- Party endorses El-Rufai, Buhari for 2019
By John Shiklam in Kaduna and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Katsina
Indications emerged at the weekend that all might not be well in the camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Katsina State following the splitting of the party by people believed to be loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari in the state.
The spokesman of the new group in the party, Alhaji Baba Dahe Kurfi, told THISDAY on phone yesterday that the state Governor Aminu Masari, has betrayed the confidence and trust of the people who voted him into power to provide purposeful leadership, and that the state remains backward in terms of development.
He said the internal bickering is as a result of alleged lack of democratic principles “as the governor has pocketed the party and its leadership without consulting the stakeholders.”
Kurfi said loyalists to President Buhari who had been together with him in the last 16 years which include Senator M.T Liman, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Hon. Abdullahi Machika, Hannatu Musawa, Dr. Mansur Funtua, Hon. Gambo Danmusa, Alhaji Tijjani Zangon Daura and Hon. Sada Ilu were among those who held a meeting at the weekend in Kaduna where the decision to split the party was taken.
“The state government collected bailout and Paris club fund but there was no single project of even N1 billion in the state besides painting of schools which the government embarked on without providing instructional materials for educational development in the state,” the APC chieftain alleged.
He also alleged that the governor appointed the publicity secretary of the party as acting state party chairman instead of following the democratic process.
According to him, “All options are open to us. We will not fold our arms and allow someone to ruin our integrity by promoting undemocratic attitude in our party.”
It was also learnt that the new group has all the governorship aspirants on the APC platform in the last 2015 elections.
The group also called on the national leadership of the party to take urgent steps to check what it described as the “lack of internal democracy in the party in the state,” warning that if the situation is not quickly controlled by the national leadership of the party, the party risked losing in 2019 elections in the state.
Kurfi accused the state governor of appointing some opposition party members into his executive council, stating that those who were openly known to have voted for PDP in the state were now enjoying the administration.
“What kind of administration is Masari operating in our state? “This warning is coming against the backdrop of glaring division and needless bickering among the various stakeholders and their supporters over the purported hijack of the party by Masari without consultation.
“It is unfair for our state governor to show clear bias by imposing people of his own choice without consulting the party stakeholders. Since coming to power, Masari has never consulted the stakeholders of the party for any advice.
“This possible scenario does not augur well for our collective interest as a party, and except something is done urgently by the national leadership, the party would be divided,” he added.
All effort to contact the state acting APC Chairman, Mr. Shitu S. Shitu, proved abortive.
However, the governor’s spokesman, Abdu Labaran Malumfashi, told THISDAY that “we have spoken to some group of journalists here in Kaduna today (Sunday) and all the allegations made were discussed with journalists. So I cannot say anything as we have made our own side clear.”
Meanwhile, a faction of the ruling APC loyal to Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has endorsed him and President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 governorship and presidential elections respectively.
The decision was taken at a stakeholders’ meeting of the faction which held at the weekend at the Murtala Square, Kaduna.
The meeting which was presided over by the acting state Chairman of the party, Alhaji Shuaibu Idris, was attended by El-Rufai, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, who recently fell apart with the governor, members of the House of Representatives and state House of Assembly, top government functionaries as well as party officials from the 255 Wards in the state.
The meeting “unanimously passed a vote-of-confidence on President Buhari and el-Rufai for their outstanding performance, commitment, and dedication to the development of Nigeria and Kaduna State respectively”.
Idris in an address during the meeting commended stakeholders for standing by the party in overcoming threats to its unity and progress.
He declared that the party supremacy was non-negotiable, affirming that the party will discipline and sanction members that are working against its progress and unity.
The acting chairman disclosed that the APC in the state will continue to operate an open-door policy and embrace all members who accept its discipline and uphold its manifesto.
Also in his remarks, Governor El-Rufai commended party leaders and members for their efforts, assuring that his government will not compromise on its commitment and dedication to improve education, health and security sectors.
He said the government will continue to implement programmes that will grow the state economy, attract investments and create jobs.
He admonished party members to remain united and stressed the need for forgiveness in order for the APC to forge ahead.
On his part, Senator Hunkuyi, urged party members to close ranks and work hard for the unity of the APC .
He recommended that the party must work out a framework to encourage a sense of belonging and a road map that will guide it to consolidate its 2015 victory.
Hunkuyi who represents Kaduna North senatorial zone, pledged his commitment to strengthening the party and promoting reconciliation.
According to the communiqué signed by Hon. Samaila Suleiman, Hon. John Audu Kwaturu, Hon. Yahaya Baba Pate, and Lanti Halima Hyet, a former chairperson of Jaba local government area of the state, “It was also resolved unanimously that there is only one APC leadership in Kaduna State under the leadership of its acting chairman, Alhaji Shuaibu Idris.
“The stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the 29th July 2017 Delegates Congress election in the state and affirmed the outcome of the said Delegates Congress to the national headquarters of the party;
“The stakeholders also resolved to pursue genuine reconciliation with aggrieved members who, despite their grievances, have shown deep commitment to the progress and stability of the party in the state;
“The meeting further affirmed that party supremacy is non-negotiable, and that members must subject themselves to the constitution and articles of the party, while party shall not condone or tolerate any form of indiscipline, insubordination, or anti-party activities.”