable to all.
“The aspirants shouldn’t bring thugs to bash and beat the people. Whoever is causing trouble should be exposed, because Ekiti must be in peace. All of us in APC must be able to come together and work to win in June. This is one election that we can’t afford to lose”.
The presidential aide told the security agencies to maintain neutrality and owe their allegiance to the constitution of the party, rather than individuals.
On the aspirant he is backing in APC for the primary, Ojudu said: “For now, I am not in support of anybody. I want to remain neutral so that I will be able to call all aspirants together and settle their differences after the primary.
“Losing an election is hurting, so we need an arbiter to be able to hold the party together and that is the role I intend to play.
“President Buhari lost election three times. Nobody thought he would ever be president again, but when the time God assigned to him came, he won and it was glorious for him. There is no point in bringing guns to win elections.”