There is more than meets the eye with the leader of the Reformed All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Buba Galadima’s metamorphosis from being President Muhammadu Buhari’s sure-fire ally to becoming his avowed traducer, writes Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The recent face-off between the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its aggrieved members who formed the Reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC) has been a source of worry, not only to the leadership of the party, but also President Muhammadu Buhari.
The issues the new group is canvassing are quite similar to those earlier raised by members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP). But beyond these complaints, there is an aspect of the present conflict which had its roots in the relationship with the president that went sore.
The National Chairman of the aggrieved r-APC, Buba Galadima is one man that had been associated with President Buhari in all his political adventures until the current crisis. Galadima was President Buhari’s right-hand man from his days in the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) till the political merger that led to the formation of the APC in 2014.
Those who followed President Buhari’s venture into full-time politics will not forget the often-overbearing influence of Galadima on all his decisions and actions. The president had confessed at several fora of being a “converted democrat”. There is no doubt that friends like Galadima played key roles in the making of the president.
As a retired general, Buhari took his first plunge into politics in 2003, contesting for the presidency on the platform of the then All Peoples Party (APP). However, like Oliver Twist, the disappointment of losing the election, did not deter him. With people like Galadima and Hadi Sirika around him, the ex-military general went on to offer self for the same position in the 2007 and 2011 presidential elections.
In all these, Galadima recently came out to say that he was among the brains that lured Buhari into joining politics. In an interview on Arise Television in Abuja, the leader of the APC breakaway group said he brought Buhari into partisan politics.
An apparently embittered former National Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) accused President Buhari of betraying him by abandoning those of them that struggled with him to become president. Hear him:
“We brought him into partisan politics. We made all the sacrifices to make him what he is. Everyone, out of the 34 left except the two of us up till 2015 and we had departure points but the most important thing is that I was the founder and the national secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, a platform which he contested on in 2011 and I had to forfeit and resign that position to bring about the amalgamation of what is now called the APC.
“So that was a big sacrifice and I was one of the nine signatories that signed the memorandum of understanding dissolving our parties and recommending the APC to INEC for registration”.
As an acclaimed political ally of President Buhari, Galadima saw his position as that of an anointed Kingmaker. Being Buhari’s closest ally, Galadima acted as his de facto political adviser. He wielded so much influence around Buhari to the extent that it was alleged that Buhari at that time could hardly take any political decision without first consulting him.
Even to grant interviews, Galadima would probably shield his “priceless jewel” from the hostile media. In the CPC, where Galadima held sway as the most influential member of the National Working Committee, Buhari regarded him as his close confidant whom he trusted to pass sensitive information to him.
As a mark of his strength in decision making in the CPC, Galadima played a key role in the botched alliance talks between his party and the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He was said to have influenced the decision by the CPC to pull out of the negotiations in 2011, when he rejected suggestions that Buhari should accept the fusing of CPC into ACN.
However, the bubble burst, when the time came for the party to choose candidates for the 2011 general election. It was at this point that the seed of conflict between Buhari and Galadima was sown. During the process of fielding candidates for elections, Galadima clashed with Buhari over the personalities that eventually got the tickets. One incident that easily comes to mind was the face-off over who would pick the governorship ticket in Kano State.
Buhari, who was the chairman of the Board of Trustees of CPC felt so shortchanged that he had to insist on the cancellation of the primary in Kano State. The strained relationship between the two former allies got even worse shortly after the emergence of APC, especially during the presidential campaigns.
In a bid to satisfy new allies within the APC, Buhari accommodated other stakeholders in his campaign. The realignment of forces made Galadima and other close allies to lose their former positions. Galadima would however not accept the suggestion that he might betray the trust President Buhari had in him or that he (Galadima) had been a beneficiary of it.
“Betrayed who? No, he has been my co-traveller. He has never been my boss politically. I was the National Youth Leader of the NPN; I was the National Financial Secretary of the National Republican Convention,” he said, refuting insinuations about his relationship with Buhari.
Evidently, Galadima might have been a victim of political intrigues, which had seen him lose favour under the current dispensation. On the other hand, the decision to fight back by aligning with the opposition may be strategic and this is bound to cause President Buhari some sleepless nights.
Quote- However, the bubble burst, when the time came for the party to choose candidates for the 2011 general election. It was at this point that the seed of conflict between Buhari and Galadima was sown. During the process of fielding candidates for elections, Galadima clashed with Buhari over the personalities that eventually got the tickets. One incident that easily comes to mind was the face-off over who would pick the governorship ticket in Kano State