Crisis Hits Niger APC over Choice of Ministerial Nominee

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Laleye Dipo in Minna

A major crisis is now brewing in the Niger State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the nomination, screening and endorsement of the ministerial nominee from the state, Zubairu Dada, by the Senate.

The state APC has rejected the nomination of Dada in addition to saying that the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who is also the leader of the party in the state, “acted alone” in the submission of the name of the nominee to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The APC leadership claimed that Dada “is not a card-carrying member of the APC,” alleging that he campaigned for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the run up to the last general election, and as such, should not have been given the slot.

The brewing crisis was one of the issues discussed at the expanded State Working Committee (SWC) of the party held at the party secretariat in Minna, the state capital, yesterday where it was agreed that President Buhari should be asked to drop the minister-designate and replace him with a member of the APC.

A communique issued at the end of the meeting which was made available to journalists said: “Many loyal APC members in the state who felt disappointed by the development have threatened to massively decamp from APC since party loyalty and commitment are no longer rewarded as people from opposition party are given appointments instead of those who laboured for the victory of the party.”

The communique also stated that “the state governor, who is the leader of the party, and should constantly consult with the party, acted alone against the wish of party members to favour none-party members in his nomination for federal appointments and the state appointments.”

The expanded SWC argued that the situation was worsened with the realisation that the minister-designate “is from the same local government area, ward and polling unit with the senator representing Niger East senatorial zone, Mohammed Sani Musa.

“The same scenario played out in 2015 when the ministerial nominee and the governor were from the same senatorial zone.”

The statement therefore asked President Buhari, who is “known for his sense of honesty, integrity and desire for justice, to immediately remedy the situation and follow the earlier nominations of the party.”

The statement signed by the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Idris A Abini, warned that failure to remedy the situation could affect the party in subsequent elections “especially now that local government area elections are around the corner.”

The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mary Noel Berne, could not be reached for comment as her cell phone was switched off.

Attempt to contact the ministerial nominee, Dada, was also not successful when his cell phone was called.

He only sent a text message that: “I will call you back,” which he did not do as at the time of going to press.