Sometimes in August, 2018, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in fresh efforts to reclaim Kano State, appointed a new Caretaker Committee led by Alhaji Rabiu Suleiman Bichi to lead the party in the state in the battle ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The appointment of these officers was informed by the eventual return of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former governor and a senator who was then representing Kano Central Zone to the party with a retinue of supporters.
The intention of the appointment was perhaps to dismantle the existing leadership structure of the party and to substitute it with a new one, which would give the returnees a fair share of the power structure of the party and guarantee their future ambition and attentions.
However, that single initiation became the thunderbolt that tore the party apart, leading to the exit of many big weight party faithful, including the former governor of the state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and the then chairman of the party, Senator Masaad el Jilbrin Dogowa who left on the eve of the 2019 governorship polls in the state.
Up till date, the party in the state has not known peace as it has stumbled ever since then, from one crisis to the other, the latest being the proxy war being fought by Ambassador Aminu Wali, Nigeria’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who in addition to being a senator was a former governor of the state.
While Alhaji Rabiu Suleiman Bichi, the party’s state Caretaker Committee chairman represents the interests of Kwankwaso, Alhaji Mahammina Bako Lamido is a representation of the Ambassador Wali axis of the party.
Not too long ago, the bitter confrontation, which had been smouldering within, broke out in the open, with a pocket of party men, led by Mahammina Bako Lamido, announcing the sack of the 27 member party’s caretaker committee in the state and the setting up of a new committee.
Briefing the media, the faction alleged that the mandate of the Bichi- led Caretaker Committee has expired and was not renewable by virtue of Section 31(2)(e) of the PDP’s constitution 2017(as amended), which clearly states that the tenure of a caretaker committee shall not exceed a period of three months.
Lamido, who is purported as the new state Chairman of the party, held that the Caretaker Committee was dissolved by the party chairmen of the 44 local government areas in the state, adding that Section 24(2)(3) of the party’s constitution, empowers them to resolve political, social and economic issues affecting the party.
“It is pertinent to state that the illegal and illegitimate Caretaker Committee, who has overstayed its welcome, has obnoxiously taken steps of issuing letters of suspension and verbal warnings to various members of the party, accusing them of anti-party activities, without following due process,” he stressed.
He described the Bichi-led Caretaker Committee as a harbinger of disunity and chaos in the party, saying the party has not experienced any form of peace since they assumed office a year ago.
He recalled that the 44 PDP party Chairmen in the state had, on two occasions, alerted the National Working Committee of their precarious position as it relates to the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent Caretaker Committee in the state, but none of their correspondences had attracted any action from the center.
He, therefore, advised Alhaji Rabiu Suleiman Bichi and his faction to refrain from parading themselves as leaders of the party in the state.
Alhaji Bichi, however, said the faction were jokers as they have no powers to effect any change of party leadership in the state while imploring the members of the Kano PDP to discountenance the said dissolution of the caretaker committee as it is null and void.
He recalled that during the merger arrangement between the RAPC and the PDP in Kano State, there was an understanding to share the positions on the basis of 51 percent to RAPC’ and 49 percent to the members of the old PDP.
“Unfortunately, the old PDP resisted the moves and there was so much rancour and so much problems and at the end, the state Executive Committee was dissolved, giving way to the Rabiu Committee. The party executives at the state level and at the local government level were all dissolved”, he stated.
He added: “However, due to the magnanimity of the leader of the RAPC then, Kwankwaso, he said that those who were willing to work with us should maintain their positions. It is only when somebody resisted the new arrangement that the RAPC chairman in the area would take over his seat.
“Since that time, we have been going on like that and they have taken us to court three times in Kano and in all the cases, we won including the case at the Federal High Court, whose judgement was delivered on the 30th of October, affirming that the plaintiff did not prove their case.”
Bichi explained that, “What surprises us the most is that we didn’t appoint ourselves. We were appointed according to the provisions of the PDP’s constitution by the National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Executive Committee and when they appointed us, they didn’t give us any time line upon which we should excuse ourselves and leave” .
Daily Sun observed that in the litigation instituted by some executive members of the party in the state, led by Alhaji Inuwa Gwarzo against the PDP and nine others,which was before the Justice Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, the incumbent party caretaker chairman was validated as the authentic leader of the party.
The suit, which largely challenged the removal of the said party officers from their positions, prayed the court to nullify every action taken by the current Caretaker Committee, including the nomination of political candidates in the just concluded elections.
In the judgement with reference number FHC/ABJ/CS/10578, the court held that the dissolution of the Kano PDP Executive Committee was done in accordance with the party’s Constitution.
In statement on Friday, the caretaker committee alerted party members that the Lamido’s faction was working in concert with the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of Kano State, saying that their mission, which had been exposed, was a ploy to undermine their chances in the forthcoming re- run elections in the state.
Bichi who personally signed the statement, said the faction and their sponsors had pledged their allegiance to the APC government on the eve of the 2019 elections, resulting that they had voted against the PDP, in both the state and national elections.
The party further alleged that the faction was duly compensated for engaging in anti – party activities in the said elections with many juicy appointments in the present APC government, insisting that they were rewarded with the position of a commissioner and a managing director in the present government.
Bichi recalled that the name of their purported chairman/ spokesperson was listed in the APC five man leaders of Dala Local Government Area, which was popularly known as ‘Yan buyer’ after the last elections.
He, therefore, urged the members of the PDP in the state to work hard for the success of the party in the forthcoming rerun polls in the state, adding that their action is nothing but a calculated attempt by the present APC-led government of Kano State to undermine their chances of the PDP in the forthcoming rerun polls.
“We certainly believe that the APC-led government is not comfortable with the soaring popularity of our great party both at the state and national levels, hence, they employed a fifth columnist in our midst, the statement said.
A one time chairmanship candidate of the PDP, Comrade Aminu Sa’adu Beli lamented that since the party was reduced to a set of factions rather than a family of a single political group, it has known neither peace nor progress.
Speaking to Daily Sun on the tussle, he noted that, “What is happening here is a power tussle between Aminu Wali’s and Kwankwaso’s flanks. But when it comes to election, the two groups don”t have much voting value to the party”.
“During the 2019 national elections, for instance, Kwankwaso’s gang sabotaged the the party and during the state elections, Aminu Wali faction did anti-party activities against the party. The consequence is that the party is a loser in the end”.
He described the crisis as a power tussle between the giants of the party, holding that the way forward, however is to dissolve all factions and enthrone a leadership that could go there to serve all the members of the party in the state.