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Will the centre hold in Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, as fresh details emerge on internal wrangling

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News of a leadership tussle in Nigeria’s ruling political party – All Progressive Congress (APC) broke yesterday as Niger state governor, Abubakar Bello, hinted he is taking over as the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee party.

The development poses questions for keen observers as the party crisis takes a new twist. All Progressive Congress (APC) has been unable to host her party convention in a while.

One party observer, Salihu Moh. Lukman said “between November 2021 and January 2022, the APC Convention has been postponed three times because of deliberate refusal to initiate most the processes required, such as booking the venue for the Convention and serving the statutory three weeks’ notice to INEC”

There have been other serious allegations against the leadership of His Governor Mai Mala, which include the discovery that his group, since November 2022, had obtained a Court injunction against the Convention and are waiting until three or two days to the Convention before serving it on the party to succeed in blocking the March 26 APC Convention from holding. 

Some news platforms reported yesterday that Bello’s move to take over the Caretaker Committee of the party is strongly backed by President Muhamadu Buhari who want Buni sacked because of many allegations of sharp practices as APC CECPC Chairman and replaced him with His Excellency Abubakar Sani Bello as Sole Administrator. 

A source in the party revealed that “the plot is that His Excellency Mai Mala wants to continue to run the affairs of the party and conduct the party’s primary where candidates for 2023 elections would emerge”. 

“Based on that there are specific allegations of His Excellency Mai Mala striking some deals with some Presidential aspirants to ensure their emergence as the Presidential Candidate of APC for the 2023 elections. 

“Some of the allegations suggest extorting money from these aspirants, including someone who is yet to join the party. It is being alleged that campaign offices for the aspirant are already being opened even before such a person joined the party” 

“All these highlight problems of trust, which the leadership of His Excellency Mai Mala represented. A good confirmation of why it will be difficult for party leaders and members to continue to invest any trust on the His Excellency Mai Mala leadership of the Caretaker Committee is the attempt to constitute another zoning Committee after there is decision between President Buhari and Progressive Governors on zoning, based on which stakeholders of the party at zonal levels are to finalise negotiations on positions to go states”. 

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Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, accuses DRC of supporting rebels fighting his government

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President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has accused the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), of giving arms and logistic support to rebels fighting his government after the DRC has continued to blame Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels who have been causing mayhem in the mineral rich eastern Congo.

In a televised address on Monday, Kagame said his country is seriously concerned by the support the DRC has been giving to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Congo-based rebel group that has been opposed to his government.

The two eastern African neighbours have been locked in an acrimonious relations with accusations and counter accusations flowing from both ends after the M23 group captured the Congolese town of Bunagana at the Uganda border with Kinshasa accusing the Rwandan troops of arming the militia.

Rwanda on it’s part, has vehemently denied supporting M23, and is now throwing its own accusation on DRC of supporting the rebels troubling its country.

While making the allegations, Kagame said Congo is actively arming the FDLR whose fighters are linked to the 2019 killing of hundreds of people in the northern Rwandan town of Kinigi.

“It’s on record and with facts that Congo is supporting FDLR, and unfortunately with the knowledge of MONUSCO,” Kagame said, fingering the U.N. peacekeepers who have been on ground to battle the rebels.

“They have recently been behaving like spoilt children. They cause trouble and then start crying foul,” Kagame said.

While the two countries have been grappling with the menace of rebels, leaders of the regional bloc under the East African Community have been working toward deploying a peacekeeping force in eastern Congo’s restive provinces, but both DRC President, Felix Tshisekedi, has kicked against the inclusion of Rwandan troops in the regional peacekeeping force.

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Tunisia President Saied dares opposition, defends new constitution despite criticism

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Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has defended his proposed new constitution despite widespread criticism and protest by opposition figures, saying the the constitution when passed, would not restore authoritarian rule.

Most political parties and civil society groups have continued to oppose the constitution saying it was drawn up unilaterally by Saied’s allies whom he handpicked to do his bidding.

The critics have also questioned the legitimacy of the constitution with a referendum set for July 25 which they say would give Tunisians less than four weeks to decide on it with no minimum rate of participation for it to pass.

The head of the committee that prepared the first draft the constitution, Sadok Belaid, also criticised the version which Saied rewrote, saying the president’s version was “dangerous and paves the way for a disgraceful dictatorial regime.”

But while hitting back at the opposition and the wave of criticism that followed the publication of the draft in the Tunisian National Gazzete, Saied on Tuesday, urged the people to support it in the referendum to adopt the constitution.

In a letter addressed to Tunisian and published by state, Saied assured that fears by those against the new constitution are misplaced as there was no danger to Tunisians’ rights and freedoms.

“Everyone knows what Tunisia has suffered for decades, especially the last decade. They emptied state coffers. The poor got poorer, the corrupt got richer,” Said narrated, while accusing critics of the constitution of “slanders, far from reality”.

Saied entered the bad books of most opposition figures in the North African country when he ousted the elected parliament and set out to rule by decree which many had termed a coup.

He further angered many by dissolving the electoral commission and named a new body with himself as the head. Not done, Saied also sacked 57 judges last month, accusing them of supporting Islamists.

But his supporters say he is “standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation.”

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