APC National Chairmanship Campaign Gathers Momentum in Nasarawa

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Igbawase Ukumba reports that stakeholders of All Progressives Congress in Nasarawa State have begun campaigning for the chairmanship seat of the party in the forth coming national convention

Again, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has appealed to the hierarchy of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to consider the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) and Nasarawa State in the choice of the party’s next National Chairman. Sule made the appeal during a grand reception in honour of defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and prominent sons and daughters of Mada ethnic nationality from the Western Senatorial zone, in Keffi, headquarters of Keffi Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Sule had in February this year, when flagging-off the state membership registration and revalidation exercise of the APC at his polling unit at Gudi Station of Akwanga Local Government Area of the state, pleaded with Nigeria to be kind to CPC, as Nasarawa State was the place to look at when chosing the next national chairman of the APC.

In Gudi, the governor specifically called on the national leadership of the APC to consider the CPC, being the only legacy party that was yet to produce the national chairman of the party. He equally appealed to the party leaders to consider Nasarawa State because it was the only state that provided the CPC a platform leading to the merger in 2013 that gave birth to the APC.

Sule said, “Two of the legacy parties; ACN and ANPP each produced two national chairmen of the APC. The only legacy party that is yet to produce the national chairman is the CPC. Once the CPC is allowed to produce the next chairman of the APC during its forthcoming national convention, it’s only fair to consider Nasarawa State.”

Consequently, Sule emphasized that the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, played a critical role leading the then CPC into the merger which brought about the APC.
Perhaps, it was a timely call by the Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, to make a passionate appeal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to consider the North Central Geo-Political Zone of the Nigeria, particularly Nasarawa State, for the National Chairmanship seat of the party in the forth coming national convention of the APC.

Thus, Governor Sule’s argument for zoning of the APC’s national chairmanship position to the North Central zone of the country, particularly Nasarawa State, was described by some stakeholders in the state as valid. The stakeholders contended that it was not about sentiment or personality, but North Central and Nasarawa State.

Nevertheless, the Nasarawa State APC Caretaker Committee Chairman , John D.W Mamman, also shared a similar view that the slot of the National Chairmanship of the APC be given to Nasarawa State. Mamman who spoke to journalists in Lafia said among the parties that gave birth to APC , it was only CPC that was yet to enjoy the National Chairmanship position of the ruling APC .

According to Mamman: “For justice and fairness, what goes around should come around. Nasarawa State was the only political collateral the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) had that qualified it for round table talks with other strong opposition parties; and Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura who lifted the flag of the party high was the political commodity for the bargain. It is therefore a precise disposition to say that the Distinguished Senator Al-Makura is best qualified for the National Chairmanship position of the APC.”

It is well known in the anals of Nigeria political history that some strong opposition political parties in the country; the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) made a decisive decision, merged and formed what is today known as the All Progressives Congress [APC].

The then chairman of ACN merger committee, Chief Tom Ikimi precisely on February 6th, 2013 at a conference in Abuja, told the world that the merger talks were successful.

Other Chairmen of the merger committees were former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau of the ANPP, Garba Shehu led the CPC bloc and Senator Annie Okwonkwo represented the APGA’s faction.

Chief Ikimi said the progressives came together for a more formidable democratic force to wrestle power from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). According to him, “the merger parties promised to uphold the principles of internal democracy.”

Chief Ikimi’s text read in parts, ‘’At no time in our life has radical change become more urgent. And to meet the challenge of that change, we the following progressive political parties, namely ACN, ANPP, CPC and APGA have resolved to merge forthwith and become the All Progressives Congress (APC) and offer to our beleaguered people a recipe and prosperity.”

“We resolved to form a political party committed to the principle of internal democracy, focused on serious issues of concern to our people, determined to bring corruption and insecurity to an end, determined to grow our economy and create jobs in their millions through education, housing, agriculture, industrial growth, etc and stop increasing mood of despair and hopelessness among our people.’’

The APC’s journey to wrestle power from the ruling PDP was not a smooth one. There were political persecutions and sacrifices. Indeed, it was a journey on the road of thorns and bumps with deep valleys and stony hills with uncertainties. For instance, after the merger, prominent pillars in the exercise, like Chief Ikimi, Shekarau among others defected to the ruling PDP.

Some PDP chieftains described the merger as a marriage that would end in divorce for no reason. Rumours spread quickly that Buhari and Tinubu’s presidential ambition would collapse the merger. But this was not to be as the force of Tinubu ‘the king maker’ and Buhari’s strength of character waxed the APC stronger. It was also a challenge for the party when two political associations, the African People’s Congress and All Patriotic Citizens that applied to INEC for registration also adopted APC as their acronym.

However, internal crisis within the PDP boosted the APC. When the PDP crisis remained unresolved, big wigs in the party, the likes of Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State , Aliyu Wamako of Sokoto State, Abdullahi Ahmed of Kwarra State and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State defected to APC. It is also on record that on January 29, 2014 Senators Bukola Saraki, Abdullahi Adamu, Mohammed Ndume and Danjuma Goje were among the 11 National Assembly legislators that defected to APC.

Be that as it may, travelling the rough way notwithstanding, the APC made history during the 2015 general elections as it wrestled and took over power from the PDP that ruled the country for 16 years.

In 2011, CPC started the hard journey of wrestling power from an incumbent governor in Nasarawa State. Thus, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, when his political ambition to govern Nasarawa State on the platform of the PDP hit the wall, he took the rough way.

After the Nasarawa North Senatorial District of the PDP rally held in Akwanga on Saturday March 13, 2010, the handwriting on the wall was clear that free and fair internal democracy will not come to play Al-Makura’s way and he immediately defected and rooted for CPC in the state.

Unlike the case of APC where forces of the opposition came together and fought a fierce battle, CPC had no marriage of convenience with any other political party in the Nasarawa State but the masses supported the wind of change. Courageous Al-Makura fought the Goliath/David battle in 2011 general elections and defeated PDP in the gubernatorial election in the state.

As the only CPC controlled state in the country, Al-Makura no doubt faced a lot of challenges making some to suggest that he decamp to the ruling PDP at the center. The situation was a very challenging one with his only four CPC legislators, out of the 24 state lawmakers.

Reference was made to how the second Republic Governor of former Kaduna State of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa was impeached by the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) dominated lawmakers on June 23, 1981.

But Al-Makura gave no listening ear to the suggestion to leave CPC to his former party, the PDP, rather he said his CPC administration would not compromise on its resolve to continue to intervene on discrepancies that has bedeviled the state since its creation in 1996. Senator Al-Makura’s rigid stand on issues that have direct bearing on the electorate caused him political persecution, yet he provided purposeful leadership.

Today because of this meaningful leadership the Nasarawa State federal lawmaker provided for the state in eight years, he has the appendage of ‘’Architect of modern Nasarawa State” attached to his personality.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan affirmed this when he commissioned the Olam Rice Farm at Rukubi, Doma Local Government Area of the state in July, 2014.

Former President Jonathan said: ‘’Al-Makura created investors friendly environment to attract development to the state.”

This was why impeachment bid against Al-Makura by PDP state legislators dominated house in 2014 triggered state wide protests by the masses. Through good governance, former Governor Al-Makura won the heart of the opposition parties in the state. Even those who signed for his impeachment while in office as governor are today publicly defecting to APC and defending the cause of the party in the state and the country at large.

One of the defectors said, ‘’The only way we can show gratitude to a progressive government, a development oriented government, a government that likes the people is to join the APC and be part of greater Nasarawa State and Nigeria.’’

Nevertheless, political analysts in the state were of the opinion that for the APC’s political net to catch big fishes like former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Musa Ahmed Mohammed and former Nigeria ambassador to Poland, Sam Jimba, all of the PDP among others, Nasarawa State needs consideration and reward from the founding fathers/pillars of the APC.

QUOTE

As the only CPC controlled state in the country, Al-Makura no doubt faced a lot of challenges making some to suggest that he decamp to the ruling PDP at the center. The situation was a very challenging one with his only four CPC legislators, out of the 24 state lawmakers. Reference was made to how the second Republic Governor of former Kaduna State of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa was impeached by the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) dominated lawmakers on June 23, 1981. But Al-Makura gave no listening ear to the suggestion to leave CPC to his former party, the PDP, rather he said his CPC administration would not compromise on its resolve to continue to intervene on discrepancies that has bedeviled the state since its creation in 1996. Senator Al-Makura’s rigid stand on issues that have direct bearing on the electorate caused him political persecution, yet he provided purposeful leadership. Today because of this meaningful leadership the Nasarawa State federal lawmaker provided for the state in eight years, he has the appendage of ‘’Architect of modern Nasarawa State” attached to his personality