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Can R-APC Make Inroads In Katsina?



ANDY ASEMOTA in this piece takes a look at the possible impact of the factional party, R-APC, which emerged from n- PDP bloc in APC in the race for Katsina State Government House in 2019.

Last week Wednesday, members of the New Peoples Democratic Party (n-PDP) bloc in the All Progressives Congress (APC) metamorphosed into Reformed All Progressives congress (R-APC).

Teaming up with the factional party led by Engr. Bello Galadima are some chieftains of Katsina State APC Akida, a platform of aggrieved erstwhile governorship hopefuls and those with scores to settle with the Katsina Governor, Aminu Bello Masari.

Some of the leaders of the Katsina APC Akida who opted for R-APC include Senator Mohammed Tukur Liman, one time Senate Leader, and Alhaji Sada Ilu, former Director in the Department of State Security Services (DSS) turned governorship aspirant in 2015. Both had been reportedly appointed as national organising secretary of R-APC and chairman of Katsina State of the group respectively.

Indications have emerged that the leaders of APC Akida in Katsina are divided over the plot of some of them to join the R-APC. The friction stemmed from the resolve of those who opted to remain in APC as a pressure group rather than joining any opposition party.

Among others that have distanced from the R-APC for now include Senator Abubakar Sadiq Yar’adua, erstwhile PDP law maker who represented Katsina central Senatorial District turned 2015 governorship aspirant in APC and Alhaji Kabir Abdullahi Murja, the Leader of Katsina APC Akida.

Murja, who took a swipe at the R-APC revealed that Senator MT Liman, Dr. Usman Bugaje and Alhaji Sada Ilu bought the idea of defecting from APC before the emergence of R-APC contrary to desire of some of them that APC Akida should remain as a bloc charting itself political future in the ruling party in the home state of President Muhamadu Buhari.
His words: “Sada Ilu, Dr. Usman Bugaje and Senator Abubakar Sadiq are not in APC Akida again because they asked us to quit APC and we refused. We have put them aside and continued with our struggle”.

He maintained that he had not linked with the Bello Galadima led group or anti-President Muhammadu Buhari plot.
“I am not a member of R-APC because it is not a party. We in APC Akida are a group in APC, we want to ensure that the right things are done by this government. But those people in R-APC want to break the party into two which is not the right thing,” said Murija.

He also reasoned, that said, the erstwhile members of APC Akida should have participated in the congress and convention of APC rather embarking on a futile plot.

Challenged that Sada Ilu had been appointed as the state chairman of R-APC, he fired back: “That is useless because the certificate of APC is with Adams Oshiomole. If you don’t have a certificate of any party, you can’t call yourself a chairman or whatever. So, it is useless, you can even be arrested for trying to mislead the public.”

One time Katsina state Chairman of ANPP posited that the race for the State Government House would definitely be won again by APC in 2019 general elections.

There was unmistakable apathy towards R-APC by Senator Abubakar Sadiq Yar’adua, who maintained that he did not want to get involved in the controversy.

He told leadership in a telephone interview: “On the R-APC, I read about it on the pages of newspaper and I have heard about it. Honestly, I have not taken time to think about it deeply and to form an opinion. Please, wait till I come on Tuesday or try to call Senator Liman because he is the chairman of Katsina APC Akida. If he has moved, for me, I don’t want to get involved now.”

While members of APC Akida reach for each others jugular over R-APC, other stakeholders shared their views about the group’s ability or lack of it side by side with the strong support of President Muhammadu Buhari in the state.
In agreement with the opinion that R-APC was created to destabilise APC and decimate the chances of Buhari in 2019, Secretary of Katsina State Elders Forum and APC Chieftain, Alhaji Aliyu Sani, argued that the plot would remain a pipe dream in the president’s home state.

“To be sincere with you, it will not make any impact here because we are law abiding and we respect our leaders. We love our president despite the fact that nothing tangible has come to Katsina we still love him and we still elect him. We hope he will not only develop Katsina but Nigeria as a whole; he has started and we hope he will continue in that spirit.

“Any one that wants to introduce R-APC wants to be an agent of destabilisation so that he will frustrate Mr. President and probably tear the party apart and allow opposition party to come in and take advantage of it. If they succeed, God forbid, I am afraid that may be the end of this democracy in Nigeria,” he warned.

Another point he considered was the high possibility that the promoters of R-APC may have mentioned the names of
Senator Liman and Sada Ilu as part of the arrow head of the group just to frighten whoever they want to frighten.
“What they don’t know is that it is not easy to frighten a General. I don’t think they will succeed. I can’t talk about other states but I am sure in Katsina the Reformed APC or whatever APC will not succeed,” he declared.

For Dr. Abba Abdullahi, Chairman of Katsina State chapter of Buhari Support Organisation (BSO), who doubles as a special adviser to Governor Masari on agriculture, there is nothing to worry about those linked with R-APC in the state.

“In Katsina, I don’t think there is any way they can affect our fortunes. I don’t know about any other state but I am very confident of about this state,” said Dr. Abdullah while reflecting on possible in-road of R-APC.

We regards to Senator Liman, he said: “What is his standing even in his ward? If somebody does not have a standing in his ward or if you cannot confidently say a person will win in his ward what impact will he have? This is somebody that hardly comes to Katsina. So, it is not a question of making noise in the media”.

“What I am saying is Buhari is already (accepted) in Katsina the same goes for the governor. The party is still strong in Katsina and we don’t have much problem in terms of faction but I will always advice members that it is better they stay in the house and resolve their problems because it is a sign of cowardice if you run away from your problem. It’s only after you have gone the whole hug that you can think of going out.

A notable politician in Katsina (name withheld) said the emergence of R-APC is a wake-up call for APC to realise that not a few in the state may vote for opposition party in the next general elections.

The APC Akida member, who urged the people of the state to shun R-APC and any party it will align with, noted that the major point of concern for some of the aggrieved APC faithful included the dividends of democracy were yet to be felt by many that had toiled for Buhari right from his sojourn into partisan politics.

Leaders of R-APC, according to a shed of opinion, may pose certain level of challenge to the ruling party no thanks to the resources at their disposal and the loyalty they still command among a cross section of their supporters.

For some observers, the preponderance of erstwhile PDP Chieftains at the helms of affair of APC today it yet another factor that has given some average supporters of the party the impression APC leader may have betrayed them and that could have a telling consequences for the party

As the race to 2019 begins to gain momentum, most analysts in the state are of the opinion that the professed determination of opposition parties and their allies to oust APC from power would not succeed in the forthcoming elections.