A new crisis is emerging in Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 presidential election over Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s ambition to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari as the country’s next leader.
Despite the fact that Tinubu has yet to formally declare his candidacy for president, he has been holding consultations and meeting important Nigerians to inform and solicit their support.
Tinubu recently paid a visit to Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, an elder statesman, who revealed that the APC national leader informed him of his presidential ambition and begged for his support.
Senator Rufai Hanga, the founder national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and APC chieftain who recently dumped the ruling party, said there is a split among the APC governors on the issue of the party’s presidential flagbearer in an exclusive interview with the Daily Independent in Abuja.
While some governors in the party have settled on one of them as the presidential candidate, with a serving minister in President Buhari’s administration as a running mate, he claims that other governors are rooting for Tinubu, saying that they should rally around him for everything he has done for the party.
He said, “We have about three to four factions and it is next to impossibility to bring them together. There are governors in the party who have carved their own niche somewhere and are not ready to go with other governors.
“In fact, just three days ago, some governors sat and I heard it from very strong authority that they met and anointed one of them as presidential candidate. They have chosen his running mate from among one of the serving ministers. They are willing to go it all hog and are determined that there is no going back.
“There are other governors who are not willing to hear all that. These governors are all out for Asiwaju Tinubu. These ones are saying that it is unfortunate Asiwaju badly despite all he has done for the party. They are telling their colleague governors not to bite the finger that fed them. So, there is division among the APC governors right no won the issue of 2023”.
Hanga, who said the APC is technically non-existent, added that there is no way the party will survive an implosion especially with the crises in almost 13 states owing to the fall-out of the congresses.
“There is a neutral group that has come out and say they have sacked Buni and they have a new national chairman. So, under this kind of confusion, how do you expect this party to survive at this material time? We are in December now.
“In fact, APC to me is technically non-existent for now going by the Supreme Court judgment on Ondo governorship election. Yes, they have allowed Ondo to go away with the governorship but if you go by the judgment of all the seven judges, they all concurred that it was wrong for a governor to be the party chairman.
“If it is wrong and unconstitutional for him to be the governor and party chairman at the same time, it means what ever action he takes or must have taken is null and void. Anything done by him is illegal. The court will nullify anything he has done.
“To me, APC is a goner. That is why I have decided to call it quit. They keep on shifting their national convention from now till February. By June or July, you should have all gotten your candidates nominated but the APC wants to do national convention in February.
“In more than 13 states now, they have more than three leaderships all claiming to be in control of the party. How can they do a convention with parallel leaderships inmost of the states? From the time they had their congresses in the states till now, they should have resolved it but up till now, they are not able to do so. By February, they will still have some lingering problems”, he said.
At the weekend, Governors Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State both addressed Ahmadu Haruna Zago (Danzago), who is a member of the Ibrahim Shekarau group and is the Kano APC state chairman.
On October 18, two sections of the party in the state held rival congresses, but the party endorsed the one held by supporters of Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
Danzago was voted chairman by Shekarau’s group, while Abdullahi Abbas was chosen by Ganduje’s camp.
Abbas was later recognized as the party’s chairman in the state by the APC’s National Appeal Committee.
Not pleased with the party’s decision, a group led by Ibrahim Shekarau, a former governor of the state who is now a senator, went to court, requesting for the nullification of the opposing faction’s ward, local government area, and state levy congresses and the upholding of its own.
The judge, Hamza Muazu, granted their petitions and upheld the Shekarau faction’s congresses in his judgement.
The judge also issued an injunction prohibiting the Ganduje faction from naming a new executive.
According to reliable sources, Fayemi and Badaru’s approval of Danzago was done to spite Governor Ganduje, whose candidate was ousted by the court.