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Ahmad Sani’s ANPP on its last legs

Tomorrow, March 22, two senators (out of the three from the state) and five members of House of Representatives (out of six) are decamping from…

Tomorrow, March 22, two senators (out of the three from the state) and five members of House of Representatives (out of six) are decamping from the ANPP to the PDP. The ANPP established itself in 1999 when ex-governor and now senator, Ahmed Sani, became the state governor. But by tomorrow Ahmad Sani will be standing virtually alone in the political landscape of Zamfara State.

Recently, members of the state House of Assembly decamped en-mass from ANPP to PDP, preparatory to running in the 2011 elections. When asked if they do not fear that ANPP could drag them to court and force them to vacate their seats for decamping while still in NASS, Senator Hassan Mohammed Gusau (Zamfara Central) said their decision is in line with the constitution which says members of a party in crisis can leave the party, since the ANPP at state and national level is factionalized.

According to him, “The problem is that we have been trying to see how we can organize the ANPP, but we are having a lot of factions and we felt it is not good for us as legislators to remain in the party. It is clear that there is no unity in the party. We have factions in the state, like the Mutawalle faction and the Abdulaziz faction. We found ourselves in confusion, because this one will invite you to a meeting today, tomorrow another will invite you. There is no way we can remain in a party that has no focus.”

On his part, Senator Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u of Zamfara North who is also decamping said it is clear that there exist factions in the ANPP which satisfy Section 68 of the Constitution.

With the development, the ANPP is left with only two elected members at the National Assembly: Senator Yarima and Rep Bello Mutawalle Maradun. Mutawalle is believed to be favoured by the ANPP to be its candidate in the forthcoming governorship election. The party is known to command large followership in the grassroots. This could swing victory to the party despite the departure of the elected officials. But Senator Nasiha insists that the ANPP is finished in Zamfara state. He said “I can tell you that no party can dislodge the PDP in Zamfara in 2011. We are the ones that carry people along in the state; we are always with the people. So, I don’t think that any party can just come and win. We in NASS are the people that have won elections right from 1999. By the time we leave on Monday, whoever is left in ANPP cannot make any impact in 2011.”


MURMURING IN PDP BY ‘ORIGINAL’ MEMBERS

Indications are that the state governor has pledged to give the two senators and all elected officials that decamp from ANPP to PDP automatic tickets to run in the 2011 elections. However, there has been murmuring in the PDP by original members who felt short-changed by the new entrants. Some of the PDP members have nursed the ambitions of running for various positions in 2011 but they are now being forced to dump such ideas by the state governor. This could lead to internal wrangling within the party that could be exploited by the weakened ANPP.

But reacting to such possibilities, Senator Ya’u said their movement to the PDP is as a result of high level consultations with officials of the PDP and the state governor. He said “We were asked to join the PDP. We were invited by the way which they know we handle our people. They know that I am a grassroots politician who is always with my people and considering the achievements we have made in the last three years, they felt that we are not supposed to be left out. With the invitation from the governor and stakeholders of PDP in Zamfara State, we felt it is better to honour their invitation. And we are going to join them by Monday.”

The calculation is that the senators crossing to the PDP are to bring their teaming supporters to the PDP to guarantee a second-term victory for Shinkafi. In return, the senators will also enjoy the governors’ support for a return to the Senate. It is a win-win for the governor and the NASS members.


HOW 1 + 1 MAY NOT EQUAL 2

However, one plus one is not always two in politics. The equation could change before the primary elections. There are indications that even Senator Yarima could move to the PDP before the election.

A source told Sunday Trust, “Yarima has been working for PDP long ago and is only waiting to officially cross to the party. What seems to be keeping the senator in ANPP is the leadership tussle that is bound to ensue between him and his successor in case he moves to PDP,” Senator Nasiha said.

He said the move to PDP is for progress and development of Zamfara State: “I am so impressed by the way the PDP is governing this country. I want to make example with the dredging of the River Niger. That project will open economic opportunities in the Northern part of the country and it has since been flagged off by Mr. President. PDP has tried in stabilizing our democracy, this is the first time that we have had up to ten years straight of democracy.

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