Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kano APC crisis worsens

THE many troubles facing the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano are far from ending soon. 

Happenings and renewed wrangling between the faction of the former governor of the state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and supporters of the incumbent Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso tell much about the presumed impossibility of survival of the party, at least in the state.

Recently, the presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, has led a powerful delegation to Governor Kwankwaso to endorse him as leader of the APC in the state. 

Tofa, chairman of the Elders’ Committee of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), under which Shekarau contested for the presidency in 2011; was accompanied by the secretary of the de-registered ANPP, three gubernatorial aspirants of the party in 2011 and other stakeholders of the ANPP faction of the APC.

While paying homage to the governor, they assured him that as far as they were concerned, nobody could claim the leadership of the party apart from an incumbent governor, an action seen by Shekarau loyalists as a political betrayal.

A day after, the chairman of the then ANPP, Sani Hashim Hotoro, called a press briefing and challenged the action of some of the principal stakeholders that visited Kwankwaso to pay homage.

Hotoro dissociated self and the defunct party from the reported allegiance to the governor. 

He noted that Tofa had disclosed to the public that he had quit partisan politics, wondering, “why then is he playing partisan politics now?” 

According to Hotoro: “It is in the public knowledge that, members of the APC, coming from the defunct ANPP Kano State, have on December 18, 2013, under the leadership of our 2011 presidential candidate and former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, delivered a letter to the APC interim leadership in Abuja, conveying our concern and the way forward…

“We requested for the clarification of the rumour going round that the five aggrieved new PDP governors, who decided to join APC, did that as a result of an alleged agreement that they would be given special privileges that are against all fairness and democratic norms.” 

The internal crisis engulfing the APC, coming from the report that Kwankwaso could be the leader of the party as an incumbent governor, had made some stakeholders to start making surreptitious moves against a future plan. 

It was under this circumstance that party members began spreading rumours that Shekarau was likely to move to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It was alleged that of recent, one of the big men of the ruling party from Abuja, came to Kano and had some “fruitful discussions” with Shekarau. 

Before then, PDP stalwarts in Kano, led by the interim state chairman of the party, paid a special visit to Shekarau, to woo him to join the PDP.

The scenario was similar to what happened between Governor Kwankwaso and the national leadership of the APC when they visited and wooed the governor to join the opposition party, which he finally did. 

If Shekarau joins the PDP, some political estimation of the Kano APC may change, either for good or for bad.

But the state chair of the defunct ANPP, Hotoro dismissed such insinuations that Shekarau was billed to leave the APC, assuring that they had no intention to decamp to any other party. 

He explained that they would remain in the APC pending the outcome of the complaint letter they had sent to the national secretariat of the APC.

The continued crisis in the APC has put a dashing conclusion to what people like the National Secretary of APC Project Nigeria, Abdulrasheed Ahmad Imam, an engineer, call “hope.” 

The group was formed to see to the protection and promotion of the rule of law within the party.

Imam once told The Guardian that, “… as at now, we have an incumbent governor (Kwankwaso) and the immediate past governor (Shekarau) within our fold. 

“The archrival of Governor Kwankwaso is former Governor Shekarau. So, they now belong to the same political party. Therefore, our victory is signed, sealed and delivered.”

So, if the face-off between the duo continues, the hope that Imam has may not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But with the recent pronounced position of the APC that governors were not qualified to be leaders of the party at their respective states, the open confrontation between supporters of Kwankwaso and Shekarau may subside in the mean time.

“Whether the just joined governors of PDP to APC are leaders or not in APC, the fact remains that they are the ones with the needed resources when election comes. And it is said that he who pays the piper dictates the tune,” observed Dantani, a youth wing leader of the APC in Kano.

However, stakeholders have interpreted the pronouncement of the national headquarters of the party differently. 

The Secretary of the Interim Management Committee of the APC in Kano, Kabiru Sani Abdullahi, clarified that, “in APC, we have what is called the supremacy of the party. Under this, the party is above all even the president or a governor in a state.”

Abdullahi explained that, “under such supremacy understanding, nobody can claim to have the ownership or leadership of the party; so, that is what the national headquarters is saying.” 

“But then, if you look at it critically, whether a leader of the party or not, a governor is number one citizen in his state,” he said. 

“That is what the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says, and it is above any other constitution of a political party. The governors are, therefore, automatic leaders in their respective states.” 

According to Abdullahi, the constitution of APC states that governors should play a fatherly role in their states. “So, what does that mean? They are leaders in their own right,” he said.

On the crisis engulfing the party, Abdullahi assured that when the party got elected leaders across board, “such crises would go naturally.”

“APC is the party with the majority now; so, you should expect such face-offs within its fold,” he said. “It is natural. 

“Before Kwankwaso came on board of the APC, Shekarau was the leader of the party in the state. So, when Kwankwaso joins us, we should also take him as our leader,” Abdullahi added.

Strengthening internal democracy in the APC was a fundamental thing APC Project Nigeria wanted to achieve, said Imam. 

“We are in this struggle in order to make sure that internal democracy is preserved. And we will do everything humanly possible to see that the APC sticks to that.”

culled from

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