Mai Mala Buni, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) national caretaker committee and the governor of Yobe State, is under heavy pressure to discipline top party officials who encouraged parallel congresses during Saturday’s election of members of the State Working Committees (SWC).
According to party sources, governors of states hosting parallel congresses have been contacting the national caretaker committee to use the big stick against individuals who organized the events.
In 12 states, including Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Osun, Plateau, Niger, Akwa Ibom, and Enugu, parallel congresses were held.
Parallel congresses were held in the states of Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed (Kwara), and Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom).
The ruling party has become even more polarized as a result of this event, which comes before of the national convention.
In addition, despite the party’s and President Muhammadu Buhari’s warnings, Aregbesola’s camp has taken the party to court over the congresses.
According to a party insider, the committee is being pressured to censure them in order to act as a deterrence to others and avoid a repeat of the situation at the upcoming national convention.
“Governors are pushing that they should be punished but the committee is in a tight corner because the promoters of the parallel congresses are bigwigs that cannot be easily reprimanded,” the source said.
Another source at the party’s secretariat said members of the congress committee who sided with the promoters of the parallel congresses would be sanctioned.
“Yes, pressure is being mounted on the national secretariat on this matter but the first thing that will be done is the sanctioning of members of the congress committee who attended the parallel congresses. They aided it.
“Our constitution is very clear. The leaders of the party in states are governors. Congress committees are supposed to be with the governors, not parallel committees. The members of the Kano committee that went to parallel congress are going to be punished,” a party leader at the national secretariat said.
It was also gathered that the issue would first be presented to the appeal committee of the congress and the Senator Abdullahi Adamu reconciliation committee before it would go to the national caretaker committee for a final decision on the matter.
A chieftain of the party and former presidential candidate, Chief Chekwas Okorie, said the party should match its words with action by applying some disciplinary measures against those who conducted parallel congresses.
Secretary of the APC caretaker committee Sen John James Akpan Udo-Edehe had described the ‘parallel’ congresses as futile activities, saying the party will not hesitate to wield the big stick on perpetrators.
When contacted, the media aide to Governor Buni, Mamman Mohammed, said the governor is not under pressure.
“We are not aware of any pressure. The party under his leadership will meticulously follow due process in the administration of the party,” he said.
Ganduje hints reconciliation with Shekarau, others
Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has said moves are on to reconcile with members of the party led by a former governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, who parted ways with his (Ganduje) leadership of the APC in the state.
This is even as the governor insisted that the national secretariat of the party recognised and accepted the emergence of Abdullahi Abbas, endorsed by him, as the only state chairman of the party.
The governor, according to a statement by Abba Anwar, his chief press secretary, said this on Wednesday before the commencement of the State Executive Council meeting.
The statement said Ganduje noted that “Politics is all about this kind (reconciliation) of development, anyway.”
Recall that former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau, had led a group now called the G-7, comprising of Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano North), four House of Representatives members and a party stalwart, to challenge Ganduje’s leadership of the party.