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Sunday, March 26, 2023

APC Walks A Tightrope As Internal Feud Festers Across States

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•Shekarau Laments Frustration In Ganduje’s Hands

•We’ll Intervene In Kano Crisis Soon —Apc Caretaker Committee

By Taiwo Amodu

There seems to be no compromise yet among warring members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in at least 10 state chapters over the crisis triggered by the conduct of state congresses. 

The list includes Kano, Bauchi, Ekiti, Osun, Gombe, Delta and Imo, as the party chieftains are still loggerheads, in spite of various peace initiatives of the party’s national leadership. 

For instance, some aggrieved APC members in Bauchi State have obtained an interim court order restraining the national leadership of the party from swearing-in members of the state executive committee elected by a faction of the party pending the determination of the substantive matter. 

In other instances, disenchanted party members have threatened to leave the party if the top hierarchy fails to ensure justice over the disputed congresses that produced parallel state executives in a number of states. 

Nigerian Tribune learnt on Monday that the crisis bedevilling the party in Kano State was keeping many faithful on edge as Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and a former governor of the state, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau’s factions dispute the outcome of the parallel congresses conducted in the state. 

A faction led by Shekarau, the senator representing Kano Central, and his counterpart representing Kano North, Jubrin Barau, are battling for the control of the Kano APC structure, leading to the conduct of parallel state congresses. 

Other leading members of the Shekarau faction include four House of Representatives lawmakers, Nasiru Ab- dua, Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe, Shaaban Sharada and Haruna Isa Dederi. 

A Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja had last week voided the ward and state congresses conducted by the Ganduje-led faction which produced Abdullahi Abbas as chairman. 

Justice Hamzat Muazu, in his judgment, subsequently declared that the congress conducted by the faction led by Shekarau and member House of Representatives, Sha’aban Sharadaas, was the authentic exercise. Justice Muazu ruled that the consensus committee report by Ganduje was invalid while that of Shekarau’s faction was authentic having conducted elections and produced results. 

Nigerian Tribune’s checks revealed that by virtue of the court pronouncement, Ahmadu Haruna Zago (Danzago), who emerged at the parallel congress conducted by the Senator Shekarau faction, had effectively emerged as the chairman of the Kano APC chapter. 

The action of the court, according to findings, seems to have buoyed the confidence in the loyalists of Senator Shekarau, as the other camps try to fight back in the bid to control Kano APC structure. 

The internal crisis in Delta State APC involves loyalists of the deputy president of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and the supporters of the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo along with some other stalwarts of the party from the state. 

In Gombe, the leadership crisis in the states’ chapter has festered as the camp of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya and that of a former governor of the state, Senator Muhammad Danjuma Goje, are bent on wearing each other out over the soul of APC in the state.

Reports from Lagos showed that the state chapter of the party is still smarting from the defection of members of the Lagos4Lagos caucus to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), though the ruling party described the defection as good riddance to bad rubbish. 

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Elsewhere, the cold war in the Osun State chapter of the APC is said to be giving some party faithful goose pimples, as political parties begin preparations to select candidates for the 2022 governorship poll in the state. 

Loyalists of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and his predecessor and current Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, are still involved in a battle of wits, despite trouble-shooting moves by concerned party elders. 

A similar act of muscle-flexing exists among APC stakeholders in Ekiti State, where the party is split along two camps, with one of the factions already in court. 

The scenario in the Adamawa State chapter of the APC is also a serious concern for major stakeholders in the party, following the threats and counter-threats by loyalists of former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa who has said he could not abandon the house he and other stakeholders built for caretakers. 

He made the promise against the background of rumours that did the rounds recently that he had left APC for PDP. 

Ex-Governor Yari, who is among the contestants for APC chairmanship at next February convention, has not batted an eye in the battle to control the structure of the party in Adamawa. 

In Oyo State, the two camps involved in a superiority contest are said to be waiting on the APC national leadership to resolve issues over controverted state congress. 

According to reports, the protracted crisis in the APC chapter in Imo State is also due to the struggle between the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, and his predecessor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, with each camp claiming to be the legitimate executive after the rancorous congresses. 

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC in Bauchi State, Alhaji Hassan Mohammed Sheriff, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that internal democracy takes precedence in the party if it must survive beyond 2023 after he leaves office in 2023. 

He said the advice is informed by the crisis trailing the conduct of congresses of the party across the country. 

At a press conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat in Bauchi on Tuesday, he condemned what he perceived as the reign of impunity, especially leadership imposition that characterised the exercise. He called on the President to sign the amended Electoral Act, saying: when operational, the legislation would strengthen internal democracy in the political parties. 

According to him, “Because we believe justice is for the masses and not for a few, we headed to court as a result of the victimized to enforce our rights to elect those who will represent us. We believe that certain political actors that have not built our great party, the All Progressives Congress, in Bauchi State have come to reap where they did not sow. 

“It is against this background that we instituted a suit seeking the dissolution of executive members of the party in the state. Also joined in the suit included the acting national chairman of the APC, Mai Mala Buni; chairman of the Bauchi State Extended Stakeholder Committee, Adamu Adamu; member of the extended stakeholders’ committee, Yakubu Dogara; and 39 others as defendants.

I’ve been trying to meet with Ganduje for eight months – Shekarau 

However, Shekarau on Monday said that for eight months, he had been trying to see Governor Ganduje ostensibly on issues concerning Kano APC to no avail. 

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“You see, the last time I met him (Governor Ganduje) one-on- one was in March 2021. If I count the months, it is eight months now. I made several efforts to see him but he failed to grant me audience,” Shekarau alleged. 

Speaking in an interview with the Voice of America Hausa (VOA) service, he maintained the crisis could have been avoided but for the alleged arrogance of the governor. 

According to Shekarau, the governor’s aides he contacted about seeking appointment with him know what he is talking about. 

“As a former governor and a serving senator, I think I deserve respect. Even if he (Ganduje) wouldn’t give it to me, let him give me a little respect. This is the situation we found ourselves in. Would you believe, as a Senator in the state, I don’t know what is happening? The governor is the one doing his things without consulting us elders and stakeholders of the party in the state. 

“We are up to 20 stakeholders in the party in Kano who the governor had sidelined. For instance, we have people like Musa Gwadabe, an 80-year-old man; the current Minister of Defence (Magashi), Gen Jaafaru Isa, and so on,” he alleged. 

Shekaru, who also holds the title of Sardauna Kano, noted that the utterances of Ganduje’s factional chairman were worrisome. 

He added, “The chairman, who is a prince of Kano emirate, came out to say that the APC in Kano belongs to Governor Ganduje, belongs to his wife and the emirate and whoever is not happy with this arrangement should leave the party. 

“He said after reviewing the whole thing they decided to hold their congresses, saying, ‘since it has become apparent we are not needed in the party, even after our congresses, we realised they were trying to silence us permanently so we decided to seek legal redress.” 

We will intervene in Kano crisis very soon — Caretaker committee 

In the meantime, the APC national leadership has said the leadership tussle rocking the Kano chapter of the party will soon be resolved amicably. 

The national secretary of the APC CECPC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, gave the assurance on Monday while speaking with newsmen in Abuja. 

Akpanudoedehe told newsmen that the APC national secretariat was yet to get a copy of the judgment, delivered by Justice Muazu of the Federal High Court, Abuja. 

He said, “We are responsible leaders of the party and we won’t like to comment on a judgment that we haven’t seen. All I can tell you now is that we are going to apply for a Certified True Copy of the judgment. We haven’t seen it. We need to study the judgment.” 

Asked to react to the speculation that the APC CECPC sent two different committees to Kano to conduct the state congress, Akpanudoedehe dismissed it as an unfounded allegation. 

“We didn’t give letters to two committees! How could we have done that? We won’t put fire in our own house, we know the people we gave official letter to go to Kano and conduct official assignment. That’s the team we will accord recognition.” 

In a separate interview, Mr Auwwal Ibrahim, who led the team that conducted the congress that produced the displaced Abdullahi Abass as chairman, told newsmen that the congress attended by Governor Ganduje was the authentic congress. 

The lawyer recalled that his seven-man team individually received an official letter from the APC, Director of Organisation, Professor Mustapha, Mednaer, assigning them the responsibility to proceed to Kano State to conduct the congress. 

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He said, “It was very fair and very cordial because we were drafted from the national headquarters of the party with my name and the names of our members. We collected our mandate from the APC headquarters through the office of the Director of Organisation, Professor Al-Mustapha Mednaer. 

“We went for the congress with all the materials and we conducted the congress in Kano without any hitches. We met with all the stakeholders: from the governor to the local organising committee. We did what we did and we came back with the result to the national secretariat. 

“All my members were with me. I have the pictures, including motion pictures, to prove that we were all together at the congress. We were seven all in all and everybody signed the results sheets and the report.” 

Asked if he got wind of any parallel congress while in Kano, Abdullahi responded in the affirmative. 

“I was aware of it on the day of the congress. While the congress was going on, the chairman of the local organising committee who happened to be a one-time deputy governor of Kano State called me and informed me that there was a parallel congress going on around one village near the prison yard. 

“I told them that as far as I was concerned, I was sent from the national headquarters with the mandate to come and conduct the congress. 

“So I told him that I was the genuine chairman of the congress and we have the consent and agreement of the national headquarters to come and conduct the exercise. 

“I told him that I am not aware of any parallel congress that was going on and I told him that they won’t be recognised by the party.” 

Controversy trails Tinubu’s intervention in Kwara APC crisis 

Meanwhile, a coalition of Kwara State APC Young Stakeholders (CKAYS) has hailed the intervention of the national leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party. 

The group of youths and associations in the state APC said that Tinubu is a known national leader of APC in the country. 

The group was reacting to the recent attack on the personalities of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and Tinubu by another group called the Kwara for Kwara Movement (K4K). 

At a press conference held in Ilorin, the leadership of group claimed that the move by Tinubu to intervene in the Kwara APC crisis was based on a personal political agenda of 2023. 

The leader of the CKAYS, Ahmed Mohammed, said, “We are not giving up on reconciliation. So we are calling on Asiwaju Tinubu to do more. He is always welcome in Kwara State. He is a known leader of APC in Nigeria and he is no less recognised in the state. 

“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a national figure beyond the shores of Kwara State politics and we see no crime in his contributions to ensure peace reigns in Kwara politics. 

“From all indications and deductions from the Kwara for Kwara Movement, the whole exercise is a most ingenious strategy and tactic in preparation for 2023. “However, we are aware that opposition parties are always at work.” 

Credit: Tribune

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