In the backdrop of the recent untenable calls on the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni to relinquish his chairmanship of the Committee, it is pertinent to refresh the memories of readers on the positive role the Caretaker Committee he chaired is playing for the growth and consolidation of democracy in the country.
Alhaji Mai Mala Buni has blended the talents and political sagacity of members of the Caretaker Committee to successfully revive the APC which is now revving on high turbocharger as the leading, largest and winning political party in Nigeria.
It is public knowledge that the All Progressives Congress ( APC), the political party that is barely eight years old, was managing triple issues: size (it grew too fast), success (it won two national elections twice in a row) and an internal turbulence (caused by many factors) that necessitated the change of its leadership.
The basic assignments of the Committee have been discharged successfully and beyond expectations, with adds-on that speak well of the quality and character of members of the Committee who restored oneness and installed mechanisms that made internal harmony a permanent feature that distinguishes the APC from other political parties.
Regardless of the short-lived squabblings over the recent ward, local government and state congresses, the APC is waxing stronger nationwide. Many political pundits undeniably admit that it is the most sought-after political party in the country. This is an additional highpoint achieved by the Buni-led Committee; even the habitual bashers of the party accept the political truth that the APC has emerged stronger than they expected after the crisis that engulfed it.
A solid evidence of the rush to embrace the APC and its progressive outlook is in the more than 40 million Nigerians that registered as its partisans. There are many justifications for the mass rush into the party. The most outstanding reason is the purposeful leadership provided by President Muhammadu Buhari. The good deeds of APC progressive governors and the good performance of legislators elected under its banner are additional strong justifications.
The APC has, it must be said for record purposes, at least one member elected on its platform in more than 90 per cent of the states of the federation. It has absolute majority in more than half of the 36 in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
The success of the party since the inception of the Buni-led Caretaker Committee is a product of strategic political bridge-building and hardwork. It involved engagement to reconcile, forgive and forget and look to a future that is positive, and definitely rewarding, in the form of winning elections and the subsequent service delivery to the citizenry.
The party has cleared political bumps, settled internal disputes and extended its arms, beckoning on millions of Nigerians to join its fold and become part of its unstoppable march toward changing the development landscape of the country.
The testimonial to the success of the Caretaker Committee was vividly expressed by the topmost national leader of the APC, President Muhammadu Buhari, when the Caretaker Committee presented its report to him at the State House. He said: “with the work done by the Committee, the party has bounced back to life.“
The main highpoints of Alhaji Mai Mala Buni‘s successful reinvigoration of the APC have been listed elsewhere by this and other writers. Reiterating some of them for public record will contribute in making the history of the APC and the political history of our country comprehensive.
The Caretaker Committee led by him has conducted ward, local government and states congresses, heard and resolved subsequent appeals from aggrieved contestants, thereby preparing the party for a rancour-free elective national convention. Another achievement of the Committee was the winning for the APC family three sitting state Governors and scores of parliamentarians from other political parties.
To ensure certainty on rules and regulations in the operations, management and conduct of APC affairs, the Caretaker Committee raised a team of capable Nigerians that reviewed its constitution successfully. Under the guidance of the Mai Mala Buni-led Committee, the APC scrutinized claims of inherited debts and paid off such debts.
Prior to the constitution of the Caretaker Committee, many aggrieved members have sued the party. The Committee ended such litigations by reaching out to the aggrieved members who thankfully sheathed their swords.
The Buni-led Committee established a basis for strong internal democracy through several new clauses in the APC amended constitution, thereby making the party the most democratic of all existing political parties in the country.
The Caretaker Committee bought the party headquaters for less than N500 million and named it Buhari House, thus commendably giving the APC a permanent abode in the Federal Capital. This is poignant as one of the political parties was recently ejected from its rented office in Lagos for defaulting in paying rent to the landlord.
As other political parties lose members, the Caretaker Committee organised the revalidation of the party register and registered more members, thereby raising its membership to over 40 million as indicated earlier in this piece. The register is being digitised. All members have their photos and biometric information captured for authentication.
The Caretaker Committee chaired by Alhaji Mai Mala Buni established a Reconciliation Committee led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu which is reaching out to aggrieved members to end misunderstandings and proactively prevent crisis. This will strengthen internal democracy and unity.
Reviewing his journey of life and the accomplishments therein on his 54th birthday anniversary on November 19th, 2021, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni has every reason to thank the Almighty Allah for His blessings as we join his immediate family and the larger APC family in wishing him many happy returns in good health and prosperity.
–Salisu Na‘inna Dambatta is the APC National Dirrector of Publicity.