Major Yahaya Shinko (rtd) is the secretary of a faction of the PDP in Kaduna State, otherwise known as PDP Restoration Movement. In this interview with John Shiklam, he spoke about the grievances of his group and why the party might be heading towards disaster. Excepts:
As the secretary of a PDP faction in Kaduna state, what are the issues that led to the crack in the party?
There are several issues, but there are three most important ones. One is in respect of the list of ward executives of the party. After the ward congress in March 2020, a list was duly approved by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, which was released to all organs of the party in the state, through the National Working Committee (NWC) on April 24, 2020.
It was circulated as the authentic list (of those who emerged at the ward congresses) and the list to be used for the conduct of Local Government Congresses. However, when it was time for the conduct of the Local Government Congresses, some people went round and changed that list.
In some of the wards, particularly in Kubau, Soba and Lere, Local governments, names on the authentic list were changed to favour certain class of members of the party.
Observations were raised and we had a meeting at the instance of the National Chairman of the party. The meeting was presided by the National Vice Chairman, North, and all stakeholders in the state were in attendance. It was agreed, based on the report of former governor, Ramalan Yero committee, that all parties should revert to the authentic list, released on April 24, 2020.
However, when it was time to conduct local government congresses, an adulterated list was used. Those who were not supposed to have emerged as executive members of the party found their names on that list and were allowed to vote in their various local governments.
These people were also allowed at the state congresses. So, our grievances is that, the election of state executive members of the party was not in accordance with the list that was made available on April 24, 2020 by the National Secretariat of the party.
Equally, the emergency of those members of ward executive that also voted at the state congress was characterised with irregularities, because those, who elected them were not supposed to have voted at the local government congresses.
Our position now is that the state executive of the party will not have our recognition.
Furthermore, on the day the state congress was to take place, a court order was duly served on the chairman of the caretaker committee of the party with his members, restraining them from conducting the state congresses until the matter filed before the court is determined. That court order is still subsisting up till date!
Another reason for disputing the legality of state executive of the party is that the purported ward executive members, who participated in the state congress, were not properly nominated.
The guidelines issued by the National Working Committee (NEC) of the PDP provides that every person seeking elective position in the party at all levels, must obtain a form, fill it and be nominated by two persons in each ward of the Local Government Area.
Thereafter, he will go to the court and swear to an affidavit and attach it to the form and submit it, not later than seven days to the congress. But in this case, all those, who have emerged as the local government executives were nominated after the announcement of results.
Meaning that after results were announced and the person is declared winner, he goes to fill the form and submit it. This is a clear violation of the PDP constitution and the guidelines issued by the NEC. These same sets of people were those who converged and claimed to have elected the state executives.
But in spite the court injunction, your group was said to have participated in the congresses and presented a candidate for the chairmanship.
The issue is not about a group, but about the party. It is about complying with the constitution of the party, guidelines of the party, the Electoral Act and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What we are saying is that unless all those things are mended, there is no how anybody can address himself as an executive of the party in that state. That is our stand.
The state chairman of the party, Mr. Felix Hassan Hyat, has alleged that some people, who defected from the APC, are those causing confusion for the party. Is that true?
It is not true that those of us who decamped from APC are causing confusion in the party. When he talked about people who decamped from APC to PDP, he was talking about members of the reformed APC (r-APC), which I am also a member.
The Kaduna PDP Restoration Movement is founded by bonafide founding members of the PDP. Some of them include Hon. Imam Lawal, who has never decamped to any party and Dr. Dogara Mato, a member of the PDP who has never decamped to any party.
He was deputy speaker in the Kaduna State House of Assembly. There are several others, including the former deputy state chairman of the party, who had never gone to any party. I am the only one, with two others that had been in r-APC before we came to PDP.
Let me tell you part of our story as r-APC. On July 13, 2018, there was an agreement signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the PDP on the one hand and the National Chairman of the r-APC, Engr. Buba Galadima and the Secretary of the r-APC on the other hand.
Witnesses in that agreement were chief Leo Imokhe for the PDP and Barnabas Gemade for the r-APC. It was agreed that all those who decamped from r-APC to PDP would have certain percentage of executive positions, depending on the structure of the party nationwide.
For instance in Kano, Kwankwaso was given about 60 per cent, in Sokoto, Tambuwal got a certain percentage, in Kwara State, Bukola Saraki was given and in Kaduna, we were to be given 40 per cent.
The 40 per cent of the structure as agreed upon, is that at the ward level, r-APC in Kaduna State would have seven out of 17 positions in the PDP. At the Local Government level, r-APC will was to have 7 out of 17 positions in each local government.
At the state level, r-APC was supposed to have 11 positions out of 26 positions. But the Hassan Hyat committee refused to cede these positions to us. If these positions were ceded to us at the congresses that brought out the governorship candidate in the last elections, I can tell you, our candidate would have emerged as winner.
But we didn’t say anything. We allowed them to do as they please. Our intention was to make sure that APC was defeated in the 2019 elections.
In March 2020, after the congresses were conducted, as they understood that our principal, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, who decamped from r-APC to PDP got upper hands in some of the places, they decided to suspend him with others from the party. The effort of the r-APC gave the PDP the leadership of the National Assembly. It is the same r-APC that gave Kaduna additional senator.
They refused to honour that agreement in Kaduna State after benefiting from our efforts. We didn’t say anything until 2020, when they realised that we still have upper hands over them at the ward congresses that is why they decided to change the authentic list of delegates.
We had overlooked all these things, only for them to start suspending Senator Hunkuyi. We went to court to challenge the suspension and whether they had right to conduct congresses and refused to give us our own slots.
When that matter was going on, some people also filed another case against the state exco. So if somebody says, it is people that decamped from APC that are causing problem, the person is telling lies. Those who have never left the PDP are in the forefront in the Kaduna PDP Restoration movement.
Hyat also insisted that the National Secretariat of the PDP conducted the congresses and that he had nothing to do with manipulating any list that your group is talking about?
I can tell you that the list in question is carrying the name of Hassan Hyat. He signed the letter and was the one that said he had inaugurated them. What about the court order, which restrained the party from conducting the state congresses? As a law abiding citizens, as far as I am concerned, a situation where we have two contenders for the office of the state chairman of the party, I cannot risk backing someone, claiming that he is the chairman, while the other one obeying the court order is hanging aside.
What we are saying is that the National Secretariat of the party should constitute a caretaker committee for the purpose of managing the activities of the party in Kaduna State until when the court determines the matter conclusively. As it is, there is no how we can identify with anyone as member of the state executive until the court order is vacated.