Things are not yet normal within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Katsina State as series of events unfolding by the day show signs of a divided party along key political figures.
The party’s supposedly suppressed divide is becoming visible. At present, the party is believed to be divided along the Governor Aminu Bello Masari, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and Senator Abu Ibrahim, camps.
The party’s divide, according to political observers, is a time bomb waiting explode at any given moment, giving the mass influx of people from different political parties into the APC, as each camp struggles to assume a favourable position.
There have been several complaints on how the party is being led by the state exco. Many of the complaints arise from the neglect of the party’s founding members, especially in the sharing of political offices and appointments.
The first casualty of the party’s internal wrangling was the former Speaker of the State Assembly, Sabiu Muduru, who was impeached. Muduru was believed to have been imposed on the members after a standing rule of the House that barred first timers from assuming leadership position was amended to pave way for his emergence.
Many members, by that law, were forced to step aside. Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the party along with some powerful bigwigs imposed Muduru.
With about a year and half into his speakership, the APC dominated members rose against the leadership and replaced Muduru with their choice. This was one of the major visible cracks that took many by surprise.
Thereafter came the defection of one of the party’s state working committee member, its Treasurer, Nasiru Usman, who based his action on neglect and high handedness by the leadership of the party. Usman alleged that many of them were relegated to the back bench having worked tirelessly to ensure victory at the polls.
Besides, there are complaints from members of the Masari’s Restoration Agenda, a platform for Governor Masari’s campaign in the run for the governorship. The platform’s Youth Leader, Mustapha Radda, believed that several men like him who labored for the party were not considered for appointments. Radda said people who were never seen in Katsina were called upon to reap from where they did not.
The recent Funtua incident was what put the nail in the coffin of the party. The much suppressed internal wrangling came to the fore as some party members and loyalists revolted against party leaders with many pointing accusing fingers at several directions.
A sitting senator, Abu Ibrahim and members of the House of Representatives from the zone were attacked by irate youths believed to be rooting for their sponsors and members of the party as well.
Ibrahim had accused his political foes in the zone of being behind the attack but did not mention any name.
However, it would be recalled that since the senatorial primaries of the party in 2015, the three aspirants, including Inuwa Imam, Idris Rufa’i and Senator Muhammad Liman had demanded for a fresh primary election on allegation of partiality in favour of the incumbent Ibrahim.
They alleged that the party officials connived with the election representatives by allowing Ibrahim’s supporters free movement and intimidating delegates in his favor. The trio then staged a walkout which sparked off unrest outside the venue and at the entrance, forcing the policemen to use tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The Funtua incident made several party members to open up on the next possible line of action for the party.
Meanwhile, the party leader, Governor Masari vowed to prosecute and dismiss all members found to be behind the incidence.
Masari, who said this when the Funtua APC stakeholders paid him a sympathy visit, said the party would not condone lawlessness and violent.
“We shall fish out the perpetrators and their sponsors, to be prosecuted and also dismissed from the party,” said Masari.
The governor said dialogue remained the best option for settling political differences and not violence, adding that no stone would be left unturned to unravel the perpetrators of the acts.
Some notable stakeholders from Funtua believe that the incident was a manifestation of “long neglect of faithful party members who have now been relegated to onlookers”.
Malam Nura Ajuba, however, cautioned the authorities against indiscriminate arrests or victimization of the electorate, saying it will not solve the problem.
Ajuba enjoined Governor Masari to avoid anything that would tarnish his image.
He added that the APC should take corrections from the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was also accused of political victimization and manipulation.
While reacting, Sallau Arawa, attributed the public outrage to “Ibrahim’s dominance in the zone”.
Arawa, who said people were watching the crisis that ensued to various senatorial zones in the state, stated that Ibrahim is always being accused of manipulating the party in the zone.
For the opposition PDP in the state, the last incident in Funtua was a clear pointer to what awaits the party in the run up to 2019 elections.
The state party chairman, Salisu Majigiri, said it was unfair for the APC to link its failure at the zonal rally to the PDP.
Majigiri said the PDP had held several defection activities without rancour and misgivings.
According to him, the APC had made some promises that may not be realised.
However, the APC seemed to have finally woken up from its slumber as it has constituted a seven -member committee to look into the Funtua incidence.
The party’s chairman, Shitu Shitu, dismissed the insinuation of division in the party.
Shitu said the APC as a party was intact and has no problem whatsoever with its members both within and outside the state.
He said, “we don’t discriminate among our members. The Funtua incident was a misgiving between the aspirants and the elected persons. This committee will act and deal decisively on it.”
On the treasurer issue, Shitu said Usman was a crying wolf who was reaping the repercussion of his deeds.
He said, “This is a man who openly spoke at a conference in his home town and promised to work against the majority interest of the party. It was his ward that was dealt with not us at the state level. We have set up a committee to investigate.
“If a treasurer defects, what about those heavy weights like Ibrahim Ida who joined us. We are out to ensure justice and fairness to all our members.”
Source: Daily Trust