More than 20 months away from the 2023 general elections, governors from the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) are already at loggerheads with ministers, federal appointees and lawmakers over the control of political party’s structures across the states.
These deepening discontents were visible during the recent ward and local government congresses of the APC, where the gladiators left no stone in wrestling the party machineries from their political foes.
Ministers, senators, governors and other party stalwarts fought dirty; deploying various antics. The development polarised the party; leading to the conduct of parallel congresses and mass boycotts amid great tensions.
In the power play for the souls of the states, ministers and senators explored their access to the Presidential Villa, while governors who belong to the core power block, got the support of the acting chairman of the party and Yobe State Governor, Mai Bala Buni.
Katsina: Masari vs Sirika, Funtua
In Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state, power tussle between Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika and Governor Bello Masari for the control of the party has been on before the 2019 elections.
The clash also involved the party’s gubernatorial aspirant in 2015, Abubakar Samaila Isa Funtua, an in-law to President Buhari.
Both Sirika and Funtua have been nursing the guber ambition for quite some time.
In October, 2019, the state’s chapter of APC threatened to sack some “Abuja-based politicians” for undermining the party.
Masari alleged that: “Some Abuja-based Katsina APC members are using federal government resources to undermine the party and my administration in the state.”
Kano: Ganduje vs Jibrin, Sharada
In Kano, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s battle is in many fronts. Key among the Abuja-based politicians at loggerheads with him are Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano North); Rep Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe, and Rep Sha’aban Sharada.
In June, Sharada was suspended by the party for disrespecting Ganduje. This came two weeks after a party stalwart, Abdulmajid Danbilki Kwamanda announced the emergence of a faction within the party, code named “APC Akida,” while accusing the governor of causing disunity in the party.
Danbilki is a staunch supporter of Buhari and is very close to Jibrin and the senator is said to be eyeing Ganduje’s seat in 2023.
Jigawa: Badaru vs Nakudu, Aliyu
In Jigawa, the supremacy battle is between Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar and the Senator Muhammad Sabo Nakudu, as well as stakeholders such as Farouk Adamu Aliyu; a former governor of the state, Ali Sa’ad Birnin Kudu; and a commissioner RAMFAC, Alhaji Ahmed Mahmoud.
The crisis deepened following the sack of the party chairman, Habibu Sara, an ally of Nakudu in September, 2020, at the Government House in Dutse. The party’s secretary, Muhammad Umar, was appointed as caretaker chairman.
The stakeholders’ meeting called to broker peace among the feuding parties ended in a deadlock as Nakudu, Aliyu, Birinin Kudu and Mahmoud failed to turn up.
Kebbi: Bagudu vs Aliero
Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu has been in a running battle with a former Governor Adamu Aliero, now a serving senator.
The power play over the control of party structure between the two leaders became messier when Bagudu began to target Aleiro’s lieutenants within the state’s party hierarchy.
In June, the state caretaker chairman of the party and an ally of Aliero, Bala Sani Kangiwa, was removed over alleged misappropriation. An acting chairman, Abubakar Kana, believed to be Bagudu’s man, was appointed in his stead.
The war divided party stakeholders, with the Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, said to be one of the arrow heads of Bagudu’s camp. Malami is believed to have his eyes on Bagudu’s seat.
Gombe: Yahaya vs Goje
In Gombe, it is a cold war between Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya and his predecessor, Danjuma Goje, now a senator.
The war started preparatory to the primaries of the party in 2019. Goje supported another candidate but rallied round Yahaya after his choice was defeated.
Returning the favour, Yahaya accommodated some Goje’s loyalists, including his daughter and in-law in the cabinet. However, Goje still sees himself as the party leader in the state.
The feud between the two became manifest few days to the ward congresses when loyalists of both leaders began to stoke the embers of discord through comments and violence after the party’s stakeholders agreed on consensus at a meeting which held at the government house.
Most of Goje’s loyalists were edged out during the congresses, including in Gombe central.
Osun: Oyetola vs Aregbosela
The battle for the soul of Osun between the Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola, and Governor Gboyega Oyetola degenerated with the conduct of the ward and local government congresses in the state.
Oyetola succeeded Aregbosela as the governor of the state. They were allies but have now been drawn apart by what analysts say is a “clash of interests.”
Their relationship became frosty as a result of disagreement over a sharing formula for political offices and party executive positions after Oyetola took oath of office and the development led to a split in the party.
The development split the party into two camps; and the recent defections of Senator Iyola Omisore and Femi Fani-Kayode from the PDP to the APC is said to be the final move to clip Aregbesola and by extension Bola Tinubu’s wings and severe what remains of their hold on the party in the state.
Ogun: Abiodun vs Amosun
Governor Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, are also at daggers’ drawn over who should control the party structure in the state. Both leaders were friends and political allies of many years before the struggle for the soul of the state put a wedge between them and polarised the party in the state.
The crisis deepened during the recent ward and local government congresses where both camps carried out separate exercises.
Shortly after the congresses, two senators loyal to Amosun, Lekan Mustapha (APC, Ogun East) and Tolu Odebiyi (Ogun West), filed petitions before the five-man appeal panel set up by the national secretariat of the party to resolve all discontents from the exercise.
However, the national secretariat reportedly adopted the results of the Abiodun group and went ahead to approve the executives through the state caretaker committee. The Amosun group inaugurated its executives separately.
Kwara: AbdulRazaq vs Mohammed
The crisis in Kwara runs deep with analysts insisting the “situation is beyond redemption”. And as it where, the protagonists, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the two key “Otoge” leaders that oversaw the decimation of the Saraki political dynasty are far from the negotiation table.
Those aligning with Mohammed against the governor include Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, former chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem, former chairman of the PDP, Akogun Iyola Oyedepo, among others.
“Some wounds can hardly be healed,” Bashir Bolarinwa, the leader of Mohammed’s camp, was quoted to have said. The crisis has forced some members to seek alternative platforms.
Imo: Uzodinma vs Okorocha
In Imo, it has been war between Senator Rochas Okorocha and Governor Hope Uzodinma right from the very beginning.
Okorocha is leading the Imo APC Pioneer Group which members comprise Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Dr Chidnma Uwajimogu, Uche Nwosu, among others, in the offensive against the governor.
Okorocha has been consistent in his call for the removal of the caretaker committee in the state to pave way for the emergence of Dan Nwafor to oversee the conduct of fresh congresses and membership registration and revalidation in the state.
21st CENTURY CHRONICLE reports that a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Bwari had in November, 2020, reaffirmed Nwafor as the authentic chairman of the party in the state.
Thus, the former governor has insisted that only ward and local government congresses supervised by Nwafor would be recognised by stakeholders.
Plateau: Lalong vs Dalung
A supremacy battle over control of the APC in the Plateau state has pitched Governor Simon Lalong against former Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, who are from the same senatorial district.
Until Dalung was removed from his ministerial position in 2019, the relationship between the two leaders had been tense. In 2018, Dalung had hit the governor when the latter named the Mararaban Jema’a Roundabout -Taen Junction Road after President Buhari.
Dalung described the gesture as “embarrassing,” noting that the road was earlier named after General Yakubu Gowon.
He called on the governor to apologise to the president and people of Plateau for “deceiving” them.
In 2020, he also accused Lalong of squandering a $350 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) meant for the development of the state’s potato value chain, an allegation the governor denied.
Ekiti: Fayemi vs Ojudu
In Ekiti, Governor Kayode Fayemi is at loggerheads with Babafemi Ojudu, the political adviser to President Buhari.
The clash between the two leaders polarized the APC in the state into camps.
In September 2020, a factional group where Ojudu belongs, announced the suspension of Fayemi from the party.
Fayemi was suspended due to “his numerous anti-party activities, especially his role in the governorship election in Edo State.”
A day after, a pro-Fayemi group suspended Ojudu and his group from the party.
Ojudu was suspended for disobeying the party’s directive and failed to withdraw cases instituted against it.
All efforts by the national secretariat and stakeholders in the state to reconcile the two heavy weights had so far failed.
Zamfara: Matawalle vs Yari
Following his defection to the APC in June 2021, the party declared Governor Mohammed Bello Matawalle as its leader in the Zamfara state.
The declaration displaced former Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari, who was hitherto the party’s rallying figure in the state.
The situation also created a lot of tension within the polity in state with Yari rejecting Matawalle as his leader and defying the national leadership. Our correspondent learnt that efforts to bring the two leaders and their camps together are still on.
Nasarawa: Sule vs Al-Makura
The relationship between Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State and his predecessor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has been cordial until rumours of rift began to filter in late 2019.
The rift was allegedly as a result of huge debt of N18 billion left behind by Al-Makura.
However, both leaders denied the rift and existence of the N18 billion debt, describing it as mere media speculation. But the recent “invitation” of Senator Al-Makura by the EFCC, also ignited speculations of cold war between the two leaders.
Sources close to both Sule and Al-Makura said the governor had no hand in the petition which triggered the invitation of the Senator by the anti-graft agency.
One of the sources told 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE in confidence that Sule had to weigh in through the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to give Al-Makura a reprieve.