In a move to save his presidential ambition, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is set to meet Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje over the crisis rocking the party in Kano State.
Tinubu had on Sunday met with Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, whose camp has been having a running battle with Ganduje over the control of the party structures in the state.
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The former Lagos State governor singled out the leaders of the warring factions in Kano for reconciliation at a time when the just concluded congresses of the party had triggered a crisis in 13 states.
The meeting between Tinubu and Shekarau had raised dust in Kano, regarded as the votes’ bank of the ruling party.
The congresses had polarised APC in the state into two with the governor’s camp being chaired by Abdullahi Abbas while Shekarau’s faction has Ahmadu Haruna Danzago as chairman.
The crisis reached its crescendo last Tuesday when an FCT high court gave a judgement upholding the parallel congress held by the Shekarau-led faction and voided the Governor Ganduje faction.
The battle between the camps assumed a violent posture on Thursday when thugs torched the campaign office of Senator Jibrin I. Barau. A petition has since been written to the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman, indicting top shots in the governor’s camp including its chairman.
The camp loyal to Governor Ganduje led by Abbas had denied sponsoring the attacks.
Why Tinubu wants Kano crisis resolved
A stalwart of the party told Daily Trust that Tinubu waded into the matter as part of plans to advance his yet to be declared presidential ambition. The former Lagos State governor has been romancing with Ganduje since after the 2019 general elections.
Tinubu had last month visited an elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, in Kano, where he sought for the northern leader’s support towards the actualisation of his presidential ambition. Previously, clerics in Kano State had endorsed Tinubu’s presidential ambition.
The source said internal wrangling rocking the party in Kano State would affect Tinubu’s ambition, hence his intervention.
“Tinubu’s interest in all of these is the number of votes that can come from Kano. A good politician cannot play with the number of votes from the state. Lagos and Kano are central to any politician’s presidential ambition. Combined votes from the two states are over two million and that is why Kano was determinant of the 2015 and 2019 elections,” the source who is close to Ganduje and Shekarau said, pleading not to be named.
Another source said power brokers in the APC including a section at the centre and some governors who are allegedly averse to the Tinubu’s presidential ambition, are fuelling the feud.
“You know some powerful personalities in Abuja have reservations on Tinubu’s presidential ambition, thus they see this as an opportunity to advance their course by decimating the camp of Ganduje,” the source said.
The upcoming meeting between Asiwaju and Ganduje
Contacted, the Kano State Commissioner of Information, Muhammad Garba, said Governor Ganduje was also invited by the national leader of the party for the peace parley.
In a phone interview, he said; “Tinubu invited the two groups, both Malam Shekarau and Kano State governor to the reconciliation meeting. Asiwaju decided to hear from Malam first and subsequently hear from the governor and if there is any reason for reconciliation, then they take it from there.
“If you look at it politically and historically, there is always a contest or struggle for power after a second term. It happens during Shekarau and Kwankwaso.
“But at the end of the day, whether they are reconciled or not, the election will be conducted and Allah decides whoever emerges as governor, senator and what have you.”
Also Monday, the Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Lawan Musa, told Daily Trust that a notice of appeal has been filed against last week’s judgment that recognised the ward congress of Shekarau’s faction.
He added that they have also filed a motion for stay of execution and other motions, which he said they believe will tilt the tide in their favour.
Shekarau met Asiwaju without our consent – G-7 sources
Sources in the camp told our reporters that Shekarau went to the meeting without the blessing of other members of his camp.
Operating under the G-7, the Shekarau’s camp has Senator Barau (Kano North), Rep Shaaban Sharada, Nasiru Auduwa, Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe, Haruna Isa Dederi, among others as key members.
One of the sources said the former governor was yet to brief them on the outcome of his meeting with the APC national leader.
“As far as we are concerned, the meeting was personal and not for our group because he went there without our permission and since he returned, nobody has been briefed.
“What I can tell you is that nobody can handover Kano to anyone come 2023. The state is bigger than anybody,” one of the sources said.
He emphasized that the crisis rocking the APC in Kano was “to solely free the party and open it up to all in the state. As it is now, many people are being side-lined. They are practicing politics of exclusivity and it is not good for our democracy”.
Another source said they would meet today. “There is the possibility of asking Shekarau to tell the world that he went to Lagos on his own,” he said.
A member of the Governor Ganduje faction, Engineer Ramat Ungogo, said the meeting was a sign that the governor’s side is winning in the ongoing crisis.
Ungogo, who is the Chairman of Ungogo LGA, said if Tinubu had invited Ganduje, it would have been interpreted as though “father and son are combining to deal with Shekarau”.
Tinubu’s media aide, Mr Tunde Rahman, pledged to call our correspondent when his comment was sought on why his boss was interested in Kano.
He was yet to call up till the time of going to press last night.
Ganduje’s faction authentic – APC
The national leadership of the APC yesterday insisted that the congresses attended by its delegation were authentic. The party also said it was yet to receive and study the recent High Court judgment recognising Shekarau’s faction as legitimate in the state.
Speaking with newsmen on Monday in Abuja, Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, said the party did not send parallel state congress committees to the state.
“We are responsible leaders of the party and we won’t like to comment on a judgment that we haven’t seen.
“All I can tell you now is that we are going to apply for a certified true copy of the judgment. We haven’t seen it. We need to study the judgement.
“We didn’t give letters to two committees! How could we have done that? We won’t put fire in our own house. We know the people we gave the official letter to go to Kano and conduct the official assignment. That is the team we will accord recognition to,” he said.
In a separate interview, Barrister Auwal Ibrahim, who led the team that conducted the congress which produced the displaced Abdullahi Abass as chairman, told newsmen that the congress attended by Governor Ganduje was the authentic congresses.
There was no comment from Shekarau’s camp as the number of his media aide, Dr Sule Ya’u Sule was not going through.
By Ismail Mudashir, Saawua Terzungwe (Abuja) & Clement A. Oloyede (Kano)