Saturday PUNCH gathered in Abuja on Friday that the crisis in the Kano and Kaduna state chapters of the party was threatening to tear the zonal leadership apart.
Some of the party leaders with eyes on the party’s ticket at various levels in the 2019 general elections are fighting dirty over moves to control the party structure in the various states as well as at the national level.
Several secret meetings convened to rein in some of the gladiators have so far not yielded the desired results as some of them have started a public war of attrition.
On December 30, 2016, the North-West Zonal Woman Leader, Hajiya Aisha Kaita, accused the Zonal National Vice Chairman, Inuwa Abdulkadir, of misappropriating N21m meant for the procurement of furniture for the zonal office.
She also accused him of bias in the handling of the crisis in the Kano and Kaduna state chapters of the party.
Specifically, she told journalists, “I have it on good authority that the zonal National Vice Chairman in the person of Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir single-handedly opened and operates a bank account in the name of the North-West zonal committee with him as the sole signatory to the account in total violation of Article 23 (iii) of the party’s constitution.
“Furthermore, as an elected member of the zonal committee, I am aware that the Presidential Campaign Council funds meant for the zone were misappropriated by the zonal chairman.”
In response, Abdulkadir said contrary to her claims, the only account the zone operates was the one opened and administered by the party’s national secretariat.
He also said to the best of his knowledge, nobody had made any remittance to the account from March 2015 to date, noting that he had been maintaining the party’s zonal secretariat and vehicle from his personal funds and challenged anyone with a contrary information to make the evidence public.
While dismissing Kaita’s allegations as “pure” mischief, Abdulkadir said the woman leader was acting out a script written for her by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, and a former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
The Zonal National Vice Chairman told journalists in Abuja on Friday, “They (El-Rufai and Kwankwaso) are playing politics. I have some constraints as a leader of this party; they are from my zone. I am leading them; I don’t need to go into some kind of details of what they intend to achieve, either with me or anyone else. I am appealing to all my members to be law-abiding, to be more responsive and responsible in the conduct of this game of politics.
“They have aspirations which are legitimate and they are entitled to them. They can aspire to whatever office they wish in accordance with the constitution of our party and the constitution of the land, but there must be decorum.
“Our party will not accept a situation whereby there will be lawlessness and we will not encourage anything that will bring about disharmony among our members. I repeat that it is legitimate for anybody to aspire to any office he wants without going this way.”
He alleged that a week before the woman leader addressed journalists, El-Rufai’s media assistants had confided in a journalist that their principal was going to take him on with regards to the crisis in the state chapter of the APC.
The media aides, he further said, had also revealed that their principal would achieve his aim by teaming up with Kwankwaso, who is equally aggrieved over the handling of the crisis in the Kano State chapter of the party.
Abdulkadir said, “This did not surprise me because of the previous encounters I had with their principal (El-Rufai) and his threats and outbursts. On several occasions, I had meetings with him when, as the leader of the party in the zone, I made passionate appeal for him to take leadership and drive a process that would harmonise, reconcile and solidify the party in the state.
“One of such appeals I made was in the presence of other governors from the zone in his office, but his reaction was volatile and he threatened to beat me up and prevent me from coming into Kaduna.
“I kept my calm as a leader, considering the volatility of Kaduna State in terms of political reaction which cannot just be ignored, and the attendant threat it poses vis-à-vis the tremendous goodwill and support the party is enjoying in Kaduna State.
“The other governors share the same concern with me and he was pacified and it was agreed, after consultations with all concerned, to appoint a reconciliation committee under the chairmanship of Governor Aminu Bello Masari to put some more efforts in reconciling our members.”
According to him, the governor’s reluctance to cooperate with the Masari-led committee is stalling its work.
He also recalled that the crisis rocking the Kaduna State chapter of the party began from the conduct of congresses for the election of party executives in the state and that it was later carried over to the conduct of the governorship primaries.
The party leader also explained that when El-Rufai emerged as the party’s candidate and picked the former state party chairman as running mate, El-Rufai and his campaign team refused to recognise and allow the deputy chairman operate in that capacity.
Speaking on the crisis in the Kano State chapter, Abdulkadir recalled that the zonal leadership, on receipt of a petition from the ousted state chairman of the party, Umar Haruna Doguwa, who was said to be loyal to Kwankwaso, had protested against his removal from office by the state executive committee.
According to him, if any of the parties to the dispute is not satisfied with the decision of the zone, they still have a right to appeal to higher authorities.
In response, Kwankwaso said the Zonal National Vice Chairman was being economical with the truth with regards to the situation in Kano State.
The former governor, now a senator, who spoke through his spokesperson, Abdulsalam Aminu, said, “Abdulkadir cannot constitute himself into a “one-man party leadership.”
“With regards to the Kano issue, no decision was taken at the meeting in Dutse. Even if the meeting was properly constituted and conducted and decisions taken in that direction (to uphold the removal of the former chairman), the decision is supposed to be communicated to the national secretariat.”
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