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Hot race for APC National Secretary as Buni becomes Yobe governor – elect

Following the emergence of Mai Mala Buni as Governor-elect of Yobe State after the March 9, 2019 governorship election, the seat of National Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) became vacant.

There are indications that the race for the position of National Secretary may divide the stakeholders from the North East geo-political zone who, Daily Trust Saturday gathered, had already been told to put forward a consensus candidate.

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By tradition, the person to replace and complete the tenure of the outgoing National Secretary, Buni, should come from his home state of Yobe.

But reliable party sources said the scenario might not be the same this time around as there had been an agreement during last year’s national convention on the new occupant. There was strong anticipation that Buni would vacate the office as soon as he gets the APC gubernatorial ticket and wins the election, a plan that worked as envisaged.

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But this understanding seems to be under serious threat as the Yobe State chapter of the APC has shown readiness to produce another replacement for the governor-elect.

The State Secretary of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Bakabe, in an interview with our correspondent in Yobe, said the state is not only interested in the seat of National Secretary but also has competent personalities who have shown interest to fill the vacant position.

“We have all it takes to occupy that seat; we have a lot of experienced and intelligent party administrators who are interested in the position. So, definitely, one of our people would be sponsored to occupy that seat again.”

On whether the state still has a chance to occupy the position, he said “Going by the fact that he (Buni) was able to leave an indelible mark, we feel it’s proper for one of us to go and continue with the good job. Secondly, he only spent a year or less in his second term. So, we have to complete that term because it’s Yobe State’s quota.”

The current tussle for Senate Presidency has, however, thrown up another challenge as some stakeholders believe that the state cannot hold both the positions of Senate President, which has been micro-zoned, and that of National Secretary at the same time.

When asked whether Yobe might surrender the position of National Secretary to Borno for Senate President because of the fierce contest, the state party scribe expressed the commitment of the state to occupy the two positions.

Bakabe appealed to stakeholders in Borno to support Yobe State to get the two seats.

“We want both of them because Borno has occupied a lot of seats at the federal level. In Yobe, we consider whoever occupies that seat from Borno as our own because we were carved out of Borno State.

“I see no reason why they cannot concede for us to produce the Senate President and national secretary of the party at the same time. In this government, they have Chief of Army Staff, National Security Adviser, Chief of staff to Mr. President, EFCC boss, and many others. We in Yobe have not complained because we considered them as our brothers.

“So, I think we need both positions and I believe they would concede to that. Ali Ndume would soon concede because even the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has expressed his solidarity and support for Ahmed Lawan’s ambition.

“I will like to call on Borno people to rally around Senator Ahmed Lawan for Senate President because he is an experienced, committed and intelligent person. He has all it takes to hold that position; he is an orator and quite disciplined. That is why even the president and the party endorsed him, a gesture which I think other senators should consider and vote him,” he also said.

He, however, expressed readiness of the state chapter of the party to back the decision of the APC national leadership on the occupant of the position of National Secretary, saying “We are very disciplined and organized; whoever the leadership of the party endorses, all of us would support him.”

Daily Trust Saturday gathered long before this present battle for the Senate presidency that the decision to take the position of National Secretary from Yobe State had already been taken.

Sources said both President Muhammadu Buhari and the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have interest in the position of National Secretary.

But Tinubu, who was said to have expressed support for Alhaji Kashim Imam during the race for the position in June 2018, might have agreed to back the preferred candidate of President Buhari who hails from Borno.

Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the presidency might have zeroed in on Architect Waziri Bulama of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) who also bought forms to contest the position with Buni, Alhaji Kashim Imam, Barr. Mohammed Bello, and Abdulrahman Terab at the June 23, 2018 national convention.

Arc. Bulama, the Deputy Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, who hails from Borno State, was one of the aspirants who contested the position of National Secretary last year before he was prevailed upon to step down.

However, another reliable party source said Alhaji Imam as well as a former interim National Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Tijani Musa Tumsah, who is also a member of the APC’s Board of Trustees (BoT), are also interested in the position of National Secretary.

 

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