John Shiklam in Kaduna
Crisis is brewing in the Kaduna State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the partyâ€™s congresses scheduled to commence on Saturday.
Signs of an impending chaos emerged yesterday when the faction of the party, loyal to the state Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, alleged that one of its factional leaders, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, representing Kaduna North senatorial district, was plotting to undermine the congresses.
At a news conference in Kaduna, acting Secretary of the party, Yahaya Baba Pate, alleged that Hunkuyi was assembling mercenaries and thugs to undermine the party.
He further declared that Hunkuyi cannot participate in the congresses of the APC due to alleged suspension of his membership.
â€œConsequently, the leadership of the party will hold suspended Hunkuyi responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the course of our congresses,â€ he said.
He maintained that â€œline with the provisions of the APCâ€™s constitution, the party membership of the senator was suspended on February 17, 2018, for offences related to factionalising the party and anti-party activities.â€
â€œHunkuyi cannot directly or indirectly participate in the activities of the APC or convene any gathering in the name of the party, contrary to what he is presently doing,â€ he said.
Pate said: â€œIntelligence at our disposal suggests that he and his expelled associates are planning to destabilise the congresses across the state.
â€œThere are reports that thugs and mercenaries are being assembled for this purpose.
â€œThus, they have nothing at stake, and are merely engaging in impersonation to try to undermine a party that has rightly removed them from its ranks.
â€œThe Kaduna State APC has alerted security agencies to kindly take measures that will guarantee security and ensure the protection of life and property of our members and officials from our national leadership, that will conduct the said congresses across the state.
â€œFor the umpteenth time, we are warning, suspended Hunkuyi and his co-travelers to desist from interfering in our activities.
â€œWe will hold Hunkuyi and his associates responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the course of our congresses.â€
He also denied allegations by the Hunkuyi group that the state government was responsible for the attack on them by armed thugs who invaded the venue of their meeting in Kaduna on Sunday, unleashing mayhem on them.
However, a member of the Hunkuyi group, Major Yahaya Shinko (rtd), dismissed the allegations, saying they are baseless.
He said Hunkuyi remains a faithful member of the APC, maintaining that Pate by parading himself as acting secretary was committing an illegality as the tenure of all elected officials had expired.
Shinko said those who had resorted to cheap blackmail against the senator were scared that they would not be allowed to manipulate the process during the congresses.
â€œThey are trying to blackmail the senator because he has been going round to sensitise people on the election.
â€œThe people claiming they have suspended others from the party are not ready to tell to anybody about the guidelines of the forthcoming congresses.
â€œWhat they are trying to do is to go to the room and write the names of people they want to give the positions to in the name of consensus or affirmation.
â€œThey were disappointed by our moves, we have told the people that it is their party and they have right to contest at the congresses.
â€œThe senator has promised to purchase the form for all the people in our group who wish to contest for positions. So they are not happy about this development,â€ Shinko said.