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APC Managing The Substitution Saga In Niger State

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The most challenging task  for the All Progressives Congress (APC) all over the country is the way to device  strategy  to resolve  myriad of  issues that came after its last primary to elect  candidates to fly the party flag. The committee set up for reconciliation without doubt is a welcomed development.

It is because there  were tales of  foul plays  from states across the country;  ranging from  the type  of primary  adopted  out of  the three options of direct and indirect primaries as well as consensus given by the party at national levels ,  to issues bordering on  distorted process of  election during the primaries and outright substitution of the winners of the primaries .

While this keep many wondering whether there was actually the difference between the APC that came to power on the promise of change from the business as usual , the development  could affect  the party’s cohesion in the states.

So many states are currently embroiled in one form of crisis or the other, chiefly bordering on the outcome of the primaries and substitution of names of those who claimed they  won the primaries of the party.

In Niger state there has been disquiet within the party,  currently the  party leaders  are entertaining fears of ,  characterised by mutual suspicion affecting obviously  the  preparation towards  2019.

The obvious of the grievances was the substitution of two of the three winners of the Senatorial Primaries. While Alhaji Muhammad Bima Enagi, the winner of Niger south  senate ticket was not substituted, the story of Niger East and North is different.

The winner of the Niger east primary, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Musa  was substituted with the incumbent Senator David Umar and in Niger north the winner Hon  Halidu  Zakeri  Jikantoro,  was substituted with Abdullahi Sabi  the current Senate spokesman.

Not only the senate;  some of the  House of  representatives primary winners were substituted with the incumbent members who did not even go for the primary. Same went  for  few house of assembly seats.

As expected, the developments were greeted with protests and counter protests to the state and National headquarters of the party culminating in the blocking of Kaduna-Abuja road around Maje  in Suleja area of the state last month.

The reasons behind the development was later explained as it was gathered that the incumbent Senators and members  who are loyal to the party  were given the ticket  to substitute the winners as a reward.

On this premise, the Senator representing Niger south, Mustapha Sani ‘s supporters  and other House Representative members not given automatic  ticket   protested that they were also entitled to it as their counterparts who are not more loyal.

It got to a point that  members of the party publicly attacked each other as if they are opposition party members. For instance the member representing Munya/Rafi/Shiroro Federal constituency, at the floor of the House of Representative, took swipe on the governor hinging it latently on  the primary of October 2nd, 2018.

Already the winner of the Niger East and Niger north Senatorial Primaries have taken the party to court to claim what they maintained  is their stolen mandate , even as the National Working Committee  NWC  warned against any member carrying the party to court. Many  of their supporters insist on resorting to legal means to reclaim the mandate as  APC was build on the foundation of justice and fairness.

Based on the declaration of the National headquarters of the party on not taking the party to court Sani Musa and Hon Jikantoro supporters have started kicking. The Chief coordinator, Sani Musa Senatorial campaign council Alhaji Mohammad Nma Kolo in reaction to the position of the party issued a statement last week that “ the threat of sanction issued by the National Working Committee of our great party, we the disenfranchised members of Africa’s largest party APC, wish to state categorically that First of all, justice, equity and fairness is a prerequisite in any progressive human association and institution

He said “ justice and fairness presupposes the existence of an unbiased umpire to adjudicate between conflicting parties in order  to guarantee public faith, trust and confidence in any system of justice”.

He added  “ Consequently, the claims by the spokesperson of the party that we failed to explore internal mechanism in the resolution of these conflict is a blatant falsehood, misleading and pitiable”

According to him “By taking a public stance in favour of candidates who stole the peoples mandate as exemplified in Niger State where our Senatorial mandates were robbed in broad day light, the national chairman and his cohorts have succeeded in  creating a party in which internal democracy and popular will is narrowly viewed from the lens of personal interest.”

Niger State Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has in his own part condemned and expressed displeasure over changing of the result of the All Progressives Congress APC Senatorial Primaries in Niger State for automatic ticket to incumbent senators.

The  Governor in Hausa service programme of Voice of America questioned the  automatic ticket  given to them by the National Chairman of the party saying that  after people have suffered to buy the form, campaign to rural areas, it was wrong to  come out to say that  the ticket is  given to the incumbent senator  automatically depriving the winners .

He reiterated that after the processes have been concluded “they came to tell us that some Senators from Niger State have been promised automatic ticket, what is automatic ticket:”

The outcry of the party chieftains and members in the state over the substitution saga if not well managed by using the power of dialogue rather than force, political pundits say, will affect the way electorates will perceive the party ahead of the 2019 general election.

Judging from the general lethargy and disenchantment as succinctly put by the Governor who is the leader of the party, the development if not well manage will dampening the irrepressible   spirit of APC members as seen in 2015 a spirit that gave the party  almost  100 percent victory  in all elections in the state.

The implication is that the party may lose some of the legislative seats to opposition which will in turn weaken the dominance of the party in the state , invariably reducing the number of  the state and national legislators of APC.



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