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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”. 

Politics

African leaders seek change in fight against terrorism at Nigerian summit   

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At a security summit in Nigeria, African leaders have called for a revamp of institutions that fight violent extremism on the continent.

The leaders also began to push to set up a standing military force and give the government more power over efforts to keep the peace.

Attacks on citizens and the military have been happening all the time in Africa, including in the Sahel, Somalia, and Mozambique, by groups with ties to Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo said that coastal states like Togo were facing more threats, even though people were being attacked the most in the Sahel.

“I say this with prudence and regret, but I think the institutions that have been in place for several decades are no longer able to respond to the security situation that we face,” said Gnassingbe.

Moussa Faki, chairman of the African Union Commission, reported that between 2017 and 2021, there were four attacks and 18 deaths a day in Africa. Last year, there were eight attacks and 44 deaths a day.

The AU chief added that last year 7,000 citizens and 4,000 military members were killed stressing that the situation was being used in some countries as a reason for military coups. The Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, said that half of all terrorist deaths happened in the Sahel.

Until a military coup in July that called for France to leave, Niger was the West’s last major ally in the central Sahel area south of the Sahara Desert. In July, France pulled out 1,500 troops from Niger.

Faki said that Africa needed more money to help stop the spread of terrorism. Bola Tinubu, the president of Nigeria, said that more needed to be done to stop the spread of small guns and weapons. He also called for the creation of a regional standby force whose job it would be to fight terrorism.

“I am mindful of the funding, legal and logistical complexities that face the proper establishment of such a force. Such a force can stand as a strong deterrent to large scale and protracted terrorist operations and the capture, occupation or disruption of strategic land and resources,” Tinubu said.

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Togo’s civil society, opposition plan mass protests following constitutional review

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Some of Togo’s opposition parties and civil society groups have called for mass protests again on Saturday following lawmakers’ approved changes to the country’s constitution a week ago.

The legislation is widely believed to enhance the continued stay of President Faure Gnassingbe in power after 19-year rule. The opposition group Dynamique Pour la Majorité du Peuple (DMP) and other signatories said in a statement that the changes to presidential term limits and how presidents are chosen were just a political move to let Gnassingbe stay in office forever.

“What happened at the National Assembly yesterday is a coup d’etat,” they said in the statement that reiterated calls for the population to mobilise against the changes.

“Large-scale action will be organised over the next few days to say ‘no’ to this constitution,” they said. In Friday’s vote, lawmakers unanimously approved an amended charter under which the president will no longer be elected by universal suffrage, but by members of parliament.

The amendments also set up a parliamentary system of government and cut presidential terms from five years to four years, with a maximum of two terms. Since the changes don’t consider time already spent in office, Gnassingbe could stay in power until 2033 if he is re-elected in 2025. This is very likely because his party controls the parliament in Togo, where his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, took power in a coup in 1967.

The most valuable company in Abu Dhabi has made an offer of more than $1 billion to buy a 51% stake in Vedanta Resources’ copper assets in Zambia, according to two people who know about the situation.

In the past few years, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, the Congo Republic, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea are just a few of the African countries that have changed their constitutions and other laws to allow leaders to serve longer terms.

In the last three years, there have been eight military coups in West and Central Africa as well. As they were during his father’s long rule, violent police crackdowns on political protests have been common in Togo under Gnassingbe, who was returned in a landslide in 2020 that the opposition says was rigged.

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