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p19 edited analysis APC: The paradox of ‘one house’ on the Plateau From suspicions of a splinter group within the All Progressives Congress (APC) to…

p19 edited analysis

APC: The paradox of ‘one house’ on the Plateau

From suspicions of a splinter group within the All Progressives Congress (APC) to conflicts of pre-election matters, it is not all that rosy for the party in Plateau State, despite its frantic attempts to prove the contrary.

From Lami Sadiq, Jos

To many people, the speculation that there exists a deep rift between Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, is one that only time can confirm or discard.

However, in the midst of growing rumors that a crack exists in the Plateau State Chapter of the APC, the uneasy calm among the governor, party chairman and the minister, and the alleged threats to suspend members of the party who fail to withdraw their pre-election cases in court, the signals emanating from the state can be described as dangerous.

Yet if these issues are strong enough to generate uneasiness, the emergency stakeholders meeting held at the Government House in Jos, on January 25, 2016, where the issue of a parallel APC executive body was discussed, did little to address the issues and portray followers of the party in the state as members of one big family.

At the end of the meeting, which was attended by Governor Lalong, his deputy, Sonny Tyoden, minister of youth and sports Barrister Solomon Dalung, APC chairman, Lateb Dabang, Ambassador Yahaya Kwande and other party stakeholders, Chindo Dafat, the APC publicity secretary, told journalists that the aim of the meeting, apart from discussing issues of setting up a finance committee for the party, was to mend fences and address an alleged report of a parallel APC in the state.

Dafat said that the meeting has resolved to sanction any member of the party who attends meeting or partake in any activity organised by the “so-called splinter group.”

A member of the APC, who attended the meeting, but pledged anonymity, told our correspondent that when the issue of a parallel APC came up, no member admitted to being part of the splinter group, or gave locations of where meetings were held.

The source said that the party threatened members who have refused to withdraw their pre-election cases, particularly those from Jos North-North in the House of Assembly, and Jos North/Basa Federal Constituency.

However, the APC secretary in the state, Bashir Musan Sati, recently denied that the APC boat was rocking.

Sati said the party in Plateau State is solid, and that any speculation of a division among members remains the imagination of those peddling it.

He, however, did not deny that the party was battling with some pre-election cases which, he said, are simple conflicts that the APC could resolve them, advising members to exhaust all avenues for seeking redress within the party before going to court.

Sati reminded members that the party stipulates penalty for those who breach its guideline.

Most of the issues surrounding the pre-election cases affect Jos North, which is also the stronghold of the party.

In the local government, there are three major political groups that pulled their strengths together to ensure success for the party at the polls.

The groups are the Buhari Integrity Group, which is made up of mostly members of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), Unity Group, whose members are said to be loyal to former minister of information, Dasuki Nakande, and the G15, a group of former members of the PDP, Labour Party and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). The members of the G15 are mostly the political associates and friends of the governor.

Despite the coming together of the three groups to ensure victory for the APC at the polls in the 2015 general elections, the Buhari Integrity Group and the Unity Group have pending pre-election suits against the party.

Abdul Nasir Saleh, a member of Buhari Integrity Group, is spearheading a certificate forgery case against the House of Assembly member for Jos North-North, Ibrahim Baba Hassan, while Nakande is challenging the primary election for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency won by Suleiman Yahaya Kwande.

Governor Lalong’s attempt to broker peace a few weeks back by asking Saleh to withdraw his suit against Baba Hassan failed.

A member of Buhari Integrity Group, Jamilu Baba, said that the group’s members have met and voted against the withdrawal of the suit, adding: “The case has gone to a stage where we cannot withdraw it. As members of the Buhari Integrity Group, we are bound to follow President Muhammadu Buhari’s examples of fighting our court cases to the end. Buhari pursued his cases in 2003, 2007 and 2011 to the end because he felt an injustice was meted to him, and he never withdrew his cases.”

Another thorn in the APC’s flesh in Plateau State is the alleged bad blood among some party leaders and Dalung.

It is said that many of the party’s chieftains in the state, especially the chairman, Dabang, worked against Dalung’s appointment as minister. It was alleged that Dabang unsuccessfully positioned himself to clinch the state’s ministerial slot.

This reason, perhaps, explains why the party never congratulated the minister after his appointment, despite the organisation of an elaborate dinner in his honour, by the governor.

Speaking on this development, Sati defended the party’s position, saying that congratulatory messages are not necessarily done on the pages of newspapers, adding that a congratulatory letter was sent to Dalung.

He also denounced speculations of tension between governor Lalong and minister Dalung.

Even though party sources say that Lalong and Dalung have buried the hatchet, there are reasons to believe that the two state’s political gladiators have exhibited some forms of rivalry in the past.

Pundits say that apart from them keeping their eyes wide open to the political development, especially as it affects their individual ambition, ahead of 2019, a silent battle of supremacy exist between them over who has the ears of President Muhammadu Buhari.

It is easy to infer that Buhari has a soft spot for Lalong, whose story of emergence to the governorship seat is one similar to that of the president.

Lalong’s election victory was a symbol of hope for the then opposition party, which defeated the PDP, after 16 years in power, in a defining fashion many describe as a miracle.

Dalung, on the other hand, is a man many say you can either love or hate. He is a renowned activist, who is not afraid to speak his mind and earned his reputation when he became a visible member of the Northern Elders Forum.

The rivalry between the two politicians may have started before the APC governorship primary poll in the state, when Dalung cried foul that the Dabang-led APC was angling to manipulate the election in favour of Lalong.

Even when Lalong won the party’s ticket, Dalung did not readily accept his victory, and boycotted most of the party’s activities in the state in the build-up to the general elections.

But if all is now well and settled between the governor and minister, as claimed by the party, pundits say it is desirable for them to pull their weights together and unite members of the party and quickly find ways of settling the thorny pre-election matters out of court.

In fact, to do otherwise, would mean committing the same mistakes made by the PDP in 2009, when some aggrieved members branched out to form what was then known as PDP 2, an ugly political development from which the PDP never quite recovered.


Adamawa APC hails Appeal Court judgment on Nyako

By Terkula Igidi

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State has applauded the Appeal Court for quashing the impeachment of former Governor Murtala Hammanyero Nyako by the state house of assembly.

The party said the verdict has exonerate Nyako from all allegations levied against him by the anti-graft agencies.

A statement issued by Alhaji Umaru Mijinyawa Kugama, APC Board of Trustee (BoT) member in the state, said the judiciary was living up to the expectations of the people.

He added that the judgment had also proved that the former governor was witch-hunted by the PDP led administration for telling them the truth and decamping to the APC .

“The PDP in their quest to capture Adamawa by all means thought that if they dislodged Governor Nyako, it would be easy for them to capture the state, not knowing that the former governor performed creditably well, such that even while he was away in exile, his party structure produced Governor Jibrilla Bindow and other senators, including his son, Abdul-Aziz Nyako,” the statement said.

A panel of five judges led by Justice Jumai Hannatu Sankey, at the Federal Court of Appeal, Yola Division in Adamawa State on Thursday, February 11, nullified the impeachment of Nyako.

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