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Kogi APC reconciliation deadlocked



Kogi Governor spits fire .....'If you trouble us, we deal with you'. Hide original message

In Kogi State, there are discordant tunes trailing the All Progressives Congress, APC, reconciliation committee, writes Kogi Bureau Chief, LabaranTijani

As early as 10am penultimate Sunday at the newly acquired All ProgressivesCongress, APC, secretariat in Lokoja, KogiState, members of the party had trooping in with the usual flamboyance indentified with politicians. Some came with their “boys”, some sneaked into the arena quietly, unnoticed, while others came in glamorously. In the offing was the reconciliation of aggrieved party members that felt alienated from the scheme of things with the new generation leadership led by AlhajiYahaya Bello.

The historic occasion was supposed to be in line with the directive of the newly constituted National Working Committee, NWC, headed by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that all aggrieved party members, particularly in Kogi State, should reconcile their differences to allow peace reign.

It was gathered that the national headquarters including stakeholders were not comfortable with the lingering internal crisis in the party which was occasioned with the way that the new leadership emerged two years ago due to unexpected circumstances.

To douse this fire that had polarized the party since the emergence of Governor YahayaBello, the new national leadership of the party urged the combatants to sheath their swords and embrace reconciliation, to enhance its winning streak at the polls.

Although, Governor Bello and his Deputy, Elder Simeon Achuba, were conspicuously absent, the chief of staff to the governor who many claim isthe de-facto governor led Bello’s group (popularly called GYB)which included the State Chairman of the APC, Abdullai Bello, and his executive members, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mathew Kolawole, local government administrators, as well as party chieftains like former Executive Director of Afri Bank and governorship aspirant in the last election, JibrinIsahEchocho,Senator Smart Adeyemi, political appointees including many aspirants vyingfor various elective positions in the forthcoming election.

The presence of a former Speaker of the House of Assembly,Abdullai Bello, and the member who represented Kabba-Bunu/IjumuFederal Constituency,DuroMesekowho are staunch members of theAudu/Faleke political family that were at daggers-drawn with the Bello-led administration showed that the opposition was adequately represented in the reconciliation move. Like Meseko, the former speaker said he received a text for the said meeting and he did not know if others were invited or not.

State chairman of the APC said the aim of the committee is in tandem with the new vision of the state government which sought to provide a level playing ground for all stakeholders.

He stressed that members of the committee were painstakingly selected and are people with in-depth knowledge of the workings of the party, urging them not only to see that aggrieved members return to the party, but ensure that new members are added to its fold.

While the party chairman admitted that the issues at stake are onerous tasks before the committee, Bello, however noted that theyare surmountable as the party’s hierarchy is ready to provide them with the necessary support to succeed in the assignment.

The party highlighted the terms of reference of the committee to include facilitating peace among the rank and file; facilitate networking and peace among members and organs of the party, as well as facilitate proper and enduring reconciliation among members and the party’s leadership.

In the same vein, Governor Bello,who was represented by the speaker of the Assembly,enjoined APC members to see themselves as ambassadors of the party in his renewed efforts to ensure that all matters that seemed to have been isolated are resolved.

The governor, who gave a 21-day timelineto the constituted reconciliation committee to submit their report, called on its members to ensure justice and fairness in the discharge of their functions, urging them to be truthful and sincere in the compilation of their reports, even asthe governor said politics remains a game of number and tasked the committee to do everything necessary to increase the ranks of the party in the state.

However, like a storm in the tea cup, the emergence of the reconciliation committee has drawn the ire of the Audu/Faleke political family and other interest groups.

Shortly after the committee was constituted, members of the Audu/Faleke group who felt shortchanged and have been grumbling for being alienated from the scheme of things, dissociated themselves from the move, saying the group was not aware of it. They saidMeseko and the former speaker were there in their own interest and not for the group.

Former Kogi East Zonal Chairman of the APC and Director-General of Audu/FalekeCampaign Organization in the 2015 governorship election,Daniel Isah, said the group has late Prince AbubakarAudu as the head, and since he(Audu) has transited by natural circumstances to the world beyond, AbiodunFaleke who is “still alive and kicking” is the new leader of that group, saying if anything is to be done with or by that group, he(Faleke) should be in the know or contacted to that effect for approval.

“It is very clear. It is like a kindergarten statement. The name is Audu/Faleke political family. Audu by natural circumstances left for the world beyond. The second person, Faleke, who is alive, is now in charge of the political family. If we are participating in a reconciliation move, Faleke has to give a directive or delegate a person or officer to attend the meeting.

“As far as we are concerned, DuroMeseko and Abdullai Bello are there in their own personal capacity. They are not representing the political family. As far as the political family is concerned, we are not aware of any reconciliation move. Nobody has informed us of any reconciliation move until we are informed, we are not aware that anything of such has taken place or is taking place”, he stated.

Equally, members of the Audu/Faleke faction of the APC in Kabba-BunuLocal Government Area (Meseko’s constituency) have dissociated themselves from the Meseko-led reconciliation committee created by the governor.They threatened mass defection to a new party.

In a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting on Tuesday which was signed by the Chairman, Chief Samuel Meseko, and other leaders of the group, it said they would not be part of a reconciliation arrangement of the governor led by DuroMeseko, describing it as ridiculous and laughable.

“The effort is ridiculous and laughable. Governor Bello is the problem of the APC in Kogi State. How can a problem be the solution? A major issue is the anti-democratic conduct of the governor. Examples include his decision not to follow the constitution of the party in the election of party executives; his unilateral handpicking of the state chairman in the last state congress and an imposition of members of his minority group as executives of the party at the ward, local and state levels,” the communiqué read.

The group stressed that a serious-minded person and group like the Audu/Falekeorganization will not take “his kangaroo reconciliation with a pinch of seriousness”, saying Governor Bello is not known for keeping promises.

“The entire political landscape of Kogi State and Bello’s political career are littered with carcasses of victims of his deceit. His offer of reconciliation is a poisoned chalice that anyone will accept at his own peril. We reject it”.

The group added that it distanced itself from any form of reconciliation that does not emanate from and with full participation of the leadership of Audu/Faleke political family which was shoved aside by the APC after the huge successes it recorded at the polls in November 2015.

The communiqué pointed out that although Meseko is their son, a leading figure in the Audu/Faleke political family in the state, he did not inform them of decisions that was reached at any level aimed at reconciling them with any group and as such, he cannot represent their interest in his new found affinity with the Government of KogiState.

Many party stalwarts said for a genuine reconciliation to take place, the national headquarters of the party will constitute the committee members, drawn from both sides of the divide, saying as it is now, nothing feasible will come out of the present committee.

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