Igbawase Ukumba writes that Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has inaugurated two high-powered committees on reconciliation and strategy to reposition the ruling All progressives Congress (APC) to douse apprehension within the party in the state preparatory to the 2023 general elections.
Perhaps, Governor Abdullahi Sule may be using the period before the 2023 general elections to calm nerves and pacify aggrieved members of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), following grievances that greeted the primary elections of the party which saw some members defecting to other political parties.
It is, therefore, imperative for the Nasarawa APC to go into the 2023 general elections united and in peace, hence the Nasarawa State governor seems to be using his experience to douse the growing apprehension within the party, especially in the wake of the recently concluded party primaries. With about eight months to the 2023 general election, that could be a long time enough for Governor Sule to use the opportunity to calm frayed nerves and all those who might have been hurt during the primary elections exercise.
It was in this vein that when hosting the first executive governor of the state and National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, while on a Sallah homage/condolence visit in the Government House, Lafia, Sule enjoined leadership of the party in the state to do everything possible to maintain what is right and what is peaceful. The Governor equally called on the personal aides of the national chairman of the party to also use the opportunity to reach out to aggrieved members of the party, and as well to avoid issues that may further cause problems for the party.
He said: “For that reason, I am happy your (Senator Adamu) Chief of Staff and other people are here. So we can use the opportunity to reach out, and to ensure that whatever we hear or we feel is going to bring some kind of problem, we try to avoid it. Because it is very important to go into this election peacefully and to come out peacefully”.
While it is normal to have grievances within a political party, especially after the conduct of party primaries, Sule felt it was also normal that leadership of the party should reach out to pacify such aggrieved members.
“People will feel aggrieved over one thing or the other and it is indeed okay. But at the end of the day, the role we play after the exercise is more important. The President has done a wonderful job by inviting the Senators and at the end of the day, those that will go, will go. But others will also come in,” the governor maintained.
Senator Adamu who was in the Government House, Lafia to pay traditional Sallah homage, as well as condole with Governor Sule, his administration, the Eggon people and the entire state on the recent passage of the Aren Eggon, Dr. Bala Abainei Angbazo, in a chat with journalists shortly after his parley with the governor, assured that despite the hues and cries that greeted the party’s primaries, nothing will stand between the APC and victory in the forthcoming general election.
He emphasized that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC under his chairmanship would work as if the 2023 general election would be the last assignment they will handle, towards ensuring that President Muhammadu Buhari hands over to another APC president, just like Governor Sule would also hand over to another APC governor after his eight years.
According to him: “The issue of defection, it is a season for it in politics, particularly in developing countries and in Nigeria. It is no news. We don’t want to lose any member, but if a member wilfully wants to leave the party without recourse to good reasoning to following due process to get things done, to take a look at his grievances. If he chose to do that, we cannot force anybody to stay or leave the party.
“Anybody who is a member of a party is an adult and when he takes a decision, either you convince him and if the result is favourable to you and he does your bidding, or you leave him with God who decides everything,” the APC national chairman maintained.
Senator Adamu was optimistic during the visit that for God to have built the edifice called APC, no member of the party should nurse any fear, but should be confident that the party will win the coming general election.
May be Governor Sule’s patient with his critics might be long enough that he took a swipe at some of them that time was approaching when the APC will deploy its strength and resources to vanquish any opposition.
He stated this when he hosted his deputy, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, and members of the State Executive Council on Sallah homage at his Gudi country home, adding that the APC was going into the next election with its full strength.
“We have already gathered enough patience and we did that intentionally, because there’s time that will come where patience will no longer be interesting. There are times to scream, there are times to make noise, there are times to show strength, there are times to show resources and that time is coming,” Sule threatened.
On insinuations suggesting that some members of the ruling party were working against the interest of the APC as a fallout of the party’s primary elections in the state, the governor dispelled the insinuation.
“Our party is APC. We must work for APC. If somebody is hiding somewhere and using somebody’s name to do other things, they are on their own. I will never tell anybody go and do anti-party, as the leader of this party. I am for the party and I will continue to support the party, and I will do whatever it is to continue to support the party,” Sule insisted.
Speaking on the two high-powered committees he had inaugurated to reposition the state APC before the general election, Governor Sule explained that the reconciliation committee was expected to reach out to aggrieved members of the party following the outcome of the recently conducted primary elections of the party, with a view to reconciling every aggrieved member.
On the other hand, the governor added that the strategy committee was expected to unfold a blueprint that will guarantee the success of the APC in the forthcoming general elections.
Sule listed the terms of reference for the reconciliation committee, which is to be chaired by Mr. Hassan Liman, to include identifying all erstwhile aspirants of the party, who in the opinion of the committee have genuine reasons or feelings of dissatisfaction on the outcome of the governorship, national and state assembly primaries that were held, including the presidential. And invite such dissatisfied aspirants to a dialogue over their grievances with a view to assuaging their feelings of dissatisfaction.
Also, the committee was expected to oblige any of the party’s key stakeholders in the state the opportunity to express his or her feelings without let or hindrance in the conduct of the primaries, recommend to the party the best and appropriate measures for addressing the feelings and dissatisfaction of the erstwhile aspirants as well as consider any other incidental or tangential issue outlined in the terms of reference.
On the other hand, the Governor pointed out that the task ahead of the strategy committee is straight forward – to draw the strategy, operational sequence and whatever it may be required to put together and how to win the coming elections.
“We want to win this election for several reasons. We have a lot of good things happening to us in Nasarawa State. And some of them we started and we have a way going in order to conclude them,” Sule said.
While the reconciliation committee has two weeks within which to submit its report, the strategy committee will only commence its assignment after the reconciliation committee had submitted its report.
Earlier in his speech, state chairman of APC, Hon. John Mamman, said the two committees were set up as a mechanism for reconciliation between members of the party, as well as evolve a strategy to make the APC win the general elections.
“Many have been yearning for a reconciliation committee and many couldn’t wait. But when you carefully follow the trend of events after the primaries, you will understand that there would have been no need to put reconciliation committee where we have not settled ourselves. Your house must be put in order before you re-organize everything. We are not putting the committee late, it is apt and at the appropriate time,” Mamman insisted.
In a vote of thanks on behalf of the members of the two committees, Mr. Hassan Liman, expressed appreciation for the recognition to be appointed into the committees. He commended the governor for assemblying statesmen who will make sure the Nasarawa APC is on the right track towards ensuring victory in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.