Disquiet In APC As Governors Differ Over Moves To Reshuffle National Officers

By Hamza Idris

Ahead of the June 23 national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), some governors and other powerful forces within the party have differed over plans to replace some national officers of the party.

Daily Trust gathered from credible sources that some APC governors and some key stakeholders wanted their “men” elected into some key offices in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party during next month’s national convention of the party; a development which other governors and notable personalities were said to be not favourably disposed to.

It was gathered that interest groups are now taking the scheming in the APC to the next level, considering that the debate over the fate of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has settled, with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole seen as the national chairman of the party in waiting.

The APC has fixed June 23 for its national convention where various offices would be filled even as interests have heightened in various quarters as to who becomes what. Working hard to install NWC of ruling parties gives unfettered advantages to king makers, analysts say.

At the heat of the APC crisis, a technical committee headed by Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State had among other things recommended that as a way out of the imbroglio, the party should organise a convention; aggrieved parties who had gone to court should withdraw their cases; and that status quo as far as zoning arrangement of various offices should be retained.

This is why it is viewed by pundits that Oshiomhole who is from Edo State like Oyegun has an edge in the choice of a new party chairman.

Sources said there were issues in Borno and Yobe in respect of the office of the national secretary of the party which was zoned to the North East; in Zamfara and Kaduna in respect of the office of deputy national chairman (North); and in Imo State in the South East in respect of the office of the national organising secretary.

“For some obvious reasons, some governors and other forces in the APC are now working hard to see that the sharing formula is tampered with at least within each of the six geo-political zones,” another source said.

He said in the North East, some powerful politicians who recently defected to the APC from the PDP wanted the office of the national secretary shifted to Borno from Yobe State.

“The forces want the post to be taken away from Alhaji Maimala Buni and be given to one of the defectors in Borno in an apparent move to have someone that would help them checkmate the rising influence of Governor Kashim Shettima; but most of the governors in the region want the post to remain in Yobe,” the source said.

“Specifically, Gov. Kashim Shettima is solidly behind Maimala Buni to continue, and other governors, including Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe who is very comfortable with Buni, Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa and Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi, are all on the same page.

“Those who return to the APC recently want to take advantage of the forthcoming convention to take over the party and this would not be allowed,” he said.

Another source said Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State and Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State were at daggers drawn over the position of national deputy chairman (North) of the party.

The office is currently occupied by Sen. Lawan Shuaibu who at the return of democracy in 1999 represented Zamfara North in the Senate.

“The Kaduna people are angry that the seat of deputy national chairman of the APC which was zoned to the North West was taken to Zamfara, not Kano, Kaduna or even Sokoto. Remember Zamfara is the smallest state in the region in terms of influence and Gov. El-Rufai wants the seat back to Kaduna,” he said.

Another contentious seat is that of the national treasurer of the party which is currently being occupied by Alhaji Bala Mohammed Gwagwarwa from Kano State, also in the North West.

But unlike in other states, the debate in Kano over the seat is between the Kwankwasiyya movement personified by Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso and the Gandujiyya movement, the flagship of Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje.

It was gathered that Gwagwarwa is a disciple of Kwankwaso and got the plump job of national treasurer courtesy of the former Kano State Governor. But with the frosty relationship between Kwankwaso and Ganduje, Ganduje wants his loyalist to emerge as new treasurer at the centre.

Sources said even Gov. Muhammadu Badaru of Jigawa State who is the chairman of the APC National Convention Committee would like to have a fairer deal for his state this time around.

“Jigawa has only an ex-officio in the NWC of the APC now and people from the state would be glad to have a more conspicuous position.

Remember, once you have a strong man at the national headquarters of the party, it would be easier for you to have your way during scheming; especially during sale of forms for elective positions,” another source with ample knowledge of how party politics works, said.

In the South East, Gov. Rochas Okorocha is reportedly working hard to ensure that the National Organising Secretary of the party, Sen. Osita Izunaso, does not return.

Okorocha had technically lost out during the recent congresses of the APC in his state as the opposition within the party thickens. This was when the Restoration Coalition which had his Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere, his former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dr. Theodore Ekechi, Senators Izunaso, Ben Uwajumogu and Ifeanyi Araraume and Hope Uzodinma, Chief Tony Chukwu, Chief Uzoma Obiyor, TETFUND Chairman, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba, Hon. Jasper Azuatalam, Imo Deputy Governor, Sir Jude Ejiogu, Hon. Longers Anyanwu, and many others as members, surreptitiously took over the party apparatus.

In the South West, it was gathered that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and others are equally working hard to send back home the National Legal Adviser of the APC, Muiz Banire.

But a key figure in the APC told our correspondent that the clamour for change in the APC national headquarters was not self-serving.

“Look, the fact that Oshiomhole would most likely emerge as APC national chairman would not necessarily put an end to the rancorous disposition in the party; there are many issues all over in the NWC,” he said.

“A lot of things are happening now and unless we trash most of these gaps, the APC would go to the 2019 general elections in trouble,” he said.
Another source said the magic wand that would liberate the party lay with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“He can resolve the crisis quietly in his office by calling all the APC leaders, governors and other ambitious faithful,” he said.

For now, the crisis in APC is not just about the outcome of the congresses; or the outcry by nPDP members, but a huge deficit in the NWC of the party which is the engine room that gives a sense of direction to any serious political party.

Source:- Dailytrustng
Click here for Comments