Dozens of armed police officers Wednesday positioned themselves in strategic areas at the national secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja following a tip-off of a possible protest by aggrieved members against the party’s national leadership.
The police officers arrived at the secretariat located on Blantyre Street in the Wuse 2 district of Abuja early morning in about six vehicles and positioned themselves in the strategic areas.
They were later joined by some operatives of the State Security Service (SSS).
It was not clear which group was planning the protest allegedly to express their dissatisfaction with the just concluded congresses in some states, including Zamfara.
No protest was eventually held on Wednesday.
However, the interim national secretary of the party, John Akpanudoedehe, explained to journalists later that the high presence of police officers in the premises was meant to protect the secretariat and workers after receiving security intelligence.
“It’s a routine thing. The police liaise with the FCT Minister, the IG and other people if they have any information. Not only here, if you are coming to Abuja, going to the airport, we have the duty to protect the people who work here.
“We read security reports and I’m sure you are fully aware we have every security agency in our secretariat. We are only acting on security reports, there is no cause for alarm,” he said.
In March 2020, the police sealed off the secretariat following the conflicting rulings by two courts over the status of the then national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Meanwhile, the APC said it would no longer join issues with a chieftain of the party in Zamfara State, Kabiru Marafa, who threatened to challenge the legitimacy of the caretaker committee.
Mr Marafa, a former senator from Zamfara, on Sunday, criticised the leadership of the party following the rescheduled ward congresses in Zamfara over the weekend.
Dissatisfied with Mr Buni’s management of the party affairs in interim capacity, Mr Marafa threatened to damn all consequences and challenge the former’s legitimacy to lead the party while serving as the executive governor, a position he reiterated on Wednesday.
“The committee is illegal and alien to the constitution of the party. We are building everything on nothing. Rather than the expulsion threat, the committee or the chairman should respond to issues I raised.
“What does our party constitution say that renders Buni’s committee null and void? Section 17 (4) of the constitution of our beloved party, says ‘no officer in any organ of the party shall hold executive position in government concurrently’. Article 20 states the only way the leadership of the party can evolve.
“Section 13.3(iv) which was relied upon to create the illegal body called CECPC talked about the power of NEC to create committees,” Mr Marafa said in a statement Wednesday following the reaction of both Mr Buni’s aide and the APC interim national secretary on behalf of the party.
While Mamman Mohammed, the spokesperson to the Yobe governor, on Sunday, likened Mr Marafa’s criticism to an “empty ranting of an ant,” Mr Akpanudoedehe, on Monday, issued a statement warning the former senator against such utterances or risk suspension or expulsion.
On Wednesday, however, Mr Akpanudoedehe said he would no longer reply Mr Marafa.
“We are not abusive to any member of our party, we are too mature to go into personal response. Our interest is in the general public and then the party. We are not going to go back and forth with anybody. Any information that is given out, we are duty bound to respond by stating the fact as it is,” Mr Akpanudodehe told journalists on phone, shortly before journalists noticed heavy security presence at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
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