Between el-rufai and Kaduna R-APC

The frosty relationship between the aggrieved members of Reformed All Progressives Congress(R-APC) in Kaduna State and the governor, Nasir el-Rufai of the mainstream APC, is gathering momentum. MUHAMMAD SABIU examines the issues involved.

Since the creation of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC) by aggrieved members within the All Progressives Congress (APC) on 4th July 2018,  in Abuja, there has been serious political negotiations, consultations and talks going on between members of the faction and other political parties in the country.

In Kaduna State, the R-APC, the bulk of Akida and Restoration groups, has been on the throat of the present government since  Governor, Nasir el-Rufai assumed the mantle of leadership in the state. Both groups had, on several occasions, accused the governor of running the state as his personal estate.

An aggrieved member of the Akida group, who wouldn’t like his name to be mentioned, captured it thus: “He has derailed from carrying out the main programmes of the party and instead pursuing his own programme of the mass sack, demolition of buildings and taxing the ordinary citizens to pay heavy levies.

Those of us who worked for the party were sidelined including our cronies.”

Thus, when their several appeals to get the ears of the former national leadership under Chief John Odigie-Oyegun failed, they did not waste time in aligning themselves with the national R-APC when the opportunity came.  It is interesting to note, also, barely 24 hours after the announcement of the formation of R-APC at the national level, the Kaduna chapter was the first in the federation to name its officials under the leadership of a retired Army Colonel, Dauda Gora.

Other state executives are Hajiya Rabiu Abdulsalam, deputy-chairman; Jafaru Abbas, secretary; Shehu Abubakar, assistant secretary; Ayuba Imam, treasurer; Pastor Ephraim Haruna, financial secretary and Mock Kure, publicity secretary.

Others are, Shehu Abubakar, zonal vice chairman (1); Alhaji Uba Maiwashi, zonal vice chairman(2); Abdullahi Jafaru, zonal chairman(3) and  Hosea Buba, state legal adviser.

Since then, the R-APC has been meeting and consulting with people of like minds to see how it will wrestle power from the governor as well as to find an alternative platform for its members who wanted to seek elective offices.

Already,  the likes of Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Isa Ashiru, Lawal Adamu, Usman Bawa, etc. have since left the ruling APC. In the next couple of days, going by the body language of the two APC senators, they will also find their exit with thousands  of their supporters.

This likely scenario according to pundits may not augur well for a the APC in the state, especially now that the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is strategising to return to power in 2019. Just recently, it was gathered that the party has summoned all its eight governorship hopefuls and asked them to produce a consensus candidate.

IN a bid not to lose the state, the governor realising the need to reach out to aggrieved members and other critical stakeholders, admitted that some mistakes were made but pleaded with the media for understanding.

A reconciliation committee has been put in place to meet with Senator Shehu Sani and Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi  this week.

The committee had held talks with some of the aggrieved members. Even though the outcome of the meeting was still not known, certain demands were put forward for genuine reconciliation.

Some members of the party too applauded the governor. Abubakar Musa a chieftain of the party in Kakuri ward, Kaduna South Local Government remarked , “this is what the governor ought to have done before now,  anyway, it is better late than never.” Musa hoped that the aggrieved members would also explore the opportunity and come back to the main fold.

ALSO READ: Defections won’t harm APC’s chances ― BUHARI

However, some party members saw the governor’s move as coming rather too late to make any genuine reconciliation. A member of the party, who pleaded for anonymity, remarked though, it would heal wounds, he had his reservations about the move.

It appears too, even the rAPC has realised the need to engage the party. Recently, in an interview, Senator Shehu Sani said that they are still in talks with both PDP and APC. So, he is still looking at the possibility of remaining in the party.  His fear and that of others could not be far-fetched from the fact that some PDP members are not happy about them joining their party. A member of PDP  in Kaduna North, Zakari Musa noted” “I don’t see the possibility of   those coming into our fold to find things easy because a lot of our members have made sacrifices to ensure that the party is what it is today  in the state.”

Also, apparently concerned with the proliferation of governorship aspirants in PDP, the state chapter of the party had directed its eight governorship aspirants to produce a consensus. A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  Ibrahim Sani Zango, disclosed that ‘even if they (Senators Sani and Suleiman) decamp to our  party, the two of them will add to the list of those gunning for the number one office in the state.

“I am not sure they will clinch the governorship ticket because there are other aspirants who had been doing a lot to the party and have declared their interest since two years ago.”

Nigerian Tribune gathered that the two lawmakers too are more comfortable remaining in APC than cross-carpeting to another party. A source, who pleaded anonymity, remarked: “the two senators are at home in APC. They know they are popular in their respective domain. So, left for them, they want to remain here.  But their major dilemma is who will go to the primaries with el-rufai?

The source continued: “How will they realise their gubernatorial ambition when the state governor is already in control of the party apparatuses. Even though they have their own congresses, the national body only recognises the congresses supported by the governor. So you can see that the situation is very dicey.”

According to the source, “contesting the primaries with the governor will definitely be a herculean task for anyone of them.

So, while, we wait for the outcome of the meeting between  the reconciliation committee  and the two lawmakers this week, the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole too, it was learnt, has interest in resolving the crisis in the state. Already, he has started making moves to prevail on the two senators not to leave the party.

An APC chieftain, who wouldn’t like his name in print, said: “Oshiomhole has spoken to them on phone and expressed his desire to meet the senators one on one, having heard the governor had since constituted a committee of reconciliation.

It was gathered that the national chairman appealed to the senators to explore the governor’s magnanimity by resolving their differences, promising to also meet them.

It was also gathered that the two camps are now jittery over the likelihood of what might come out from the likely outcome of the talks. As in the case of any political agreement, concessions and sacrifice need to be made.

“You know in a thing like that, there must be a winner and loser. One must concede to the other party. This chairman (Oshiomhole) means business. In fact, he ought to have come earlier than now.”

Thus, in the next couple of days, we will know how the efforts of the reconciliation committee is able to prevail on the R-APC members to accept Governor el-Rufai’s  olive branch.

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