Chieftains of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the country’s north-central region are on a divided front over the alleged anointing of former Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as the party’s next national chairman.
Naija News recalls that in the last few weeks, some APC leaders have resigned, leaving vacant slots to be filled.
The APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, resigned recently following some crisis within the party.
This platform recounts that the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari, and Deputy Secretary, Festus Fuanter, took over in acting capacities pending the conduct of a mini-national convention
Last week, the National Vice Chairman (North West), Salihu Mohammed Lukman, also resigned.
However, in a twist to the event, Kyari made the ministerial list presented to the Senate by President Bola Tinubu last Thursday.
While some party sources in the APC confirmed to the Daily Trust that President Tinubu and governors on the APC platform, led by Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, have settled for Ganduje as the next national chairman, other sources said Ganduje could only act when Kyari finally assumed the office of minister and, if possible, contest at the convention to be retained as the substantive national chairman.
The APC spokesperson, Felix Morka, had last week on Channels TV also insisted that the reports about Tinubu anointing Ganduje for the position were mere speculation.
Meanwhile, amid all the speculations surrounding the issue, some stakeholders of the APC in the north central are divided over Ganduje.
While some have insisted that the position remains in the region, where the former chairman Adamu comes from, others say the northwest deserves it because they have the highest number of voters.
Part of the group that is rooting for Ganduje includes a stakeholders forum under the leadership of the Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major General Lawrence Onoja (Rtd), and also the Coalition of North Central APC Youth Leaders and Support Groups under the leadership of Okpokwu Ogenyi.
Others, however, insisted that just like how the party has settled for a former Senate spokesperson, Ajibola Bashiru, from Osun State to replace Omisore as secretary, the national chairman should come from north central, where the former chair comes from.
Reacting to the issue, a member of the APC Constitution Repeal Committee, Barrister Bashir Maidugu, told Daily Trust on Monday that the agitation that the north central must retain the position has no roots in the constitution.
He said, “There is nowhere in the constitution where it is clearly stated that the national chairman must come from a particular zone. It is just for the sake of political convenience that political offices are zoned. It recommends that offices should be zoned in such a way that it will reflect the diversity of this country.
“As it is now, we have a new APC government led by President Tinubu, who is from the South West and the national chairman that has just resigned is from the North Central, and there is a need for a new national chairman that will also show a semblance of balance as a diverse nation.
“That is because the SGF is from the North Central, the same zone where Adamu hails from. The national chairman of the party should come from the next zone, which is the North West because in politics, numbers are everything.
“The North West has the highest number of voters, and they gave us the highest number of votes in the recently concluded general election. So, they have to be adequately represented in the party.
“So, getting a credible politician from the North West will be a very good thing for the party. I am not particularising it to any individual to replace Abdullahi Adamu. So, in that light, I suggest and advise that the national leadership of the party should get somebody from the North West to head the party as national chairman.”
On arguments that the North West has already produced, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Tajudeen Abbas, and the Deputy Senate President, Maidugu, said, “In all honesty, if you look at the contributions of the North West to the success of the party, the speaker and deputy senate president are not enough compensation.”
In a counter-reaction, a former chairmanship contestant in Adamawa State who stepped down for Adamu as directed by then President Buhari during the 2022 national convention of the party, Chief Sunny Sylvester Moniedafe (Jagaban Jimeta), told the platform that the party would be setting a dangerous precedence if the zoning formula was jeopardized.
He said, “The zoning was done last year or so, and the positions were filled. So, if Abdullahi Adamu was made to resign, my advice is that we should respect the zoning formula.
“Since the position of chairman was zoned to the North Central, I expect it to remain sacrosanct where you have somebody from the zone coming out to fill the vacancy. Even if you zone it, we still have micro-zoning; it can be zoned to another state, not necessarily Nasarawa State.
“For the sake of having synergy, we should follow the right procedure because if you set a dangerous precedent now by just moving the chairmanship to the North West, it might give room for further trouble.
“I want to believe that no one from the leadership has spoken about endorsing Ganduje, so let’s assume that it is a mere speculation.”