Paul Orude, Bauchi
The outcome of the recent ward, local government and state congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State have been causing a furore.
While some would argue that it was peaceful, others would describe it as a sham. Interestingly, those giving the verdicts are doing so based on the political divide they belong to within the APC.
Some are of the opinion that, with the outcome of the exercise, Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State now has the upper hand, as far as the party structure is concerned, ahead of the 2019 general election.
But the more careful watchers of political events in the state disagree, maintaining that the road ahead would be anything but smooth for the governor, insisting that, in politics, “it is not yet over until it is over.”
Daily Sun’s investigations showed that, rather than unite the party, the APC congresses in Bauchi State only succeeded in widening the gulf between Governor Abubakar and his opponents in the party, especially the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
The peak of the political manoeuvering was the return of the state chairman, Ahmed Nana, and his executives to lead the party. They were returned unopposed in the state congress that was boycotted by prominent stakeholders, including Dogara, Dr. Yakubu Lame, the senators and members of the House of Representatives from the state, with exception of Haliru Jika.
While the Abubakar camp has been celebrating the outcome of the congresses, it is not the same for the Dogara camp, which is crying foul, alleging that the ward and LG congress committee as well as the state congress committee had been compromised by the governor.
One of the aggrieved stakeholders, Senator Nazif Gamawa (Bauchi North) alleged that the congresses were nothing but imposition of candidates, against the wishes of party faithful, and a calculated move by Abubakar to hijack the party structure in the state.
It is believed that, if the outcome of the politicking is anything to go by, Abubakar has literally taken control of the APC as the leader in the state.
However, a politician from the state conversant with the power play within the APC in Bauchi between Abubakar and Dogara warned of imminent danger ahead, if the differences and grievances are not immediately resolved.
The politician, who pleaded anonymity, said: “It is true that MA (Governor Mohammed Abubakar) might have taken control of APC in the state following the controversial congresses in the state to position himself at an advantage to get the ticket for re-election, but it might not be that simple because critical stakeholders who are aggrieved are waiting for him, come 2019.”
Nazif said his group conducted a parallel ward congress on May 5, when the committee refused to release forms to them after waiting for hours.
A member of the group, Aminu Tukur, representing Lere/Bula, had earlier written to the state chairman of the party, Nana, on the need to ensure fairness for all contestants.
Daily Sun learnt that the Dogara group’s major grievance was the alleged disregard for the national directive of the APC by the Dr. Tony Macfoy-led committee.
The Dogara group claimed that they were shut out by the governor during the local government congress.
The group then boycotted the state congress, and went ahead to file a case in the Abuja High Court to seek redress. They said they were dissatisfied with the exercise.
Other aggrieved stakeholders who went to court are: Senators Nazif Gamawa, Hamman Misau (Bauchi Central), Yakubu Lame, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, Maryam Bagel, Captain Mohammed Bala Jibril, Aminu Tukkur and Dr. Ibrahim Zailani.
Speaking with Daily Sun, Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Kawuwa Damina, said it was rather unfortunate that some aggrieved members of the party went to court.
“The party has mechanisms for resolving grievances and every loyal party member ought to channel whatever they are aggrieved about through the proper channel. I see no reason they have to go to court,” he said.
Kawuwa opined that anyone taking the party to court did not have the interest of the party at heart, alleging that such politicians might have made up their minds to leave the party.
Another politician, Bappa Aliyu, described the action of seeking redress in court as unnecessary when the party has structures for resolving crises.
Aliyu, a former member of the state assembly, who represented Misau constituency, described the congresses in the state as peaceful, and urged all aggrieved members to seek redress through party mechanisms.
Political analysts believe that, with the wrangling within the APC in Bauchi State now snowballing into a major crisis whose proportion and impact cannot be predicted, all eyes will now be on the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu-led reconciliation committee to mend broken fences.
Whether this will succeed remains to be seen in the months ahead. Already, there are hints that moves to reconcile the Abubakar and Dogara groups would collapse, if the APC congress disagreement is anything to go by. For now there appears to be an uneasy calm in one of the two groups.