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2019: Mending The Cracks In Taraba APC



ANDREW OJIH writes on the recent intervention of the national leadership in the internal wranglings affecting the party in Taraba State.

The congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Taraba State have come and gone but the ripples it caused are yet to settle. The congresses in the North-east state was characterised by pockets of controversies, much like other states.

The outcome of the congresses resulted in the emergence of factions causing some key stakeholders to tinker with seeking refuge under other political platforms, a situation which threatens the party’s quest to capture power from ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

The two APC chairmen that emerged from the dispute are special advisers to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Legislative Matters, Barrister Tukur Ibrahim El-Sudi and the former state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abdulmumuni Vaki.

Prior to the congress, the party had been split into three groups, the Unity Forum, headed by the former acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar; the Neutral group, led by the former governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief David Sabo Kente, and the third group controlled by the incumbent minister of Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan.

Both the Unity Forum and the Neutral group, which comprised the party leader in the state, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, two former deputy governors, Alhaji Uba Maigeri and Abubakar Sani Danladi, former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Joel Danlami Ikenya, Engineer Ahmed Yusuf, Aaron Atimas, among others, came together to press for the success of the exercise as conducted by their camp.

Interestingly, 12 out of the 13 persons presently aspiring for the 2019 governorship seat on the APC platform also belong to two groups, which united before the conduct of the congresses.

The rival group is led by the 2015 governorship candidate and serving minister, Senator Jumai Alhassan. In her team however are all the members of the party in the State House of Assembly, members of the state in the House of Representatives and host of other political juggernauts from the state.

Alhassan, who expressed her dismay at the way and manner members of the other groups conducted themselves during the exercise said majority of them in that group came into the party six months ago and want to hijack the party structures.

She explained that the congresses and the elected executives in her camp are the authentic officials of the APC in the state, and vowed to explore all legitimate means to frustrate plots to thwart the dream of the party from forming the next government in the state come next polls.

The minister who has been working round the clock to clinch the APC governorship ticket in 2019 was optimistic that despite the negative plans of a few selfish individuals against APC in Taraba, the party would beat PDP in the 2019 general elections.

Expectedly, the rival camp disagreed with her position on the state of affairs in the party. The leader of the group, Senator Yusuf A. Yusuf, accused Alhassan of using her influence as a minister as well as her resources to take over the party.

The Unity Forum and the Neutral group, which has Sen. Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf as the leader of the party expressed their readiness to resist her dominance of the party.

Clearly, the tussle is about who emerges the candidate of the party in 2019. Mindful of this scenario and realising the magnitude of the tussle for the party ahead of forthcoming governorship election, the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, recently urged all political gladiators involved in the tussle to forget their status and reconcile their differences ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Oshiomhole who stated this when meeting with the two factions, said the hunger to defeat the opposition parties should be upper most in their hearts and not internal crisis.

“I want to plead with all party leaders that we must do everything possible to forge unity of the party in every state. I am aware that we have challenges in a couple of states, in accepting to be the chairman of the APC, there is a lot to be done, and I am ready to work with other members of the NWC, and leaders of the party to reconcile all our members and project a united front as we approach 2019” he said.
However, a leader of one of the Unity Group, few days ago, confided in newsmen that the lingering crisis rocking the Taraba State chapter of APC would soon be over. He informed that the new national executive of APC are making concerted efforts to reconcile the warring factions in the state.
He said a round table conversation involving the two factions would soon commence to work out issues that broke out after the just concluded state congress, which produced two parallel chairmen.
However, the spokesman of the Unity Group, Mr. Aaron Artimas, insisted that the purported inauguration of the state executive by the current minister of women affairs cannot stand.
He explained that the state congress was not conducted here in Taraba, adding that members of Unity Group repose their full confidence on the newly elected national executive based on the assurances they received from the party executive when they visited the national secretariat.
Artimas said the two factions would soon come together and will at the end triumph in the coming general elections.
He noted the APC national chairman comrade Adams Oshomole believes in justice and fairness.
According to him, a lot of aspirants are leaving no stone unturned to emerge the party’s governorship candidate, members of the Unity Group have agreed to put aside religious and ethnic differences to support any of the candidates that emerge at the end of the day.
While stressing that the national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has agreed to address differences between the two factions, Artimas urged party faithfuls to desist from taking the laws into their hands by eschewing acts capable of driving members to PDP.
Political pundits who watch the trend of things in the state with key interest argued that if nothing is done by the new national leadership of the APC to reconcile the aggrieved factions, the Taraba State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), would take advantage of the crisis within the APC to retain power come 2019.
Nevertheless, Oshiomhole has since swung into action. But how far will his intervention go? Analysts believe that the success of the new leadership will largely depend on how corporative the stakeholders will be.