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Troubled Spots Of APC Governorship Primaries

The All Progressives Congress (APC) used to be the strongest opposition in the state before 2014, the sudden but expected defection of Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko from the PDP made fortune to smile on the party, hence taking over the state. Wamakko, as the incumbent governor then ensured that the APC won every contestable seat in the state during the 2015 general elections. When Wamakko single handeldy projected Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to the party as his successor, some members of the APC swallowed the decision because they hold Wamakko in high esteem. That, therefore made it an easy ride to victory for Tambuwal to become the governor in 2015 as Wamakko opted for the Senate. Tambuwal, though, still the governor however, took another step by returning the state to the PDP in 2018, three years after. Like the pupolar saying that ‘what goes around comes around’, the PDP once again took charge of the Government House ahead of 2019 general elections. Tambuwal’s exit from APC no doubt was a big shocker for many pundits as it suddenly created glaring a tussle once again in the party. Naturally, nobody expected the deputy governor, Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, to defect with Tambuwal to the PDP because his political godfather stayed put in the APC. This therefore led to the duo of Governor Tambuwal and his deputy Ahmed Aliyu boarding different trains in the state governance. No sooner than Tambuwal left the party, than a hidden battle of wit sprang up amongst perceived party big shots in the state. While some felt they should take control of the party, others resolved that, Wamakko still remained the party’s leader in the state. For those thinking otherwise, it was gathered that they wanted to clinch the party’s leadership as an avenue to feature their anointed candidate for the state governorship. Those groups went up in severe fireworks against Senator Wamakko. They wrote and published series of advertorials on why Wamakko should not be seen as the leader of APC in Sokoto state. Though, as it stands, those waring groups equally have their gubernatorial aspirants in the APC. The primary is expected to be between Senator Abubakar Gada, deputy governor, Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, Abubakar Gumbi and Faruk Malami Yabo. While analysts are of the opinion that both Gada and Gumbi were brought into guber race by groups believed to be working against the interest of the APC, others expressed satisfaction over the incidence, saying any act of imposition might probably tear the party apart. Presently, the stage is set for the four aspirants to test might, popularity and their acceptance amongst the delegates in few hours from now if no truce is achieved for a consensus candidate. The primaries, if at all is going to hold, would certainly be a very interesting watch for political observers. However, its eventual holding might also spell some deep concern for an envisaged crack in the party ahead of 2015 should it is not be conducted in a free and fair manner. ZAMFARA: Yari To Square It Up With G8 Guber Aspirants The political situation is tense in Zamfara state as gladiators in the ruling APC are ready for a showdown regarding the gubernatorial, state and National Assemblies primaries. Already, the party has been factionalized between Governor Abdul-Aziz Yari and G8 governorship aspirants. The two APC factions have been pointing accusing fingers at each other. During its rally, the G 8 aspirants accused the governor of injustice in anointing his Finance commissioner, Mukhtar Idris, as the party’s candidate. They vowed to reject the imposition of candidates and resolved for conduct of direct primaries in the state. In his reaction at a grand rally Yari promised to face the G8 squarely at the primaries. He described the G8 aspirants as selfish and pursuing selfish interest. JIGAWA: Old Rivalry Resurrects Between Foes History may likely repeat itself in Jigawa state gubernatorial primary election of the APC as two political foes, Governor Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar and Ubali Hashim set to go for a second round game. The two political rivals appeared to be the only aspirants picked APC nomination form for the ticket of the state governorship seat in the forthcoming general election. In 2014, Hashim kicked against consensus candidate and after withdrawal of some aspirants from the race, he went for the primary against Badaru, and the latter emerged winner. KADUNA: el-Rufai Is Sole Candidate Kaduna will be one of the states to watch. Governor Nasir el-Rufai who is seeking a second term has no challenger in the APC party while the opposition PDP parades about eight aspirants. Although, there may be clash between Senator Shehu Sani and the governor’s political adviser, Dr Uba Sani over the APC Kaduna central senatorial district primaries. KANO: Easy Ride For Ganduje Kano in its unique political style will pose a troubled terrain to the two major parties, the APC, and the opposition PDP. The political permutations over 2019 gubernatorial elections point to one fact, it is shrouded in uncertainties. As their troubles are basically unique, they are simply victims of internal squabbles and evident lack of the spirit of sportsmanship. The incumbent Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, may not be facing stiff opposition for the party ticket, the balance of regional zoning and sharing formula of offices seem to be the sole hurdle with Kano APC. Lagos: Gov. Ambode To Walk The Tight Rope In Lagos, the situation remains dicey and unclear, as there are two other challengers aspiring to beat the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, a former Accountant General of Lagos, to the APC ticket. Unlike four years ago, when Ambode enjoyed the full compliments of support of major stakeholders in the party and the leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the scenario is completely opposite. Today, it is a different tune as all the party apparatchik, which supported Ambode to clinch the ticket four years ago have turned their back on the governor. Ambode is being challenged for the APC ticket by a former commissioner in the state, and chief executive of the Lagos State Property Development Company, LSDPC, Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu and a former Commissioner for Works in the state Dr Femi Hamzat, who many described as simply a decoy. The battle for the APC gubernatorial ticket in Lagos is between Ambode, the incumbent governor and Sanwoolu, the establishment-backed aspirant. This was just as his support group had embarked on last minute troubleshooting moves to lobby the 22-man Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC, the highest decision making organ of the APC, headed by APC’s National Leader and former governor of Lagos State, Aiwaju Tinugu, to make a U-turn and support Ambode’s ambition for a second term. The foot soldiers have also reached out to the 57 local government and local development council areas, LCDAs, to give the embattled governor the necessary support. These moves put to an end speculation that the governor was not going to be part of the primary election, which the state APC had opted for the direct mode. Nasarawa: Between Al-Makura’s Candidate And Others There seems to be uneasy calm in the ruling APC in Nasarawa State, as governorship aspirants are fuming over alleged imposition of candidate during the forthcoming primaries. The primary election scheduled to hold tomorrow, with growing concerns over the conduct of party officials and delegates’ over an alleged imposition of candidate by Governor Al-Makura. A source who spoke to our correspondent said he and many other aspirants in the election already planned to decamp over the imposition of a candidate, Eng. Abdullahi A. Sule, who is also in the race. Reacting to the weighty allegation during a press briefing last weekend, a Coalition Of Directors General Of Governorship Aspirants Of All Progressives Congress ( APC) in Nasarawa State, tasked the governor and APC, to provide a level playing ground for all the governorship aspirants. The text read by Mustapha Galadima, threatened that the alleged imposition of Eng. A A Sule, would spell doom for the party in the state. All said and done, political analysts observed that often times, handpicked candidates, who by providence, win elections end up turning their backs against their godfathers and also perform poorly in office because they lack zeal and do not have masses’ interest in their thinking. Pundits said right thinking party leaders who revered party supremacy worked hard to give every candidate interested in an elective office the opportunity to test their popularity from the grassroots via party primaries. Oyo: From 30 To 8 Aspirants Members of the APC in Oyo state are expected to converge on the Adamasingba Stadium tomorrow to take the final decision of who will the party’s flagbearer at the 2019 general election. The party leaders are neck deep in throwing up loyalists and associates they believe would do their biddings, forgetting that the electorate should be availed the best of minds; the one imbued with fear of God and milk of human kindness to take the state to the next level beyond the current status under the ruling APC. The party is expected to produce the candidate of the party to replace the outgoing governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, whose tenure expires in May. Prior to this time, no fewer than 30 people have indicated their interests to flag the party’s banner during the governorship election next year. However, only 10 of them have visited the party secretariat to indicate their interests while only eight of them had purchased the nomination and expression of interest forms. In an attempt to ensure hitch-free party primaries, series of meetings had been held between the aspirants and stakeholders during which the need to reduce the number of the aspirants to minimal and manageable number was stressed. At different fora, the state governor had called on the aspirants to meet and decide on the need to step down for themselves. As expected, nocturnal meetings are on and aspirants are not leaving anything to chance in their quest for the seat of power in Agodi Government House Ibadan. From the initial 30 interested aspirants, the number reduced to the present eight and stakeholders are still pushing for further reduction before Sunday. The APC’s men that are expected to slug it out at this weekend’s ‘indirect primary’ which was adopted by the stakeholders are the immediate past Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Chief Bayo Adelabu; a KPMG partner, Mr. Joseph Tegbe; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Adeniyi Akintola; a businessman, Dr. Olusola Ayandele; and a former Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Babalola Owolabi. Others are former governor of the state, Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala; the immediate past Commissioner for Health, Prof. Azeez Adeduntan; and the Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu. OGUN: Party Stalwarts Poise For Showdown With Amosun Stalwarts of the party in Ogun State appear ready to give the incumbent governor, Ibikunle Amosun, a big challenge in the exercise forthcoming party primaries. This is just as the governor himself appeared unperturbed for the exercise, which has sent jitters down the spines of many party loyalists in the make or mar semi-final battle for the tall-cap governor. The battle, which started almost seven and a half years back, had prior to this time, polarised the party and set it along two major factional groupings. First is the Senator Ibikunle Amosun group, christened the SIA Group, whose members have vowed to remain loyal to the state governor, irrespective of political schemings in the state. The second group is however, made up of party members loyal to the former governor of the state, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, and was christened “Matagba Mole” group, which literally translate to mean “don’t trample on the elder” group. Aside from being APC members, the Osoba group, “Matagba Mole,” had long declared war on the SIA group, following the allegation that the state governor, Amosun, completely shut them out of government immediately he assumed office as the state governor. They alleged that Amosun filled his cabinet with members of his former political party, the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, at the expense of the efforts of the original party members that oiled the machinery of the party that brought him into power, the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. This was part of the grudge nursed against Amosun till the 2015 general elections. In the build up to the 2015 general elections, many unresolved crisis that followed their initial grudge against Amosun, further compelled the Osoba group to contest that year’s general elections on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, which eventually robbed them of any election victory in the state. The national reconciliation embarked upon by leadership of the APC however, saw the Osoba’s “Matagba Mole” group reuniting with the party in the spirit of “no winner, no vanquished”. But as the 2019 general elections gathers momentum, the two groups reignited their rivalry and this time, hotter than what it was before. What makes it keener perhaps, is the governor’s claim that APC has resolved to pick Amosun’s successor from among the people of Ogun West senatorial district, a district which had never had the opportunity to administer the affairs of the state in its over 40 years of its creation. Amosun further insisted that the APC had already zoned its governorship ticket to Ogun West during the period when the group left the party for the SDP, adding that the party’s governorship candidate would emerge through a consensus mode of primary election. The governor’s resolve and insistence at picking his successor from the Ogun West senatorial district, and picking the party’s candidate through the consensus arrangement, however, did not go down well with many others within the party. The Osoba group saw Amosun’s insistence at picking his successor from among the Yewa – Awori people of Ogun West senatorial district through a consensus arrangement as an attempt to permanently shut them out of the party, hence, they kicked against it. Their fear was premised on the fact that the state party executive committee, put in place have their loyalties to the governor and such is dangerous for whatever political ambition anyone of them could have. This however, compelled them to argue that Ogun APC will only adopt a direct mode of primary election in picking its candidates for all the 40 elective positions and not through any consensus arrangement. But Amosun would not listen to them, rather the governor went ahead and conducted a mock consensus primary election which produced the federal lawmaker representing Ipokia/Egbado South federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdul-Kabir Adekunle Akinlade, as the consensus governorship candidate along with 39 others for all the elective positions in the state chapter of APC. This singular action however, tore the entire party and the APC government in the state apart, as other politicians who are already part of Amosun’s cabinet, but who failed to make the governor’s consensus list also kicked against it. But rather for them to seek audience with the governor, they chose to openly challenge Amosun at the party’s primary election, which they insist must be by direct mode. Two serving members of the Amosun cabinet: Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry as well as the incumbent Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Bashorun Muyiwa Oladipo, were among those who openly disagree with Amosun on consensus mode of primary election. To demonstrate their seriousness and displeasure over the governor’s action, the two allegedly approached the national headquarters of APC and obtained the nomination forms for the governorship race. Aside from Ashiru and Oladipo, Amosun’s Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Hon. Afolabi Efuape, also had his supporters abusing and cursing the governor for not shortlisting their candidate for the House of Representatives’ ticket. Scores of his supporters thronged the Presidential Lounge, venue of the mock consensus primary election personally supervised by Amosun himself, with solidarity songs which they later changed to a chorused “Afo, Afo, Afo, Afo” and later calling Amosun some unprintable names. Apart from abusing the governor, Efuape’s supporters also pelt Amosun with sachets of water to drive home their anger and displeasure over the exercise. The governor’s action also infuriated other members of the SIA group and now forced most of them to pitch tent with the Osoba group in the “Matagba Mole” camp, thereby making its ranks to explode. But sensing danger that the consensus arrangement of Amosun for picking party’s candidates may not work, the Chief Derin Adebiyi-led state executive committee of Ogun APC opted for a direct mode of primary election. At an extended stakeholders’ meeting held on September 5 and well attended by members of the “Matagba Mole” group, the party resolved to go for a direct primary since the consensus arrangement had failed. Speaking during the meeting, the state chairman, Adebiyi raised the issue of party’s register and membership identity cards, which would enable the party conduct a hitch-free primary elections. But the party’s National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello, however, promised to raise the matter before the national leadership of the party in Abuja. Barely three weeks after, precisely on September 21, the Adebiyi-led state exco convened another stakeholders’ meeting wherein it reversed its earlier position on direct primary. The party later resolved to go for an indirect mode of primary election. Addressing hundreds of stakeholders who thronged the MTR Building in Ibara GRA, Abeokuta, Adebiyi said the party would find it difficult to conduct a direct primary, since party register and membership ID cards were not available, even few days to the primary”. Also in the communiqué issued and signed by Chief Adebiyi himself at the end of the meeting, Ogun APC premised its decision to go for direct primary based on the fact that it would be difficult for it to control the crowd that is likely to throng the venue should the party goes for direct primary “since party’s register was not available”.

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