In Kaduna, for a secure north: Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Atiku Bagudu ( Kebbi), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Kassim Shettima (Borno) and Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina) at a joint meeting of the Northern State Governors’ Forum and the Chairmen of the Council of Chiefs of the northern states on Monday, 23rd January 2017
Nigeria’s ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, is enmeshed in deep internal wrangling in no fewer than 10 states of the federation.
The crises, many of which involve state governors and federal lawmakers, erupted few months after the 2015 general elections.
The crises are caused by allegations of financial misconduct, anti-party activities, ambitions, maladministration, among others by party faithful.
Some of the crisis have also led to the suspension or expulsion of key members and officials of the party at the state level.
Unless the crises are tackled, the electoral chances of the party may be threatened in the states, come 2019.
Bothered by the development, the national secretariat of the APC recently announced a plan to set up a peace and reconciliation committee to intervene and resolve the crises ahead of the April non-elective national convention of the party and the 2019 general elections.
The APC spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, told PREMIUM TIMES that the committee would look into all the cases and make recommendations to the leadership.
“The committee will nullify actions taken by the state chapters that are inconsistent with the constitution of the party.
“So, people should exercise restraints and wait for the committee to wade into the crises. They have the opportunity to state their cases and should not take laws into their hands,” the spokesperson said.
Some of the APC state chapters battling with crisis include Gombe, Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, and Ogun.
The APC in Gombe has not known peace since it lost the gubernatorial election to the PDP in 2015.
The crisis began during the 2015 primary election. The party broke into two factions with one led by Magaji Doho and the other Karu Ishaya.
They are backed by two prominent leaders – former governor and now senator, Danjuma Goje, and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and also a senator, Usman Nafada.
Both had joined from the PDP.
When all efforts to resolve the crisis failed, the national secretariat of the APC, in September last year, set up a caretaker committee headed by Lawan Shettima to run the party. The committee was asked to oversee the affairs of the party for a three-month renewable period.
However, some members of the factions have refused to cooperate with the committee.
The political hostility is this north-eastern state is very fierce. Most federal lawmakers and other federal government officials from the state, notably the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, are up in arms against the state governor, Mohammed Abubakar.
The governor is accused of poor utilisation of bailout funds from the federal government to the state, non-payment of workers and pensioners, and offering appointments to PDP members while APC members are being removed.
In August, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who is from the state, led a delegation to separate meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC national leadership in search of solution to the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.
During a visit to the national secretariat of the party, the two groups clashed, with some supporters of the lawmakers chanting “bamu so, bamu so” indicating they do not want the governor.
The opposition has allegedly sent jitters down the spine of the governor who feels his second term is being threatened.
Already, the crisis has consumed two members. In January, the senator representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, Ali Wakili, and a member of the state House of Assembly representing Lere/Bula Constituency, Aminu Tukur, were controversially suspended from the party.
In Borno, the governorship ambition of Abu Kyari, the senator representing the northern senatorial district, has put him on collision course with Governor Kashim Shettima. The rift is threatening to divide the party.
Messrs. Kyari and Shettima served as commissioners under then governor Ali Sheriff. Mr. Kyari also served as Chief of Staff to Mr. Shettima in the latter’s first term.
But the governor, who many believe is eyeing the northern senatorial seat in 2019, appears not to be comfortable with the ambition of his former ally.
To neutralise Mr. Kyari’s ambition, Mr. Shettima was said to have initiated moves to draft the senator representing the central senatorial district, Baba KakaGarbai, into the governorship race to succeed him.
Although the APC won the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, it did so as a divided house.
Prior to the election, which was won by Rotimi Akeredolu who was sworn in on Friday, many members of the party were disenchanted.
The disenchantment spread to the national level prompting a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, to call for the resignation of the national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, over his (Oyegun) alleged ignoble role in upholding the primary election that produced Mr. Akeredolu.
Crisis also broke out in the party in August when the state chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, was removed for allegedly being “directed, mandated and financially empowered and or fortified by the National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to work for a particular aspirant, one Olusegun Abraham, as the preferred sole aspirant of the party…”
Mr. Kekemeke’s deputy, Ade Adetimehin, was appointed in his place as acting chairman while a three-member disciplinary committee was appointed to investigate the allegations against him. Also, some party members led by Olusola Oke left the APC for AD in anger.
Even after he was sworn in as governor, Mr. Akeredolu’s statement has shown that the crisis may not end anytime soon. The governor accused an unnamed senator of the party of from his state of working against his gubernatorial ambition and said he no longer considers the senator a member of the APC.
In Ogun State, the crisis appears to be provoked by ambition. The senator currently representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Olamilekan Adeola, is at loggerheads with the governor, Ibikunle Amosun, over the governorship seat.
Mr. Adeola is aspiring to contest the governorship election in 2019, but the governor, who will round off his second term in office, is said to be opposed to the senator’s ambition to succeed him.
Mr. Adeola, popularly called “Yayi,” is an ally of Mr. Tinubu. He was a two-time member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and a former member of the House of Representatives where he chaired the Public Accounts Committee.
Messrs. Adeola and Amosun fell out politically in 2015 when the former wanted to return to Ogun State to contest the senatorial election to represent the western senatorial district but was allegedly blocked by the governor.
The governor was said to have pleaded with Mr. Tinubu to prevail on him (Mr. Adeola) to drop his ambition. Mr. Adeola was subsequently offered a ticket in Lagos State to contest the election. This paved the way for the governor’s candidate, Gbolahan Dada, to pick the ticket to represent the Ogun West Senatorial District.
The APC in Kogi State is in crisis, no thanks to the disagreement between the governor, Yahaya Bello, and some high-ranking politicians in the state.
In June last year, members of the APC in the National Assembly from the state, House of Assembly members, members of the party’s executive in the state and other prominent leaders of the party at a meeting accused Mr. Bello of engaging in anti-party activities.
They also accused the governor, who assumed office six months earlier, of appointing more PDP members into his government than APC members.
They held the view that the Kogi people had suffered more under Mr. Bello than at any other time.
They subsequently set up an 11-member disciplinary committee chaired by the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, to review the allegations against the governor, and report back within seven days.
Members of the committee included three former senators from the state, Mohammed Ohiare, Abubakar Abdulrahman and Nicholas Ugbane, as well as APC chairman in Kogi, Haddy Ametuo.
While no report has been publicly presented, the rift between the governor, who has stated that his opponents are resisting his transformation of the state, and other party leaders continue.
The crisis in the Plateau State chapter of the APC has been a recurring one.
The first crisis emanated from the nomination of Solomon Dalung as minister. Mr. Dalung had a rift with the state governor, Simon Lalong, over some pre-election matters which were in court.
There was also the issue of petition by some members calling for the expulsion of a former Minister of State for Information and Communication, Ibrahim Nakande. Mr. Nakande had been removed as the zonal secretary of the party and replaced with Muhammad Zakari.
In February, the party erupted in crisis again. Some member of the state executive committee of the APC rose against the chairman, Letep Dabang, accusing him of insincerity in appointments, personalization of the party, unaccountability for party funds and hijacking all contributions made to the party. The allegations were contained in a letter signed by 19 out of the 23 executive members, to the state governor.
In Niger, there is uneasy calm in the ruling APC following the feud between the governor, Sani Bello, and some federal lawmakers.
David Umaru representing the Niger East senatorial district and Aliyu Abdullahi of the southern senatorial district are reportedly in conflict with the governor.
The crisis in the chapter became noticeable early last year when the senators and 10 members of the House of Representatives from the state shunned the flag-off of the local government council elections.
The lawmakers were not happy over the manner the APC candidates for the elections emerged. They were said to be angry that Mr. Bello single-handedly picked the candidates without consulting them.
Perhaps, none of the crises in others states is as old as that of Kaduna State.
The festering crisis is majorly between the governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani.
Mr. Sani had shown interest in the governorship election in 2015 but was asked by some political gladiators to step down for Mr. El-Rufai. He therefore sought election into the senate and won.
That was to be the beginning of the hostility between the two political gladiators and which has unsettled the state chapter of the APC.
Mr. Sani explains that the fight “is not personal, but more ideological, particularly the way our people are treated and governance is going on.”
At another forum, he said “Perhaps, it (fight) has to do with the fact that we came from different backgrounds.
But in his narration, Mr. El-Rufai, said, “Shehu Sani’s first anger was that the list of commissioners came out and none from his list.
“In a state where there are 10,000 PhDs that I have in my data base, I am going to take a diploma holder and make him commissioner just because he is Shehu Sani’s man. I don’t operate like that.
“He contested the APC primary and defeated the candidate I supported (General Sani Saleh) and after the primaries. I don’t owe Shehu Sani anything.”
In the neighbouring Kano State, the crisis in the APC has refused to abate. Already, the party has been factionalised in the state with Haruna Doguwa leading a faction and the other led by Abdullahi Abbas.
The major cause of the crisis is the face-off between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor and now serving senator, Rabi’u Kwankwaso.
Interestingly, both have been political soulmates for years. When Mr. Kwankwaso served his first term as governor between 1999 and 2003, Mr. Ganduje was his deputy. Both of them also paired again between 2011 and 2015. Mr. Ganduje was the only deputy governor in the country who succeeded his principal in 2015.
But all is not well between them though the feud is not about the governorship seat.
Mr. Ganduje has repeatedly made moves to undermine the influence of his erstwhile boss by sacking some of the latter’s loyalists, from his administration.
In May last year, the national headquarters unsuccessfully waded into the rift.