2023: The gathering storm in Kano APC

December 26, 2021
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With its leaders now at loggerheads over the control of party structure, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State is immersed in a fierce leadership crisis that is capable of affecting its chances during the 2023 general elections, writes Assistant Editor, ‘Dare Odufowokan.

AHEAD of the 2023 general elections in the state, concerned stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano state are worried over the ongoing struggle for the control of the party between two factions loyal to Governor Abdullai Ganduje and a former governor, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, respectively. The Nation gathered that chieftains and elders of the party in the state are currently at a loss on how to resolve the crisis following the escalation of the matter after an Abuja High Court had on 30 November, 2021, sacked the leadership of the party in the state loyal to Ganduje and declared Shekarau’s loyalists as duly elected leaders of the APC in Kano state.

Earlier optimism that the crisis will end soon faded last Friday, when the court again reaffirmed the sack of the executive of a faction of the APC in Kano State loyal to Governor Ganduje after dismissing a motion by the governor’s faction challenging its earlier judgement and fined it N1 million for filing what the court called a frivolous and time-wasting motion. The court, presided by Hamza Muazu, affirmed the earlier judgement delivered on November 30, which nullified Abdullahi Abbas-led executives of the party. The court further held that the local government congress conducted by the Shekarau faction remained valid and that it had the authority to elect the state executives.

Signs that the crisis is not about to end in spite of the courts reaffirmation of its verdict soon emerged as the Ganduje faction vowed to appeal the judgement immediately. Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mohammed Lawal, had hinted the position of the state government while addressing a news conference in Kano. “We are very surprised about the judgment because our lawyers had filed relevant documents challenging the jurisdiction of the court because the issue happened here in Kano.

“We are also very surprised they chose to go to Abuja High Court because these issues happened here in Kano and the case ought to have been filled in Kano.m Everybody is well aware of the issue of jurisdiction but in any case, our lawyers filed all the relevant documents on the issue but the court went ahead to say that it has the jurisdiction. Our lawyers are studying the judgement and we are going to appeal the judgement”, the commissioner said.

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A fierce tussle

Trouble started when the two factions of the party in the state conducted parallel congresses last October 18 but the party headquarters endorsed the one conducted by the loyalists of Governor Ganduje that elected Abdullahi Abbas as the state chairman of the APC in Kano state. The Shekarau faction had elected Haruna Danzago as chairman at their own congress. The National Appeal Committee of the party later recognized Abbas as the chairman of the party in the state and urged Shekarau and his group to accept the decision of the party in the interest of peace.

Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya, representing Kano South, twenty members of House of Representatives, Speaker Kano State House of Assembly and 28 members of the State House of Assembly, All the 44 local governments Chairmen, all leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the 484 Wards and 44 local governments and state party leaders and elders, among others, belong to the Gnaduje faction of the party.

On the other hand, Shekarau is the leader of the group called G7. Members of the his group include Barau Jibrin, who is the senator for Kano North, and four members of the House of Representatives from the state, namely Nasiru Abdua, Tijjani Jobe, Sha’aban Sharada and Haruna Dederi, and several party leaders and elders, among others. Observers say neither of the two camps can be ignored if the ruling party is desirous of retaining its hold on the state come 2023.

“The current situation in Kano is not good for the ruling party. It is in everybody’s interest for us to promptly end the tussle now. The two leaders, Ganduje and Shekarau, are strong politicians with huge followings. Working together, they strengthened APC in Kano state but I tell you, if they work at cross purposes in the next election, APC will be in serious trouble. A good look at the people supporting the different groups will show you how equally strong the factions are. So, it is better for us to resolve our differences and go into the next election united,” a chieftain of the ruling party had said.

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Dissatisfied with the decision of the party after the state congress, the faction led by Shekarau, headed to court, asking for the nullification of the congresses at the ward, local government and state levels conducted by the rival faction and recognition of its own. It is these requests to uphold the congresses conducted by the Shekarau faction that were granted by the Federal High Court in Abuja. The judge also made an order restraining the Ganduje faction from appointing new leaders for the APC in the state.

Meanwhile, Governor Ganduje has been receiving vote of confidence from legislators and other politicians in the state following the leadership crisis rocking the ruling party. The governor also insisted that his leadership of the APC in Kano remains unchallenged, adding that he will never contemplate leaving the party for any reason. He described current happenings in the party as ‘party of democracy.’ “It is very important for all to know that our political dexterity and political experience will not allow small party crisis to divert our attention in further developing our dear state, Kano. What is happening is just part of the culture of democracy,” Ganduje stated.

Read Also: Buhari, APC governors extol Ganduje’s virtues at 72

He made the statement during a stakeholders meeting that took place at Government House, Kano, during the week with all sections of the stakeholders in attendance. Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya, representing Kano South, twenty members of House of Representatives, Speaker Kano State House of Assembly and 28 members of the State House of Assembly, All the 44 local governments Chairmen, all leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the 484 Wards and 44 local governments and state party leaders and elders, among others were at the meeting.

Gladiators unrelenting

The governor insisted that the procedures followed during both wards and local governments congresses of the party were all in line with provisions of the party constitution and directives. “We complied with all party procedures. They are all in accordance with the normal party process and procedures. But we are all politicians and we all know such tricks that are put in place just to divert attention from people-oriented policies, programmes and projects. The APC and state government would not be diverted. We should not be set aback because of the normal party crisis. This is very normal in democratic practice” he said.

Senator Gaya, while speaking at the meeting, assured the governor of the supports of the majority of party leaders and members across the state. According to him, the APC in Kano remains united under the leadership of Governor Ganduje in spite of efforts by some people to cause confusion. Others, including the Speaker and federal legislators, who spoke at the meeting, threw their weight behind the governor. They all disclosed that, they were with him and the party and would remain so. They urged aggrieved members of the party to avail themselves the opportunities offered by ongoing reconciliation to reintegrate themselves into the party.

Few days after the court reiterated its earlier judgement, the rumour mill was agog with talks about Ganduje and his supporters dumping the APC for another party. But the governor’s aides denied the rumours. The State Commissioner for Rural Development, Musa Iliyasu Kwankwaso, said the rumours are baseless. “Maybe they are ones trying to leave APC but we are for APC and we will continue to remain in APC. We are still working to resolve the crisis as long as the other faction remains in the party. There is a Court of Appeal and apart from that, there is also Supreme Court and I am sure the justice will prevail,” Kwankwaso said.

However, while speaking on the developments, Shekarau said he has no problem with the governor but with the way the party was being run in the state. He reiterated his determination to ensure that the party is no longer hijacked by an individual. According to him, the Danzago led executives have come to stay. “We will defend democracy all the way. We will defend the new executives,” he said. Blaming the crisis on the governor, Shekarau recalled that he tried to see Ganduje to no avail for eight months.

“You see, the last time I met Ganduje one on one, was in March this year. If I count the months, it is eight months now. I made several efforts to see him but he failed to grant me audience,” he said. The Senator alleged that the crisis could have been avoided but for the arrogance of the governor. “As a former governor and a serving senator, I think I deserve respect. Even if Ganduje wouldn’t give it to me, let him give me a little respect. This is the situation we found ourselves. Would you believe, as a senator in the state, I don’t know what is happening?

The governor is the one doing his things without consulting us elders and stakeholders of the party in the state. We are up to 20 stakeholders in the party in Kano who the governor has sidelined. For instance, we have people like Musa Gwadabe, an 80-year-old man, the current Minister of Defence, Magashi, Gen Jaafaru Isa etc. Even after our congresses, we realised they are trying to silence us permanently so we decided to seek legal redress,” he said.

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