New Telegraph

Nasarawa: APC Rebuilding To Regain Lost Ground

CHEKE EMMANUEL writes on the reconciliatory efforts of the Aliyu Bello-led All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nasarawa State aimed at repositioning the party ahead of future elections

The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Nasarawa State, which was hit by crisis in the build-up to the 2023 general election, following the outcome of the controversial party primaries in the state is now gaining grounds because of the confidence building initiatives of the Aliyu Bello-led new leadership of the party.

Many top members of the party who were aggrieved over the outcome of the primaries left the party to the opposition to either actualized their political ambitions or press home their grievances while the crisis lasted.

The turbulent moment brought about acrimony, bitterness, division, disunity, distrust, suspicion, name-calling, blame-game and bulk passing amongst members of the party. It also explained why the then John Mamman-led leadership lost control of the party with endless search for peace during the time.

Recall that crisis rocked Nasarawa APC during the national and state assembly primaries over alleged doctoring of the delegates list by the party’s national leadership then headed by a former governor of the state, Abdullahi Adamu. This led to the shift and cancellation of some of the primary elections in some constituencies and senatorial districts.

The crisis led to the defection of a sitting senator and a member of the House of Representatives and other contestants from the ruling party to the opposition. They include Senator Godiya Akwashiki ( Nasarawa North) who defected to the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He subsequently won election on the platform of the party defeating the candidate of the APC, Alhaji Haliru Envulanza and others.

The current senator representing Nasarawa West, Ahmed Wadada, also defected to the SDP and defeated the APC candidate. The APC also lost the Obi/Lafia federal constituency to the opposition, following the defection of Abubakar Dahiru, who also won the seat on the platform of the SDP. The ruling APC in the state also lost some other positions at the state level.

Painfully, the party in the state also failed to deliver votes to the incumbent president, Bola Tinubu, due to the crisis. In totality, the APC in Nasarawa lost all the three senatorial seats to the opposition. The party also lost two House of Representatives seats to the opposition political parties.

Sule brokers peace

But in an effort to mend fences and broker peace Governor Abdullahi Sule set up a reconciliation committee headed by Dr. Hassan Liman (SAN). The committee came up with some recommendations, suggestions and the way forward after a painstaking exercise, which took the committee weeks to interface with both the aggrieved persons and other stakeholders of the party.

Also in a systematic move to reunite the aggrieved members of the party, Governor Sule took a tour of the state to meet the concerned persons and stakeholders one-on-one to broker peace. The exercise yielded fruits leading to some prominent persons, including some of the aggrieved ones returning to the party.

Besides the confidence building, the Bello-led leadership in the state has brought hope to members and supporters of APC in the state by genuinely reconnecting the party in the state with the national body. These initiatives embarked by the chairman have rejigged the party and has boosted its fortune ahead of future elections.

Today, the APC in Nasarawa State is singing a new song with the coming on board of Bello whose pragmatic style of leadership has endeared many to the party. The confidence building initiative of the Bello-led leadership and Governor Sule’s governance style have endeared many individuals that left the party back to its fold. Prominent among the returnees are Senator Solomon Ewuga and a former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Haruna Kigbu.

Party leadership

Interestingly, the national leadership of the party had moved in with full support as a mark of encouragement to the state leadership to fix the party and regain its lost grounds.

This came to the fore during the recent grand reception organized in honour of Bello. The epoch event was attended by the APC National Chairman, Dr. Abdallah Ganduje, senators, serving and former governors and many others, including party stakeholders, youths and women.

Speaking at the event, Ganduje said the APC under his watch will reconcile all aggrieved members who left to strengthen the party to achieve victory in future elections. He added that APC will continue to promote internal democracy and create a level playing field for members to realize their aspirations.

Undoubtedly, Bello did not hide his feelings on his plans to reposition that party for the better, when he promised to operate an open door policy and run an all-inclusive leadership, when he assumed office as the new chairman of the party.

He publicly told the various delegations from the South, North and Western senatorial zones of the state who stormed the secretariat of the party in Lafia to express their solidarity that the era of imposition was over.

In our determined efforts to ensure that APC remains the leading political party in Nasarawa State, our commitment towards making the party united and formidable remains unshakable

Reconciliation

The effort of the Bello-led leadership of the party recently received a boost when Governor Sule harped on the unity of the party in the state during a stakeholders meeting he officially convened at the government house, Lafia.

Commenting on the significance of the meeting, the governor stressed the need for unity amongst members and stakeholders for the APC to move forward. He added that there is still lots to be done to further unite the party, considering the disagreements that ensued before, during and after the 2023 elections.

The governor equally used the opportunity to reiterate his earlier call for his political appointees nursing political ambition ahead of the 2027 elections to resign their appointments in order not to distract his administration. This is even as he assured members of the party that he would do everything possible when the time comes to hand over to another APC governor in the state.

“I will support whoever comes from APC. Definitely, I will support somebody who will come from me; somebody who is responsible; somebody who is loyal; somebody who is honest; somebody who actually shares the vision with us to come and take over from me and continue to build from where I will stop,” he said.

Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Danladi Jatau, who also spoke at the meeting, charged the stakeholders on the need to sell the laudable development strides of the present administration under Governor Sule, which would further attract more people into the party.

Also speaking, the National Legal Adviser of APC, Prof. Abdulkarim Kana, urged the stakeholders to continue to remain united in order to win future elections in the state and the country at large. Prof. Kana, who is also a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), described Governor Sule as one of the best Governors the state has produced so far.

The immediate past governor of the state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, in his speech, commended Governor Sule for his vision, disposition and cosmopolitan ideas about ensuring economic survival and promotion in the state. Senator Al-makura expressed confidence that with the number of things his successor has done in the various sectors of the economy, Nasarawa will be a state to beat in the next few year.

He therefore and called on the stakeholders of the party not to lose sight of the status of Nasarawa in the scheme of things, considering the role played by the state in the formation of the ruling party. Earlier, the state APC chairman, Bello, explained that the meeting was aimed at discussing issues that would move the party forward.

His words: “I want to thank you all for your valuable and immeasurable support, which has taken the party under my leadership thus far. In our determined efforts to ensure that APC remains the leading political party in Nasarawa State. Our commitment towards making the party united and formidable remains unshakable.”

While appreciating Governor Sule for his efforts in taking the state to the next level of development, the APC chairman appealed to all stakeholders to put behind all disagreements, grievances and conflicts that took place during the 2023 general election.

Controversy

Given the fact that no success is without challenge, some members the party went to the social media shortly after the stakeholders meeting, calling on the chairman to resign alleging that he was not elected. They also speculated that the stakeholders meeting was organised to pave the way for a long standing friend of the chairman, Senator Ahmed Wadada ,to return to the party and contest the governorship election in 2027.

But in a swift reaction, the state Secretary of the party, Yairus Dagusa, at a press conference described the claim as unwarranted mudslinging statements coming from persons within and outside the party, trying so hard to subject APC to public ridicule.

He said: “Such uncanny commentaries coming from within the party is absolutely unhealthy; needless and capable of further dividing us, especially at this crucial point where the unity and progress of the party cannot be negotiated for any a personal interest or convergence of groups advancement. ”

It is imperative to state that the intent and purpose of the party under the leadership of Governor Abdullahi Sule in convening the stakeholders meeting was, abinitio, to enrich the party’s feedback mechanism, feel the pulse of its members and most importantly, assuage the feelings of those aggrieved members with genuine concerns. “It is the commitment of the leadership of the party to continuously imbibe the spirit of reconciliation and to take pragmatic steps that will see to the return of many members that had left for various reasons.

“For the avoidance of doubt, and to state unequivocally that the party is an omnibus that is capable of accommodating the interests of all regardless of our divergent opinion, if only we can put behind us, our perceived grievances by towing the line of decency, avoid undue external influences and forge common grounds for total reconciliation as we project into the future on the thresholds of unity and cohesion.

“This, in my view, is the hallmark for our successes in the future elections to provide purposeful leadership for the state. It is on this note that our dear stakeholders and party leaders at all levels to bridle the tongues of our overzealous supporters to refrain from inciting commentaries on the media particularly, the social media platforms and avoid overheating the system unnecessarily. We respect the opinion of every single party member on the issues canvassed at the stakeholders meeting and those that will bring peace and stability to our party.”

“On the final analysis, we wish that the explanation we have done should satisfies the curiosity of those who are speculatively apprehensive of the unknown, we wish to therefore, urge members to be calm, as the party will do all its best under the chairmanship of Hon. Aliyu Bello to be fair, just, equitable and, ensure the protection of the interest of the vast majority of its members regardless of status.”

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