Stilling reeling from a devastating defeat in the last elections in the hands of the APC, the Bauchi State chapter of the PDP is engrossed in a leadership crisis believed to be masterminded by two leaders of the party in the state who want to take over the party structure, writes UMAR SA’ID MOH’D
The Bauchi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is enmeshed in leadership crisis. The cause of the crisis is till hidden, but there are whispers from inside sources that the crisis rocking the party can be traced to the struggle for the soul of the party in the state between the former governor, Isa Yuguda and the former FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed.
Even prior to the general elections where PDP was roundly defeated in the state, the bad blood between the two political leaders in the state came to the public especially during the campaign tour of former President Goodluck Jonathan to the state in the build up to the election.
The former president was stoned in Bauchi and there was then an altercation between the then governor and the former minister on who should be blamed. While the former minister laid the blames wholly on Yuguda, the former governor countered, blasting Senator Bala.
“The question that the governor must answer quickly without equivocation is: why did the thugs not stone him (Yuguda) whilst he was addressing the same rally, on the same podium and on the same day? Yugudu should also tell the world why he has suddenly turned into an APC spokesman, by exonerating the opposition party of culpability in the attack on the PDP presidential campaign team in Bauchi.
“Many Nigerians still remember recent media reports that Yuguda is the real godfather and sponsor of the APC gubernatorial candidate in Bauchi State and that he has not been campaigning for President Jonathan’s re-election in the state. Again, history is there to expose the Governor as an unabashed 5th columnist in the PDP,” Senator Bala accused.
On his part, Yuguda said, “Contrary to his claim that the stoning was done by APC thugs, all the boys so far arrested by the police have turned to be Bala’s boys. So, who is an APC mole then?”
The tussle then was kept in abeyance and it may have fully resurfaced with the two gladiators trying to fight to take over the party through their proxies. Insiders say Bala’s concern is to annex the party structure preparatory to his declaration of ambition to go for the national chairmanship of the PDP.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that following the woeful defeat of the party in the state, some strong members of the party made several moves to oust the present state executives under the chairmanship of Alhaji Ibrahim Yaro Yaro. The crisis started when a member of the State Working Committee of the party wrote a letter demanding for explanation on allegations of abuse of office, from the state chairman of the party, Ibrahim Yaro Yaro and the secretary of the party who was the running mate of the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the last general election Sama’ila Burga, giving them 12 hours to respond or face disciplinary action.
Before the expiration of the 12 hours ultimatum, the chairman of the party in trying to counter the move hurriedly announced the suspension of eight members of the State Working Committee. In another counter move, the group allegedly loyal to Senator Bala, announced the suspension of the chairman Ibrahim Yaro Yaro and the secretary of the party Samaila Burga, and in their place appointed Alhaji Musa Haruna Shitu as acting state chairman while announcing Barrister Mukhtar Abubakar as acting state secretary.
Nigerian Pilot understands that the embattled chairman, Yaro Yaro draws its strength from the backing of Yuguda, while the rebel group led by Alhaji Musa Haruna Shitu is believed to be loyal to the former FCT minister.
Speaking on the issue, Alhaji Haruna Shitu said the chairman and his secretary were suspended because of their inability to account for over the N800 million deposited in Keystone and in Diamond Bank generated from 10 percent membership dues deducted monthly from the salaries of former political appointees of the state government as their contribution towards running the affairs of the party.
He alleged that the two officers spent the money without the knowledge of the executives and without following the laid down rules of spending as enshrined in the party’s constitution, adding that Burga had resigned his appointment as state secretary of the party when he was nominated as the deputy governorship candidate of the party in the last general election.
He said a committee has been appointed to investigate the allegations and advised the members of the party to remain calm and wait for the outcome of the investigation on the allegations of abuse of office against the two officers. He described the purported suspension of members of their camp by the Yaro Yaro led group null and void adding “as chairman he has no right to suspend anybody.”
On the other hand, the embattled secretary and Yuguda’s loyalist, Burga said the money alleged in their letter was N300mn and the money was used in running the day-to-day affairs of the party and all the members of the Working Committee signed and collected money for one activity or the other and described their suspension as null and void.
While the proxy battle rages on, the Yaro Yaro led group announced the suspension of eight key members of the rebellious group what he called “violation of party’s laws.”
The statement stated that the affected officers contravened section 58 (1) and 59 (1) of the party’s constitution and this according to him warranted their suspension.
The suspension and counter suspension by the two groups has further injured more a party that is already on its knees following its woeful outing in the last elections. The question on the lips of the remaining PDP faithful in Bauchi is will the two masked gladiators call their proxies to order at least for the sake of the party and allow a better healing process?