Inauguration will kill APC in Zamfara – Marafa faction
More aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress may defect to the Peoples Democratic Party as the APC inaugurates state executives this week, thereby dashing hopes of factions.
In Lagos State, the faction of the APC led by Olajide Adediran, aka Jandor, defected to the PDP last week amid fanfare.
Sunday PUNCH learnt that some other factions will be defecting this week once the APC officially recognises the factions loyal to the governors across the country.
Sunday PUNCH had reported that except in Kano State where a court had officially recognised the faction loyal to Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, the national leadership of the APC will recognise the factions loyal to the governor while in states without APC governor, factions loyal to the most influential politician will be recognised.
The party had set up a national reconciliation committee led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu. The committee is supposed to submit its recommendations on Monday, according to a timetable released by the APC.
However, top sources within the party told Sunday PUNCH that the panel failed to deliver its core mandate as none of the factions had reconciled in their respective states. The panel is now expected to submit its report to the APC headquarters on Monday.
“The panel has already concluded about 95 per cent of its work. They visited no fewer than 10 states including Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Gombe and Kano. In states where the committee could not visit, aggrieved persons came to Abuja.
“However, except in Gombe State where Governor Inuwa Yahaya and Senator Danjuma Goje openly agreed to reconcile amid certain conditions, things are pretty much the same in all other states,” said a top APC source.
The refusal of some factions to sheathe their swords, it was learnt, was caused by the APC’s insistence on the fact that it would not conduct another congress regardless of the circumstances of the friction in any state.
“The fact is that all the governors believe they are the leaders of the party in their respective states. They believe that making any concessions will weaken their position and their chances in 2023. In Lagos State for instance, were you expecting Sanwo-Olu and Bola Tinubu to concede anything to Jandor?
“Or do you expect Governor Oyetola in Osun State to recognise the faction led by Rauf Aregbesola when he is seeking re-election? That is the challenge. So, you will see defections anytime from now in some states,” said an APC chieftain.
The Secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the APC, Senator James Akpanudoedehe, did not respond to calls sent to his mobile on Saturday.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said all Nigerians including aggrieved APC members, were welcome to the PDP.
“The PDP is a party that is democratic and is governed by its constitution and anyone who is qualified to be a member of the party will be admitted. So, anyone who is willing to come to the PDP is welcome. We welcome every Nigerian into our party,” he stated.
Crisis deepens in states
In Benue State, aggrieved members of the APC have filed a suit in the state High Court restraining the party from inaugurating three officials including the chairman, treasurer and assistant secretary.
Leader of the group, Omale Omale, who was the consensus chairmanship candidate, disclosed this to Sunday PUNCH on Saturday.
He said that he and two others had on January 18 filed an originating summon and application for an interlocutory injunction pending the determination of the suit.
Omale said that the hearing of the application had been slated for Monday, January 31, 2021.
He added, “Our application is not to stop the inauguration of the state executive but only the three officials; the state chairman, treasurer and assistant secretary. And the law is settled that whenever there is a restraint, the party is obliged to comply so as not to distort the court process.”
While ruling out the option of defecting to another party, Omale said, “Defection is not an option, we will pursue the case to a logical conclusion and if the party goes ahead to inaugurate the people, then we will know what we will do through the court.”
In Zamfara State where Governor Bello Matawalle’s faction has been rejected by Senator Kabiru Marafa and former governor Abdul’Aziz Yari, the aggrieved factions are also spoiling for a fight.
The spokesperson for Marafa’s faction, Alhaji Bello Maradun, said anybody attempting to inaugurate the state executive committees without considering the position of aggrieved members wanted to kill the party.
Maradun stated, “I am telling you that we are already in court to challenge the legality of Governor Bello Matawalle’s faction of the party and we are waiting for the court’s decision.
“We will however follow all the rules and regulations of our party constitution to make sure that our faction of the party, Senator Kabiru Marafa’s faction, is not sidelined.
“How can anybody haphazardly inaugurate some favoured factions of the party knowing full well that there are still crises in almost all the states?”
When contacted for comment on the planned inauguration of the state executive members, the spokesperson for former Governor Yari’s faction of the party, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji, said he would not say anything because they were still in court.
In Gombe State where Senator Goje’s faction had yet to fully reconcile with the Governor Yahaya-led APC, things were also not clear.
One of Goje’s aides, Saidu Kumo, said his principal would take a position this week.
He said, “Honestly, I can’t tell you exactly what it is but after my meeting with distinguished Senator Danjuma Goje, I will know what our stand is.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Secretary of the APC, Moses Kyari, expressed optimism that Goje would play an active role in the party’s national convention following the recent reconciliation.
Kyari said, “I want to make it categorically clear that there was no such thing as a possible repeat of congresses in Gombe as attested to by the spokesman for the party chairman and governor of Yobe State.
“We will know the true test of the reconciliation when we get to the convention in Abuja. It is expected that we will be seeing him, we see him as an integral and useful member of the party, every member is important, let alone Senator Goje.”
In Kano State where a court has recognised the Senator Ibrahim Shekarau-led faction against that of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, Shekarau’s camp said the court judgment must be obeyed by the national headquarters of the APC.
Alhaji Haruna Danzago is therefore expected to be inaugurated as the state chairman of the APC in Kano State.
Danzago, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, said, “As law-abiding party members, whatever the law says is what we will abide with… If peradventure the APC at the national level goes ahead to constitute the delegates from the members loyal to the Ganduje-led faction, we will meet and decide on the next line of action. However, I do believe the APC secretariat will do the right thing to avoid contempt of court.”
We await court judgment, Lai Mohammed camp insists
In Kwara State where a faction loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has refused to reconcile with the Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak-led faction, Sunday PUNCH learnt that consultations were ongoing regarding the next line of action.
The ‘APC loyal faction’ led by the minister, however, said it had nothing to do with the PDP and its leader, Senator Bukola Saraki.
In an interview with Sunday PUNCH in Ilorin, Chief Sunday Oyebiyi, the deputy chairman elected by the faction, said the faction had yet to take a decision on what it would do if the national caretaker committee of APC refused to swear in the executive elected at the state congress.
He said, “If the National Caretaker Committee of the APC recognises the faction of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq in Kwara State which is illegal, that is a disservice to the majority of APC members in the state.
“We have not taken any decision to defect to any other political party in the state. In fact, we don’t have anything to do with Saraki or the PDP. We are waiting for the decision of the caretaker committee on the appeal with the national reconciliation committee. When we get to the river, we will cross it, but there is no decision to defect as of now.”
In Ogun State where Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s faction is claiming legitimacy over that of Governor Dapo Abiodun, the Amosun faction said there would be no comment for now.
The chairman of the Amosun faction, Chief Derin Adebiyi, simply said, “No comment my brother,” when he was contacted.