The battle between Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Senator Adamu Aliero over who succeeds the former is responsible for the crack in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered.
Leaders of the party at both national and state levels told our reporter that the quest by Bagudu and Aliero to place their ‘anointed’ candidates in good positions to grab the governorship ticket is the sole cause of the rift that enveloped the party in the state.
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While reports indicated that Bagudu, who chairs the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), is rooting for the Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami as his successor, Aliero, a two-term governor of the state, has Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi as his preferred candidate for the APC governorship ticket.
Both Malami and Abbdullahi are yet to declare for the governorship race, but sources close to them said they were only waiting for the appropriate time to do so.
The plot by the Aliero camp to grab the party’s soul, Daily Trust on Sunday reports, led to the recent emergence of a faction in the Kebbi chapter of the APC. While Governor Bagudu, Malami and their supporters are in one camp, Senator Aliero, the Senate leader and their followers are in another.
Aliero’s camp has Bala Sani Kangiwa, who was removed during the last state congress of the party as their chairman, while the camp of the governor has Abubakar Kana Zuru as chairman. Two secretariats of the APC now exist in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.
A ranking lawmaker told our reporter that the feud between Bagudu and Aliero was “purely because of the move to control the party structure to actualise the ambition of their anointed candidates”.
He said although Aliero played a key role in the emergence of Bagudu in 2015, the relationship between the two leaders has since turned sour.
“I think it is high time he (Aliero) let it go. He wants the Senate leader to pick the APC ticket but the governor’s candidate is Malami. This is the source of the dispute in Kebbi,” he said, pleading not to be named.
Speaking on the crisis, Aliero said political calamity awaited the APC in the state if it failed to treat all members with fairness, adding that imposition of leaders is unacceptable.
“There will be severe consequences if the APC in Kebbi State fails to be fair to all. During the last congress of the party, some members were selfishly removed as leaders while others were imposed to take over their positions. We will not allow that to be,” he said.
Bagudu was unavailable for comments, but the chairman of his camp, Abubakar Kana Zuru, said he was not aware of the existence of any faction in the state chapter of the party.
Dust trails peace committee’s shuttle to S/West
Meanwhile, dust is trailing the peace shuttle of the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led reconciliation committee of the party to the South West geopolitical zone and Kwara State.
The committee had last week embarked on a peace trip as part of the quest to address the crisis rocking the party in the region.
Disquiet in Lagos
The statement of the chairman of the committee when he led the panel to Lagos State on January 6, 2022, that there was no petition received from the state, has been generating reactions.
Senator Adamu said this when he met Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the course of his visit to the state.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that during the APC congress on October 16, 2021, there were four parallel congresses in the state. But the national caretaker committee endorsed the congress conducted by the mainstream of the party, led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and attended by Governor Sanwo-Olu.
Amidst the lingering issues within the state chapter, the reconciliation committee stormed the state and was received by Cornelius Ojelabi.
Speaking during a meeting with Sanwo-Olu, Senator Adamu said his committee was in Lagos to seek advice from him and stakeholders in the state and not for any reconciliation because there was no petition from Lagos to the national body.
But other aggrieved members accused the committee of being economical with the truth. One of the aggrieved stakeholders, Mr Fouad Oki, who chairs the ‘Concerned Lagos APC Group,’ said none of the aggrieved members was invited for any reconciliation meeting. He described the reconciliatory move as a ruse as it was designed to, according to him, sanction the illegal congress conducted in the state by the mainstream party.
He said the leadership of the party would meet him in court.
Abiodun, Amosun adamant in Ogun
In Ogun State, the reconciliation committee met with the warring factions of the party separately on January 7 in Abeokuta, the state capital.
The two major factions battling for the soul of the party in the state, led by Governor Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, had last year conducted parallel congresses from wards to the state level.
During the visit to Abeokuta, the Adamu-led 11-man panel met with the Amosun group, which submitted two petitions at the Mitros Residence in Abeokuta, while the committee met with Abiodun’s faction at the Presidential Lodge, also in the state capital.
Both separate meetings were held behind closed doors. Although the committee chairman had hinted on the plan to bring leaders of the warring factions together for a single session, that was not achieved until the committee left the state.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that during the meetings with both factions in Ogun State on Friday, the groups were adamant on their stance to be in charge of the party.
The much-touted sharing formula between the groups also reportedly hit the rock, it was gathered.
While briefing newsmen after meeting the Amosun faction, Adamu said the committee was optimistic that the crisis would be resolved.
Asked if there was a sharing formula to appease the two factions, Adamu said there was none. However, after listening to their grievances, he expressed optimism that the crisis would be settled.
While addressing the Abiodun faction, Adamu assured all members of the party in the state that the committee would adopt the principle of fairness, equity and justice in solving the crisis facing the party.
In his remark, Governor Abiodun lauded the party for choosing the path of reconciliation to guard against polarisation in Ogun.
Lai’s camp kicks
The visitation of the committee to Kwara State on Monday might have left more questions than answers in its wake over the protracted leadership crisis rocking the party.
Amidst the expectations to reconcile the two warring groups led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the visit of the committee may open another vista about the fortunes of the Kwara APC as the 2023 electioneering enters top gear.
Although the committee, which arrived in the state on Monday, had promised the governor during a courtesy visit that it had a mandate “to listen and reconcile all the sides,” Lai’s camp has accused it of bias.
In a statement by the publicity secretary of the party, Ibrahim Sharafdeen, a lawyer, on Wednesday, the faction noted that the body language and conduct of the former Nasarawa governor were at variance with the committee’s objective.
But when contacted, the caretaker committee chairman of the Kwara APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari, who is a staunch loyalist of the governor, said the “committee has met and listened to both sides and has gone. They only said they would give their report to the body that sent them. But all they are interested in is for all of us to work together as a team.”
In Osun, uproar trails calls for Oyetola’s resignation in Buni’s c’ttee
Our correspondent in Oshogbo, the Osun State capital, reports that the calls for the resignation of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola from the national caretaker committee of the party raised dust.
The Osun Progressive (TOP) caucus, led by Rasaq Salinsile, had during the meeting with the reconciliation committee demanded for Governor Oyetola’s resignation from the Buni-committee.
Top is the faction loyal to the former governor and present Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
However, when the Adamu committee met the leadership of the party on Sunday evening, the secretary of the state congress committee of the party in the state, Mr Sunday Akere, appealed to the committee to disregard the demand of TOP caucus.
We’re committed to resolving our crisis – Sen Adamu
In an interview before the trip to South-West, Senator Adamu had assured party members across the country of the commitment of his committee to resolve the crisis rocking the party across the country.
“When you are resolving problems, especially issues pertaining to human behaviours, you don’t talk about what you have achieved. We listened to complaints and tried to resolve them the best way we could. Don’t be surprised that after you turned back to another part of the country, something that had already been done could reopen for some reasons; and you don’t have control over that. We have made headway, if not, we will not be talking to you,” he said.