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Buni’s move to end APC rift in Kano collapses amidst protests

The move by the national secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to return governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as the leader of the state chapter of the party has stifled the party’s resolve to resolve the quagmire amicably as Ibrahim Shekarau’s led camp rejected Ganduje as the leader of the party in the state.

Observers had been optimistic that the party’s crisis was gradually coming to an end following chains of meetings held with the aggrieved parties by the national secretariat, especially with both parties earlier admitting to be eagerly waiting for the resolutions to be reached by the national secretariat.

But the much-anticipated template and the manner it was released on Monday has further thrown a spanner into the works of resolving the crisis tearing at the heart of one of the ruling party’s strongest bases with the 2023 electioneering just around the corner.

Daily Trust reports that the G-7 group, comprising Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator Jibrin Barau and five others, has been at loggerheads with Governor Ganduje’s leadership of the party in the state leading to two parallel executives in the state and a couple of ongoing court cases.

However, the party’s national secretariat had attempted to resolve the crisis administratively and broker peace by meeting with both groups and thereafter issuing a template for the harmonization of the party structure already in place by both groups.

It had set up a National/State Joint Supervisory Committee to implement the template with the committee to be headed by Governor Ganduje and assisted by Senator Shekarau.

Other members of the committee are Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle of Zamfara State, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Senator Abba Ali, with the national secretariat expected to also be represented.

The committee is expected to sit in Kano and within seven days complete and submit its report.

But a few hours after the template was communicated to the groups, the G-7 wrote to the national chairman of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), saying “the entirety of the content of your letter is totally unacceptable to us.”

The letter, which was titled “Re: Guidelines for the Harmonization of the Party Structure in Kano” was signed by all members of the G-7 – Senator Shekarau, Senator Jibrin Barau, House of Reps members, Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe, Nasiru Abduwa Gabasawa, Haruna Dederi and Sha’aban Sharada, as well as the chairman, Buhari Support Group, Shehu Dalhatu.

They said their reason was that the letter did not acknowledge all the proposals tabled by both parties at the several reconciliation meetings.

They also said they were disenchanted that the letter had gone viral before it got to them.

In the letter under reference, the national secretariat of the party had reiterated among other items on the template for harmonisation of party structures that Ganduje “is the undisputed APC leader in Kano State and as the leader, he is encouraged to demonstrate leadership to accommodating key stakeholders.”

It had thereafter stated that a “bottom-top caucus shall be constituted at each local government area.”

And for each caucus, members are expected to include (where applicable) serving senators from the LGA, serving members of House of Representatives from the LGA, serving members state House of Assembly from the LGA, serving council chairman and his deputy, commissioner from the LGA, special advisers from the LGA, members of CECPC from the LGA, an honourable minister from the LGA, and one woman to be nominated by Ganduje in consultation with Shekarau.

It also stated that all caucus members are restricted to only their LGA and each LGA caucus will meet and come up with a proposed structure for all wards and LGAs while the joint supervisory committee reserved the right to adopt or amend any proposal submitted to it by the local government caucus.

Observers, however, noted that the template by the national secretariat did not consider the reality that the G-7 was operating with, but inexplicably reinforced what the group had been fighting against, full control of the party structure by the state governor and being side-lined in the affairs of the party at the state level despite their contributions to the success of the party in the last election.

“If you look at the supposed members of the caucus, you will see that the governor will continue to have an upper hand because most of those that are supposed to constitute the caucus will be his people. For instance, in Nasarawa LGA where Malam (Shekarau) comes from, he will more or less be a lone voice in the caucus because others based on the template will be loyalists of the governor.

“The same is applicable to almost all the other members of the G-7”, one of them observed.

“Why will they (G-7) accept this proposal when the court decision is in their favour and on that basis we heard they are asking for 55% and chairmanship?” another asked.

For renowned political scientist, Professor Kamilu Sani Fage, this recent upheaval is another major chance missed by the national secretariat of the party to take a decisive decision and nip in the bud a crisis that can cost the party not only a return ticket to the Kano State government house but also a return ticket to the Aso Villa.

“Right from the beginning, they could have nipped the crisis in the bud. That was before either the congresses or immediately after it before they go to the court.

“But now that they have gone to court and it seems that the court’s verdict is in favour of the G-7, and from all indications perhaps even the latest appeal could go that way, so with this, the G-7 have an upper hand,” he said.

As such, any decision that the national secretariat of the party will want to reach, it must be acceptable to the G-7 as well as to the governor’s side, Prof Fage said, adding that “now, if they tilt towards the government side, they are not taking the crisis seriously because already the court has given a verdict in favour of the G-7”.

He advised that for the national secretariat to truly resolve the crisis, it has to take into consideration the realities on the ground.

“Politics in Nigeria is not about only who is in office or who is influential but it has legal and constitutional basis. So, the party cannot break the laws of the land and expect people to abide by it,” he said.

The approach adopted by the national secretariat, for the likes of Prof Fage, is thus not such that will augur well for peace and unity of the party.

But for others, the national secretariat is at a crossroads because while the G-7 has legal backing, the governor still enjoys the support of the majority of the national assembly members, the state assembly members, as well as the chairmen of the 44 local government areas and the 484 ward councillors in the state.

Therefore, while the national chairman of the party’s CECPC, Mai Mala Buni, was quoted on Monday to have said the challenges currently faced do not constitute any threat to the party, political analysts observed that if the Kano crisis is not properly addressed before more party members begin to declare their ambitions to contest for its presidential ticket, the Kano crisis like those in other states will only encourage a free-for-all fight that can only spell doom for the party.

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