MIDAT JOSEPH takes a look at the intrigues, jostling and scheming that produced former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Poland and Czech Republic, Ambassador Nuhu Audu Bajoga as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State against the preferred candidates of Vice President Namadi Sambo and former governor Mohammed Ahmed Makarfi.
The State Congress of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State has come and gone leaving winners and losers to strategise for their future and that of the party. The jostling and scheming by party big wigs to conquer top positions of the exco started since last Saturday.
Successful as it may be, the climax of the was the conduct of the state congress which saw the emergence of successful candidates that would steer the affairs of the state chapter of the party for next four years.
Though the exercise was over, however, the contending issues now are whether the congress was conducted in line with the laid down rules and regulations of the party or not. This poser became necessary in view of the fact the party adopted the process through selection and nomination.
By the PDP constitution, the process of electing new Executives of the party can either be by voting or consensus. Little wonder, election into the party Exco does not really matter much to PDP. As far as the party is concern, internal democracy can give way for consensus candidacy in a modify system.
Though the Kaduna state PDP congress electoral committee headed by the former Party Chairman, Alhaji Yaro Makama to conduct elections into the available vacant seats in state Exco, the position of the chairman and that of secretary among other positions were filled up through the process of hand picking by party’s heavyweights.
The process, LEADERSHIP gathered is silently generating side talks and may soon land the party in a big trouble and put it on the part of factionalizing.
Prior to the Saturday’s Congress, three prominent Party Members were jostling for the exalted office of chairman. Two from Southern Kaduna which form Zone 3 and the incumbent from Zone 1. All the candidates were said to backed by the trio of Vice President Namadi Sambo, Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and Former Governor Mohammed Ahmed Makarfi now a Senator.
While Vice President Sambo had wanted his Brother, the incumbent Party Chairman, Alhaji Ya’u Usman, Senator Makarfi was said to have jostle for one of his errand boys, former Minister of Aviation Mr. Hassan Felix Hyat and Governor Yakowa preferred Amb. Bajoga as the Party’s chairman.
The Party’s stakeholders had last week Wednesday night met behind closed doors and settled on their preferred candidates in the absence of the Vice President.
A source at the Wednesday's meeting, told LEADRSHIP that the caucus of the PDP comprising Governor Yakowa, Senator Makarfi, Senator Nenadi Usman and members of both National and Kaduna State Houses of Assembly met and resolved to insist congress must hold and wil the not succumb to any imposition, as they allegedly being spearheaded by Vice President Namadi Sambo, who is said to have unilaterally conceded the seat of PDP National Organizing Secretary to former Head of Service of Kaduna State, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha from the tree offices zoned to the North-West Zone of the PDP.
The source added “The Vice President wants a complete control of the party in Kaduna State, and it is not possible. The man he gave National Organizing Secretary is from Zone 1, and now he wants to retain the state party chairman to the same zone 1 on the grounds of appealing to his interest, and to the detriment of the party.”
It was gathered that after the Kaduna Wednesday night meeting was concluded, the VP was briefed by his loyalists and he did not waste time to commence assembling and strategizing his arsenal in order consolidate on his grip of the party.
Sources said Yakowa also resisted the Vice President’s moves, and insisted that the congress must be subjected to full democratic process by conducting election among the aspirants so that the best will emerge.
LEADERSHIP reliably learnt that the Yakowa group wanted the party chairman to emerge from Southern Kaduna, a zone that has not produced the party chairman since 1998.
The Makarfi’s camp too rooted for a power shift of the party leadership from zone 1 to Southern Kaduna. But, the meeting ended up in a stalmate as Makarfi also has his preferred candidate from the zone.
A confidante of Makarfi said, “Our boss wanted democracy to determine leadership of the party through election that is free and fair which Makarfi believed is the hall mark of democracy. He is of the view that election should be conducted right from ward to all levels, and he is serious on this stand.”
VP Sambo who was not comfortable with the Wednesday meeting, upon arrival from Abuja on Friday, he convened another meeting of party stakeholders to review the decision of the earlier meeting which was against his preferred candidate.
Information trickled out in the early morning of Saturday 17th March 2012, that Governor Yakowa’s nominee came top. But, before Bajoga’s new executive was however inaugurated at Murtala Square multi-purpose hall, Hassan Hyat and party supporters, according to sources, also gathered together at the state party secretariat waiting for their own inauguration.
The report came from supporters of the group of faction also confirmed that Hyet and supporters shunned the Murtala Square convention as most of them were not seen in the venue. Although Makarfi was in attendance together with Namadi, it was later learnt that their attendance was amere window dressing aimed at saving the soul of the party, as they have allegedly concluded plans to pay back the Governor in his own coin. For instance, there were fillers making round that Yakowa may not have the support of the duo of Makarfi and Namadi if he is has any aspiration in 2015.
While, Yakowa was allowed to choose the Party Chairman, VP Sambo produces the Women Leader, while Makarfi on his own part produces the Secretary and Legal Adviser of the Party.
A speech delivered by the Governor Yakowa’s preferred candidate who emerged as the new chairman of the party during inauguration, Amb. Bajoga congratulates members of the ruling party for a successful conduct of the election.
“It may not come as a surprise that some people must have out of their own perception, felt aggrieved during these few weeks.
Again in anticipation the leadership took proactive measures by putting machinery in place to ensure that all grievances perceived or otherwise are appropriately addressed by the relevant platform. I therefore wish to use this medium to call on all and sundry to join hands together to more than ever before, increase our commitment towards the development of our great party and Nigeria in particular,” he said.
Our findings revealed that there were wrangling and scheming that suggests perceived division in the party. But, whether, the newly elected Chairman of the Party who is over 60 years and his Executives will save the soul of the party and save Yakowa’s soul from the foreseen crises of confidence, only time will tell.