The Kaduna chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC is in disarray. The house is divided against itself, following alleged anti-people policies practiced by Gov. el-Rufai, writes, correspondent, BASHIR BELLO.
For a very long time now, all seems not to be well with the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Kaduna State, as the party is divided against itself even though members pretend as if all is well within the party.
Only recently, some party chieftains who had been observant of trends unfolding in the party and state decided to break their long silence.
First to fire the salvo was Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district, Senator Shehu Sani, who criticised Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s policies, describing them as anti-people policies.
Senator Sani in an interview with newsmen said that el-Rufai was running the state in such a way, “he will end up ruining all of us, which I will not be part of. He has taken some steps, which have only attracted anger from the public against him.
“He is a governor, I’m also a Senator. He is not bigger than me, neither am I bigger than him. So, as far as I’m concerned, whether el-Rufai is a governor or whatever, anything which he does that does not tally with what is supposed to be done, I will certainly tell him.
“He (el-Rufai) is a technocrat, while I’m an activist and a revolutionary. So, my power base is the common people, the masses who constitute my strength. They are the people I have lived with and fought for over the years. The way the governor is running the affairs of the state government is one which if care is not taken, we will all sink.
Continuing, Sani said, “He has to take cognisance of the fact that he met people that were impoverished, that were muscled, harassed and demoralised by the government of the PDP.
So, first of all, they don’t need harsh policies that will further impoverish and alienate them. We need to carry them along, taking cognisance of the situation, which we find them. I fundamentally differ with him on that issue,” Senator Sani said.
Unfortunately, Gov el-Rufai’s policies have continued to hit badly on those who actually voted him in the last election and they wonder if this is how the governor intends to pay them.
Speaking to the Nigerian Pilot Sunday, a victim of the governor’s demolition policy, Mallam Shehu Aliyu, whose house was among those pulled down in Zaria, said his house was not within the premises of Alhudahuda College, but it was among those demolished by the government they elected.
He further said, “I am shedding tears because some people are using the powers Allah has given them to push us out of our houses.
“I am taking solace in the fact that Allah is in heaven waiting for all of us. I wish to thank el-Rufai for this reward. We are very grateful. I also wish to thank a former Permanent Secretary and former INEC Executive Secretary, (Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed) for engineering the demolition.
“As you can see, most of us don’t have anywhere to go with our families, yet they don’t care. The fact that our houses did not fall within the premises of Alhudahuda also does not concern them.
“They are telling us they are ignorant and they don’t care about people like us who are less privileged,” Aliyu said.
Similarly, the ban on street begging was least expected because the beggars out rightly declared their total support for Governor el-Rufai during the last general elections.
As a result of this, the ban on street begging led to a face-off between the beggars and the Governor.
Though, the whole thing started when a female suicide bomber strangled a baby on her back and detonated a bomb killing herself, the child and about 25 others in the ancient city of Zaria.
The sad event happened precisely at Sabon Gari Local Government Area (Dogarawa Secretariat), venue of a screening exercise for civil servants and office of the newly appointed Interim Management Committee Chairman, where swearing-in of councilor was going on.
Following the incident, Governor el-Rufai as part of security measures, announced ban on street hawking and begging and vowed to arrest anyone found contravening the law.
But for the beggars, the ban by the Governor at that material time implied that he defamed them as terrorist. They threatened to take legal action against him for calling them terrorists.
Others, who felt the government’s decision infringed on their right to live, staged a protest to challenge the governor’s decision, which they said is a gentle way of calling them terrorists hence the need to take legal action against him for defamation and to seek legal redress.
They dared the Governor, insisting that they will remain on the streets, until the government gets them gainful employment.
In their argument, the beggars maintained that they have the constitutional right to stay wherever they wish until their demands are met, asking the government to prepare their graves because they were prepared to fight the battle to the finish.
Following this unguarded utterance on the part of the governor, the beggars in their hundreds resulted in mass exodus from the state capital to other areas where they feel they can continue begging to sustain themselves.
However, checks by this paper on the beggars’ colony along Kano Road New Extension, which serves as their residential abode, showed three Toyota Hiace buses, one with registration number XX661 DKA, loading the beggars most of whom are crippled or blind.
Further inquiry revealed that the vehicle was evacuating these indigent persons from Kaduna to Dambatta in Kano State.
According to one of the beggars, who spoke to this paper anonymously, they were returning to their villages in Kano State.
Another eyewitness confirmed to the Nigerian Pilot Sunday, that four other vehicles loaded with some of the beggars had departed for Zamfara and Sokoto States earlier.
One of the chiefs of the disabled people at the colony, Alhaji Abdullahi Ismail, told our correspondent that they were not surprised by the Governor’s ban on street begging because during his campaign visit to the colony, he had informed them that if he became the governor of the state he would ban street begging.
Alhaji Ismail, however, expressed regret that no provision has been made by the state government for the disabled in the state as promised.
“We are doing our own part of the agreement by sending away beggars, who are not from Kaduna State, then we will submit the list of disabled people from Kaduna State to the governor and if he refuses to fulfill his part of the agreement, we are going to embark on a protest.
“We however, call on all our members to respect the government’s law and stop street begging as we are doing everything possible to see that the government provides them with means of livelihood.
“I also want to use this opportunity to call on the state government not to only focus on disabled beggars, but on people who are strong and healthy.
“When you visit front of banks, big restaurants and shopping malls, you will see able men and women begging there. So the government should go after them and not only our people,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, 60-year-old Mallama Hadiza Alhassan, averred that if the government can provide them with any tangible means of livelihood, they will be happy, stressing that they are even ashamed of begging, but they are forced into it, for lack of any means of survival, she explained.
Interestingly, those who have tagged themselves in-house beggars and those who have returned to their states of origin, have expressed regret over voting for el-Rufai, lamenting the manner in which the governor has reciprocated, by banning them.
While the governor has had to contend with the face-off with the less privileged in the state, he was again criticised for his rash utterances by Senator Shehu Sani.
Sani had faulted Governor El-Rufai over his imprudent remarks, “that whoever was not happy with appointments made so far by his administration could go and climb the Kufena hills, jump and fall down.
Senator Sani noted that the statement was irresponsible, coming from the governor of a state.
Again while this was dying down, the bubble burst and cracks appeared in the walls and inner closet of the party. There are cracks and party chieftains are beginning to speak in one voice against the policies of the governor.
The party chieftains which includes, former interim management chairman of APC in the State, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; Hajiya Hafsat Baba, representatives from the two camps of aspirants, who ran against the Governor in the primaries, Mohammed Salihu Lukman and Isa Ashiru and that of Senator Shehu Sani in the state party, have decided to join forces against the misdemeanors of the governor.
The factional group under the auspices of True All Progressives Congress broke their long silence, accusing Governor Nasir el-Rufai of running anti-people policies in the state.
Speaking to the Nigerian Pilot Sunday in a chat, in Kaduna, the Publicity Secretary of True APC, Alhaji Murtala Abubakar, called on the national leadership of the party to urgently intervene and rescue the party from been completely hijacked by the state government and also to live up to its responsibility by bringing the party in the state to live.
He urged APC national leadership to set up credible machinery to conduct elections into vacant offices in the party.
According to him, “it is with regret that we have decided to speak out because other avenues are no longer available and we will fail the millions of people who expect our party to operate with requisite standard of responsibility and accommodation if we continue to maintain silence.
“What prompted this media chat, therefore, is the desire to avert what appears to be the hijack of our great party by the state governor with apparently have the tacit support of the party’s national headquarters.
According to him, “What is even most alarming is the fact that the absence of functional and autonomous party structures in the state has created a long distance between the state government and the teeming party members.
“This reality is clearly in line with the desire of the state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai to rule without any opposition or counsel from any quarter,” he said.
On Governor el-Rufai’s policies in the state, the group said, “we are pained to join the outcry over the anti people policies of Governor Nasir El-Rufai which have continued to produce misery and pauperisation.
“The high handedness of the Governor, which has now created the impression that an APC administration in the state has turned its back against the people, is a matter of huge concern to us.
“We are tremendously worried over the issues of unpaid salaries, irrational dismissals and termination of appointments as well as other terror tactics that have placed people under constant stress. We do not support the strategy of the state government that seeks to compound the sufferings of the people,” they said.
On the state of the party, the factional group demanded, “having now expressed our absolute determination to ensure that the state government does not get the opportunity of hijacking the party, we wish to make the following demand.
“The national leadership of the party should set up credible machinery to conduct elections into vacant offices in the party in Kaduna State.
“The national leadership should resist any pressure to subvert the wishes of party members by ensuring that lackeys and fake delegates are not used during the elections.
“The national leadership and the president should disregard any presentation by Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai with a view to unduly influence the appointments of party members from Kaduna state into positions in government.
“This particular demand is informed by the realisation that the governor intends to continue to cripple the party by punishing loyalty and commitment while at the same time rewarding lackeys and others who satisfy his need to amass all power around his person,” the factional group noted.
In a swift reaction, the All Progressives Congress, APC State acting Publicity Secretary, Salisu Wusono, said all that el-Rufai’s policies are in line with the ruling party’s manifestos and agenda.
Wusono, who was reacting to a media briefing by a group, True All Progressives Congress, said the party remains only one in the state and advised some of its members to stop being deceived by opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to distract the good work of the governor.
Wusono said, “APC as a party has a manifestos and also have constitution and we are working in line with the constitution of our party. We have only one APC in Kaduna State. The party in Kaduna has leadership and structure.
“We are running the affairs of the party according to the manifestos, constitution and ideology of APC.
It is laughable if somebody in Kaduna State says APC is not functioning because the party has governor in Kaduna, 90 per cent of members in the state and National Assembly so if anybody who comes out to say APC in the state is in disarray is a joker.
“As far as we are concerned, we worked together with Governor Nasir el-Rufai to make APC alive in Kaduna and removed the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP out of Kaduna State.
“Anybody party member that is questioning the policies and leadership of Governor is either ignorant or doing it deliberately.
“That person may also be working with external forces in the PDP. Is it free education policy; is it 255 primary centres that will be well built and equipped? Is that what somebody will call anti people’s policies in the state?
“Is it verification of workers to have accurate data and fish out ghost workers created by PDP that is anti peoples’ policy?
“Any party member who is talking about our governor’s policies in a negative way is the person running anti peoples advocacy in the state to deprive the masses of good things, go through governor el-Rufai’s 2016 budget proposal recently presented to the State Assembly and you will see.
“Is also laughable for anybody who claims to be an APC member, but is telling the APC national leadership and the Presidency to disregard the Governor of Kaduna State.
“Governor Nasir el-Rufai is the founding member of the APC, active in the merger committee and is signatory to the merger document on the bases which INEC issued the certificate of registration to the APC.
“The national leadership knows our entire attitude more than governor El-rufai,” the APC acting Publicity Secretary further said.

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