APC crisis: No respite yet in the North-West

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The current move to change leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the North-West zone is a fallout of alleged power game between the current leadership and some state governors in the zone, reports, Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan

THE lingering disquiet among the leaders and other prominent chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the northwestern zone of the party is far from abating, following indications during the week that some governors of the party may have resolved to move for the removal of some of the zonal officials of the party.

The plot to change the leadership of the party in the zone, according to findings by The Nation, is being championed by some APC governors in the zone ably supported by numerous leading chieftains of the party, including serving National Assembly members, national officers of the party and a few members of the zonal Executive Council of the party.

It was also gathered that the alleged move may not be unconnected with the festering feud between the APC National Vice-Chairman (North-West), Inuwa Abdulkadir,  and the duo of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso, former governor of Kano State.

Sources also claimed that a crisis of confidence amongst zonal executives of the party may also have led to the factionalisation of the APC leadership in the zone. This, it was learnt, followed unresolved allegations and counter allegations of financial misappropriation and disloyalty between Abdulkadir and some of the zonal officers.

“The situation in the APC here in the North-West is not palatable and it is even more worrisome that the party hierarchy is carrying on as if all is well. This zone is the largest in the country in terms of the number of states. It is not healthy for the party to allow the crisis to escalate before nipping it in the bud.

“As we speak, there are talks of plans to effect a change in the zonal leadership of the party by some governors. Many other leading party chieftains are said to be lining up with the governors. Many of them have expressed dissatisfaction with the situation of things before now.

“The plan may be the fallout of the feud between the Vice chairman, Abdulkadir, and the Governor of Kaduna and Senator Kwankwaso over the way certain party decisions were made. The zonal leader and the two chieftains have been at loggerheads for a while now and all efforts to nip the crisis in the bud had only escalated the matter.

“Recently, it was gathered that the national chairman, while attempting to intervene in the matter, angered the governor and the senator the more with his pronouncements, leading to a stalemate in the truce finding mission. Many things have been said between the two camps and the APC is the worse off for it all,” a party chieftain in Kaduna said.

Meanwhile, it was also gathered that those pushing for change in the zonal leadership may have resolved to use the opportunity presented by the planned national convention of the party in April to demand for the said change. According to sources, efforts are on to woo most of the likely delegates to the convention into the change train ahead of the April convention.

Bowing to growing pressure from stakeholders across the country and beyond, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling party had earlier in the year announced its readiness to hold a National Convention in April 2017, more than two years after it last held a convention. Many chieftains of the party had on many occasions requested that a convention be held to address several pressing issues.

A recent statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, confirmed the party’s preparedness for the said congress when he said the processes leading to the National Convention would commence with the congress to fill vacancies in the states across the country.

Face-off looms

But The Nation also gathered that the Inuwa Abdulkadir group is not unaware of the alleged plot against their continued stay in office. Sources within the group insisted that those pushing for a change in the zonal leadership will meet stiff resistance from loyal party chieftains and members whenever they are bold enough to come open with their alleged plot.

Alhaji Abubakar Maude, a chieftain of the party in Katsina State and a staunch supporter of Abdulkadir’s group, said “There is crisis in the party here in the zone but largely, it is the creation of a few people who are yet to imbibe the democratic principles of separation of power in the way the party should be run. Here, we have some people who what to be the Amir and the Amira at the same time. They want to run their states and as well run the party in the zone.

“It is the refusal of our zonal vice chairman to submit the leadership of the party to these people that is generating the crisis you are talking about. That is why some of us will argue with you that there is no crisis here in North-West APC. The trouble makers are few in number, very few. Yes, they may be influential and occupy prominent positions, yet, they are inconsequential.

“We are aware that having failed to achieve their aim through the various petitions and allegations they engineered against the zonal leadership of the party, these elements are now plotting a change in the leadership of the party as soon as possible. I want to tell you they will fail. The loyal and dedicated party members will resist them when they come open with their plot.

“I dare those pushing for his removal to come out and tell the world what the sins of Abdulkadir are. If you ask me, I will tell you in clear terms that the only offense the national vice chairman committed is his refusal to allow some people dictate how the party should be run in the zone. We know the truth and nobody can deceive us as far as this matter is concerned,” he declared.

Signs of trouble?

Close watchers of the politics of the zone alleged that the absence of six of the seven APC governors in the North-West at a meeting held in Katsina, the Katsina State capital, last week, by the party leadership in the geopolitical zone, to appraise the party performance, is a clear indication that the several efforts to resolve the crisis within the party in the zone may have failed.

The host, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State was the only governor who turned up at the meeting which was held under the chairmanship of the embattled APC National Vice-Chairman for the North-West, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir. The governors of Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states were all absent at the meeting.

“The governor’s absence at the meeting is a sign that trouble is not over yet. That is not the first time such a meeting would be called. The practice is for the governors and the leadership of the party to use the opportunity to discuss the state of the party in the zone and other pressing issues. It is very unusual for six out of seven to be absent.

“If you consider the fact that the main agenda of the parley, as announced by the organizers, is to appraise the performance of the party within the zone, then you will understand that the presence of the governors was expected at the meeting. Of course, given the feud between the zonal leadership and some of the governors, it is understandable that this is a sign of things to come,” a party chieftain in Kano told The Nation.

Reports later emerged that the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Danguje, had earlier excused himself from the meeting. Although the announcements that preceded the meeting included the governors in the list of those expected at the meeting, following their absence at the parley, the organisers of the event later explained that the meeting was not actually meant for them.

 “I don’t know why people are reading meaning to the absence of some governors at a meeting that is not for governors. The meeting is for all the states leadership of the APC in the geopolitical zone to assess the performance of our governors in the seven states of the North-West. Governor Masari was there because he hosted us.

”It is not at all party meetings you should expect the governors elected on the platform of our party. It is wrong to say governors boycotted the meeting because they were not expected to be at the meeting in the first place. That they didn’t come then shouldn’t be an issue that we will take as serious as some of you are trying to paint it,” an official of the party in the zone told The Nation.

The allegations, the refutals

The trouble within the party in the zone assumed another dimension when the Woman Leader of the APC in the zone, Hajiya Aisha Kaita, raised allegations of misappropriation of campaign funds and office furniture fund against the Vice Chairman, Abdulkadir. She also alleged that the Zonal Vice Chairman has opened and single-handedly operates a bank account in the name of the North-West Zonal Executive Committee.

According to Kaita, who said she is opening up on the matter to save the party in the zone, Abdulkadir is the sole signatory to the alleged accounts he opened on behalf of the party. The Woman Leader consequently demanded the immediate investigation of Inuwa Abdulkadir by the national leadership of the party.

“I have it on good authority that the Zonal Vice Chairman in person of Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir single-handedly opened and operates a Bank Account in the name of the North West Zonal Committee with him as the sole signatory to the account in total violation of article 23 (iii) of the party’s constitution.

“Furthermore, as an elected member of the Zonal Committee, I am aware that the Presidential Campaign Council Funds that was meant for the zone was misappropriated by the Zonal Vice Chairman.

“Similarly, the N21 million given by the national secretariat for the zonal office furniture was also misappropriated by him and this has rendered the zonal office not to be functional. This is clearly not acceptable especially when we consider the relentless efforts of Mr. President on war against corrupt practices.

“In view of the Zonal Vice Chairman’s flagrant abuses of the party’s funds, as well as his lukewarm attitude and partisanship towards resolving the crisis within the two states of Kaduna and Kano; after several entreaties, I strongly feel his actions are unbecoming and therefore dissociate myself from any liability of his financial misappropriation as well as his undemocratic tendencies that have time without number trampled on the constitutional provisions of our party”, she said.

Meanwhile, Abdulkadir and his supporters continue to deny all the allegations, insisting instead that Kaita is being used by some people to wrongly implicate Abdulkadir in pursuit of their sinister plan to forcefully change the leadership of the party in the zone. According to them, the Woman Leader’s allegations are trumped up.

The embattled APC North-West Leader in turn accused the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufa’I, and a former governor of Kano State, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso, of being the brains behind the crisis plaguing the zonal chapter of the APC. H said the duo sponsored allegations of fraud against him in their bid to implicate him and take over the party in the zone.

“I have a full knowledge that she was commissioned to take me on. A week before she issued the press statement, the Media Assistants to Malam Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, that is the duo of Samuel Aruwan and Muyiwa Adekeye, disclosed to one of their colleagues in the media who reliably informed me that Malam Nasir El-Rufai intended to take on me over the APC crisis in Kaduna State.

“The Media Assistants further disclosed that everything will be done to ensure that I am pulled down; and this they intended to achieve by teaming up with Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the former Governor of Kano State as according to them, Senator Kwankwanso too is aggrieved by the party’s decision in respect of the chairmanship position in Kano State.

“However, this did not surprise me because of the previous encounters I had with Malam Nasir El-Rufai, and his threats and outbursts. Few days later, the Zonal Secretary, Alhaji Tukur Abdulkadir Gusau, was called by Hajiya Aisha Kaita who along with Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso spoke with the Zonal Secretary and requested to have a meeting with him in Kaduna on 30th December 2016.

Later, Hajiya Aisha Kaita informed the Zonal Secretary that accommodation and other logistic arrangements will be provided by the Kaduna State Government. The Zonal Secretary declined. I wish to state here that the only funds that were disbursed to the Zone were done through the party account which was opened and operated at the instance of Party’s National Secretariat.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever made any remittance from March 2015 to date into the account of the party. Since then to date, the Zonal Secretariat and the party vehicle are being maintained at my personal expense. In addition to these, my movements to attend party meetings in Abuja and within the Zone are all being undertaken at my personal expense.

These finances were duly presented, discussed and approved at the last NEC meeting of the party where Hajiya Aisha Kaita attended and made contributions. I kept my calm as a leader considering the volatility of Kaduna and the attendant threat it poses viz-a-vize the tremendous goodwill and support the part is enjoying in Kaduna State,” he explained

Source: The Nation
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