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Dimensions of APC crisis in Kaduna State

It was for some strong reasons that the All Progressives Congress (APC) set out to capture Kaduna State during the 2015 General Elections. As the…

It was for some strong reasons that the All Progressives Congress (APC) set out to capture Kaduna State during the 2015 General Elections. As the North’s most politically significant state, home state of the then Vice President Namadi Sambo of the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and state of residence of APC’s presidential flagbearer, Muhammadu Buhari, Kaduna State was, in the context of 2015 elections, what Russia was to Adolf Hitler’s Germany during the second world war.
Therefore, the party’s victory in Kaduna State was not just marginally essential as it spoke volumes of its huge might and the corresponding appeal both of which translated into a very wide and solid support base in the state in particular and the country in general.
APC’s victory in Kaduna State was not a surprise because a lot more factors than ever imagined worked for the party.
The APC which began to take root in Kaduna State with the emergence of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed as Chairman of its Interim Management Committee rapidly grew to become the strongest party in the State. Baba-Ahmed, though a new person in the game, effectively deployed his vast knowledge as a trained political scientist, his wide network of contacts as a well-known public servant and almost all his facilities including two popular  broadcast media outfits to package APC in Kaduna State.
He was definitely not alone on the job as there were others like Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufa’i who was then the party’s interim Deputy National Secretary and therefore surfaced at the times of need to make an input. All those who joined APC particularly the PDP’s one-time Chairman in the State, Alhaji Yaro Audi Makama Rigachikun, who led about 80 others, all of the PDP stock, in the defection were clearly enticed by what appeared to be the irreversible progression of the new party.
But even while all those achievements were being recorded, it also became obvious that certain contradictory tendencies manifested by not a few strong members were likely to constitute a threat to the cohesion of APC in Kaduna state.
Divisions within the APC in the State which are as old as the party became much clearer in the build-up to primaries during which every group began to loudly sing its own song. Although after the primaries which produced Nasir El-Rufa’i as the party’s gubernatorial flagbearer, attempts were made to bring the groups together for the purpose of the general elections, the divisions re-appeared even more boldly after victory was eventually attained.
Since then, the crisis in the APC keeps growing with a lot more of its dimensions than earlier known becoming manifest. Even those who initially thought that it was just a natural disagreement that would therefore naturally fizzle out have now begun to express the fear that the APC in Kaduna State needs much more than the simple or usual measures to overcome the hurdles.
At the centre of the crisis is, of course, Governor El-Rufa’i. Since his arrival on the scene as a contender, he has continued to be the man to whom some people like to defer and, at the same time, from whom many others like to differ.
El-Rufa’i actually worked hard and paid handsomely to get to where he is now and this fact is, perhaps, what is making him to behave like a conqueror.
What is happening in APC in Kaduna State is a totally unwarranted which was created and is being sustained by some busy bodies who have already started making fortunes out of it. Such people have successfully turned the crisis into an enterprise on which they depend for survival.
Moreover, the crisis is a continuation or extension of the war of attrition between some individuals. It is therefore not the governor that is the problem here because without some individuals being the closest to him, he, certainly would not have many aggrieved groups to contend with.
El-Rufa’i is, for example, a factor in the tussle between Senator Suleiman Usman Hunkuyi and Honorable Isa Mohammed  Ashiru Kudan only to the extent that he is the governor and the senator is one of his strongest political allies. It is a common knowledge that the two have been perpetually in conflict with each other and Hunkuyi who, as a senator and one of El-Rufai’s confidants, is therefore now having an upper hand, appears completely unwilling to allow for the accommodation or involvement of Kudan or any loyal member of his group in running the affairs of the party or governance of the state.
  Similarly, Senator Shehu Sani and El-Rufai’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, Uba Sani, have been known to be at dagger’s drawn with each other for an unreasonably long time. Even a little knowledge of the ego-inspired rift between the two of them will necessitate the conclusion that Uba Sani will always use his influence in the party and the government to ensure that his rival is permanently kept out of both.
While some dimensions of the APC crisis in Kaduna State such as the ones already highlighted can be explained in the context of the conflicting political interests of some individuals, there are other dimensions that are new and confusing. 
The rift between governor El-Rufa’i and Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed is one of such new dimensions. It is the view of a lot of concerned party members and other people of the state that the El-Rufa’i-Hakeem saga which is being terribly exaggerated is too costly for the APC and Kaduna state to bear.
Right now, there is a growing belief that once the rift between El-Rufa’i and Hakeem is resolved, all the other associated ones will quickly go. And this is what is making some critical elements and groups in the party to be more persistent in there calls for a ceasefire.
It is, meanwhile, particularly important for governor El-Rufa’i to appreciate the huge challenge that the present scenario within the APC in Kaduna State presents to him. He is certainly the only one who possesses the right mechanism to deconstruct and simplify the complex issues that have constituted the bones of contention between and among certain figures in the party.
He is expected to be able to distinguish his own battles from those of others and, at the same time, adopt the most appropriate strategies for handling them.

 Gimi writes this piece from Kaduna. He can be reached at [email protected]

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