The All Progressives Grand Alliance is one party to watch out for in Nasarawa State politics, writes Adams Abonu
Taking into consideration recent developments in the politics of Nasarawa State, the sudden resurgence of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the political scheme of things deserves closer emphasis. This report examines the circumstances surrounding this political revival, the prospects it holds for the people of the ‘State of Solid Minerals’ and the implications to the political party’s national visibility.
Expectedly, a political party that participated in the last general election with a profound performance should be a force of reckoning in Nasarawa State. But the nature of Nigerian politics, where the ruling party in any state is the beacon of most almost made APGA in Nasarawa State a ghost of itself. It took the sense of purpose and the resilience of faithful party – the men and women – to keep the cock crowing and the flag flying.
APGA’s gubernatorial candidate in the last election, Mr. Labaran Maku had been the enduring rallying point against all popular expectations to the contrary. The bid to reassert itself politically in Nasarawa could be attributed to this gesture and the loyalty to a cause shown by other faithful, among whom is the party’s dedicated State Secretary, Emmanuel Yaro and Alhaji Abu, Maku’s running mate during the election.
Emboldened by some form of disenchantment over the shortcomings of the Governor Tanko Al-Makura All Progressives Congress (APC)-led state government, APGA in Nasarawa seems to be getting its grooves back.
The recent division in the APC-dominated House of Assembly further enhanced the resurgence of the opposition party. When six members of the Assembly led my Mr. Makpa representing Kokona West constituency expressed their displeasure to Governor Al-Makura’s appointment of 11 Sole Administrators to administer Local Government Councils upon expiration of the two-year tenure of the elected councils, APGA released a statement supporting the aggrieved six lawmakers.
“APGA as a political party committed to progressive ideals wholeheartedly supports the position of the members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, who opposed Governor Al-Makura’s anti-democratic moves. We urge the lawmakers not to relent on their bid to checkmate the excesses of the APC administration of Al-Makura.
“Nasarawa State is a state that should enjoy peace and this, Al-Makura wishes to breach with his undemocratic action and we call on the lawmakers to stand their ground to ensure that our state remains peaceful,” APGA’s press statement signed by Mr. Kure read in parts.”
Speaking to THISDAY on the blossoming chances of APGA in Nasarawa State, a member of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, who spoke on the conditions of anonymity, said “because we have seen the direction of the state government in addressing pressing issues in the state with draconian means, it behooves every reasonable mind to rethink the situation.
“I can tell you today that many of our members from the APC are in talks at various levels with APGA because of the promises the party now holds before Nasarawa people. Remember that Nasarawa electorate gave APGA unexpected support during the last election and we can consolidate on this pedestal. We cannot continue to stay in the APC where some of us are clearly told that we are not wanted.”
Nasarawa State’s demographic dynamics also seems to be favouring APGA’s resurgence. With religion and ethnicity still driving a better part of the state’s politics, certain indicators like the sentiment of majority of the Eggon nationality and a religious restructuring around political platforms seems to be playing into the party’s expectations. The Eggon ethnic group expresses some sense of entitlement over the politics of the state being the ethnic group with the most wide-spread identity.
Since the creation of Nasarawa State in 1996 by the General Sani Abacha junta, the Eggon nation has not produced a governor from their extraction. This has led to wide-spread agitations from the elements of the nationality. While notable politicians from the state like Senator Solomon Ewuga; Deputy Governor Silas Agara and Mary Akwashiki belong to other political parties, APGA is gradually assuming the political platform for the realisation of the Eggon aspiration.
Mr. Kure told THISDAY in an exclusive interview recently that the party was better prepared to “reclaim the peoples’ mandate” in subsequent elections in the state. The party’s scribe expressed confidence that Nasarawa electorate have seen the differences APGA could make and would “overwhelmingly” vote the promises offered.
“Our people have sensed that the current situation of under-development in Nasarawa would not have been if APGA was the party in power. The people now know that APGA would not have relegated their affairs to the background as we are seeing in Nasarawa today.
“There is wide-spread yearning for change but we have seen that Governor Al-Makura is not prepared to deliver the change the people so crave for. The vacuum in development created by the current administration has placed a responsibility on APGA to salvage the expectations of the people and this we are prepared to do.
“When you go around Nasarawa State, you will observe that the people are being short-changed by this APC administration as salaries are being owed workers and issues of development are relegated to the background. We cannot continue to allow this maladministration to go on and this is why we must rise to the occasion.
“APGA has been better positioned to give better governance to meet the expectations of Nasarawa people and APC and Al-Makura are already in the quandary over this development. Let Al-Makura conduct free and fair local council elections today and see how Nasarawa people will express their displeasure with APC,” Mr. Yaro told THISDAY in Lafia.
However, APGA’s bid to revive and reassert itself could be encumbered by the growing taint on the party as a sectional interest with “narrow aspirations to power.” Many political watchers and players in Nasarawa dismissed the party’s bid as sheer sectionalism smacked with religious and ethnic irredentism.
An aide to the State Chairman of APC, Mr. Phillips Shekwo, told THISDAY that “APGA is a party of those who have narrow interests and are only interested in taking power to fuel their narrow aspirations. The people in the party are politicians, who have nothing serious to offer apart from sentiments and propaganda.
“This is not the time for Nasarawa to go back in history and the people are too wise for APGA’s antics. Let us meet at elections and test our acceptability.”
As various approaches towards administering Nasarawa State are being projected by various political parties, APGA has a chance of a time to show what it could offer differently to the people of the state.
The recent division in the APC-dominated House of Assembly further enhanced the resurgence of the opposition party. When six members of the Assembly led my Mr. Makpa representing Kokona West constituency expressed their displeasure to Governor Al-Makura’s appointment of 11 Sole Administrators to administer Local Government Councils upon expiration of the two-year tenure of the elected councils, APGA released a statement supporting the aggrieved six lawmakers