The Bauchi chapter of the APC is enmeshed in crisis; with resignations and suspensions being the order of the day. UMAR SA’ID MOH’D in this piece examines how the party is mismanaging its victory so early in the day and what may lay ahead if the crisis is not well manage
The All Progressives Congress (APC) is now the ruling party in Bauchi. It used to prior to now be the leading opposition party. But that is not the news; the news is that the party is dilemma, or better put in disarray.
The party won 99% of all elective positions in the state. The party won all the three senatorial seats, succeeded in winning 28 out of the 31 state assembly seats as well as sweeping the gubernatorial seat, making the then incumbent PDP government irrelevant in the state.
Many people may think that everything is well with the party especially after securing 99% of the elective positions in the state during the last general elections, but it is beyond that.
The Genesis of the crisis
The crisis that has now come to the fore predated the elections. It started during the election of the state’s party executives, which saw the emergence of Alhaji Uba Ahmad Nana a former local government chairman as APC state chairman, the party has been embroiled in one crisis or the other.
During the primary elections of the party in Bauchi State, the contestants were believed to have been supported by their masters that included the incumbent governor of the state, Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar, as well as the former Police Affairs Minister, Dr Ibrahim Yakubu Lame.
During the party’s governorship primary election that was contested for by nine aspirants, it was clear that the state executives of the party were polarized along two camps; those supporting the incumbent governor and those supporting the former minister of police affairs.
After the election, there were disagreements with some alleging that there were irregularities, such as over voting and other election malpractices. Dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, Comrade Abdullahi Tanko Ningi went to court to challenge the election and the matter is still in court. The party has since suspended Comrade Ningi for his refusal to withdraw the suit in court.
Though after being declared the winner of the primary election, Abdullahi Abubakar, now governor made several efforts to reconcile with the aggrieved members of party especially his co-contestants in order to have a total victory during the last general elections.
However, recent developments in the state clearly indicate that all is not well with the party, despite how hard the party may want to hide it. Just from the blues, top officials of the party started resigning and those that did not resign were suspended by the party.
On Friday 11th September, 2015, the party’s vice chairman in charge of Bauchi South Senatorial district, Alhaji Musa Adamu Lar addressed a press conference where he announced his resignation from his position saying that the prevailing circumstances and political realities of present APC in the state as well as the dictates of the moment where the ruling party lacks good leadership resulted in taking such decision to resign.
According to him, “it is unfortunate that it went to the extent that most card carrying loyal party members by extension the generality of the Bauchi populace have totally lost confidence in their stewardship because of the unethical behavior and misdeeds of the party’s leadership which are in conflict with the political ideology of President Muhammad Buhari who preaches national patriotism, zero tolerance for corruption as well as fair play to all members.
“The hostile political environment around Bauchi APC poses a threat and danger signals to the existence, survival and sustenance of the party in the state, hence his decision to throw in the towel to safeguard his image as well as protect the party from attacks of members of the sinking opposition parties who have since lost touch with the people of the country.
“I wish to draw the attention of the National Chairman of the party and major stakeholders to consider the possibility of saving the party from strangulation in the state through incompetent leadership,” he added.
However, barely 24 hours after announcing his resignation, Alhaji Adamu Lar made a u-turn by announcing his decision to withdraw his earlier resignation, following what he described as intervention by some stakeholders who still needs his services in the party. According to him, “Rescinding my resignation is not a new thing in politics as you could recalled that President Muhammad Buhari before the last general election vowed never to contest election again but because of the pursuance by Nigerians they forced him to re-contest which he did for the best interest of Nigerians and the country in general.”
In countering the decision of the Vice chairman to withdraw his resignation letter, the state secretariat of the party through its chairman, Alhaji Uba Ahmad Nana on Sunday 13th September, 2015 told newsmen that the party has approved the resignation of Alhaji Lar and wish him well in his future assignments. Uba Nana said the party will set all modalities in motion to ensure the replacement of the Vice Chairman, adding “Adamu was part of all the decisions taken by the management and therefore could not complain that his advices were not taken into consideration by the leadership. The committee has accepted his resignation and wished him well, but he is still a member of the APC.”
Similarly, during the week, the state chairman of the party, Alhaji Uba Ahmad Nana announced the suspension of the state Vice Chairman, Hon Shuaibu Rahama over what the party alleged as his involvement in anti-party activities that needed investigation. The party said the Deputy Chairman was suspended to allow an investigation committee authenticates the accusations leveled against him.
“This is to communicate the decision of the State Extended Exco of the APC held at its secretariat on Sunday the 13th day of September, 2015. The said resolution is to the fact that the gravity of the allegations made against you resulted in forming a committee to investigate it and the fact-finding committee will not have a free hand to investigate you while you are in office,” the party said.
But Hon Shuaibu Rahama in his reaction expressed surprise with the suspension, considering that he held a meeting with the Exco including the chairman on Friday where he presented some suggestions, which the party accepted in good faith but immediately he left for Friday mosque such decision was reached. He pointed out that up to the time of his suspension nobody told him his fault, saying unless the party wants to capitalize on the role he played in leading the Izala group to the party secretariat and State Assembly where they registered their dismay for not recognizing them in allocating Hajj seats in this year’s exercise.
Another worrisome situation for the ruling party in the state is the decision taken by a group known as Buhari Coalition on Peace and Support for Justice, Bauchi State Chapter to give the two senators representing Bauchi South and Bauchi Central ultimatum to publicly dissociate themselves from supporting Senator Bukola Saraki as senate president within 14 days or face recall.
The chairman of the forum Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar while speaking to newsmen in Bauchi explained that the two senators, Senator Ali Wakili of Bauchi South and Senator Isa Hamma of Bauchi Central have defied the instructions of the party especially by aligning with PDP Senators and subsequently passed vote of confidence on the leadership of the senate against the instruction of the APC.
The forum said such attitude of the two senators is contrary to the position of Bauchi people in line with APC and the Presidency especially by taking stand that contradicts the interest of the party, hence the decision of the group and other 80 political groups and associations to give the two senators ultimatum.
“The decision of the two senators is a clear refusal to take the instructions of our party under which they were voted and they have set the ball rolling in a bid to frustrate Mr. President from accomplishing his mission of rebranding Nigeria for the good of Nigerians,” Aliyu said.
Aliyu Abubakar stated that refusing to adhere to the ultimatum; the forum would be left with no option but to organize a peaceful state wide protest against the two senators in addition to initiating the legal process of recalling the senators from their positions for not representing the interest of the people.
But in a swift reaction, Senator Ali Wakili described the group as a bunch of illegal association and said he could never be intimidated by any group seeking favor or rent, adding that nobody can use the name of President Muhammad Buhari to intimidate him considering that President Buhari is a straight forward somebody a good man, a man with the best of qualities.
“It has become a culture, especially in Bauchi, if anybody want to run you down, he brings in the name of President Buhari. Let us not drag the name of Muhammad Buhari into this issue because he does not know about it and he will never encourage it. It is sad to note that those people accusing me today were the same people that accused me during the electioneering campaign saying I am not competent to be a Senator. They were the one that were hobnobbing with Mallam Isa Yuguda, then the PDP candidate for the senatorial district, it’s unfortunate that they are the same bunch of unserious people.” Senator Wakili said.
It is a fact that the crisis in the ruling APC in Bauchi state is coming just barely less than four months of the APC administration in the state. Political observers say unless the leader of the party in the state, Governor Abdullahi Abubakar wades in to bring the warring factions together, the party may sooner than later implode. The question in many people’s lip is, can the party sustain its supremacy in the state with these crises few months into the new administration? Can the electorate of Bauchi state continue to be electing their representatives based on party affiliations especially using the famous slogan, “ Sak”? Can the elected politicians have an easy ride for their second term in 2019 with so much rancor already in the air? Only time will tell.