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Published On: Wed, Dec 3rd, 2014

Why APC may lose Katsina again

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Sen. Abu Ibrahim and Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari

Sen. Abu Ibrahim and Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari

From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina

The story of opposition politics in Katsina State from 2003 to date has always been a sad one. As Katsina State begins another journey towards electing another set of leadership to run the affairs of the state, the variables that always scuttle the chances of  the opposition party from clinching power in the state are still rearing their ugly heads. The opposition in Katsina State has failed to learn from their 16 year’s mistakes or missteps by still exhibiting the same tendencies that denied them victory in the past elections.

In 2003 under the defunct, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the internal wrangling within the party cost it the chances of winning the gubernatorial seat despite its popular support. During that election the ANPP won two out of the three senatorial seats in the state and also won 12 out of the 15 House of Representatives seats. The issue then was that Engineer Nura Khalil emerged the winner of the party’s gubernatorial primaries against the wish of other aspirants who perceived him as an aspirant giving undue advantage by some powerful forces within the party.

In 2007 the same scenario repeated itself.  Senator Abu Ibrahim having lost the party primaries and having congratulated the winner of the election, Engineer Nura Khalil but some powerful forces within the party turned round and endorsed Senator Abu Ibrahim. This single move factionalized the party then and scuttled it chances due to lack of unity.

Abu Ibrahim was roundly defeated in the election by the incumbent Governor of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema.

In 2011 the worse came as the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), scuttled it own chances due to the alleged selfish disposition of its leadership in the state and some individuals perceived to be close to the party’s presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.

The party then was factionalized along the state leadership of the party under Dr. Yusha’u Armaya’u supporting Senator Yakubu Lado Danmarke and the Buhari boys supporting former speaker of the national assembly, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari.  This scenario led to the hijack of the party’s committee sent from Abuja to conduct the election by the Masari faction.

Without conducting any primary elections the Masari group sent a list of those in their camp to the national headquarters of the party as the authentic candidates. Aggrieved by the move the Danmarke group also swung into action by conducting a parallel primary elections. This threw the party into confusion as party faithful and voters were not certain on who are the real candidates.

Few days to the gubernatorial election Masari was declared by a court as the true gubernatorial candidate of the party. To add salt to injury, a national officer of the party then came on the media and declared that the party has no gubernatorial candidate in Katsina State. These uncertainties threw the party into confusion and what happened in that election is now history.

As the match towards another election begins, the same misfortune afflicting the opposition politics in Katsina State had since started rearing its ugly head. Right from the onset crises beclouded the formation of the party structures at the ward, local government and state level.

First the majority CPC that formed part of the merger in the state begin to behave as if other parties to the merger have no right. The division in the defunct CPC also crept in as those on the Masari group felt that those who supported Danmarke group in 2011 were not part of the merger as according to them they were expelled from the party by the former caretaker chairman of the party in state, Alhaji Faruq Adamu Aliyu. This scenario however led to attempt by both factions to control the party executives at the ward and local government level a development that nearly marred the process.

However during the state congress of the party, a diehard supporter of Aminu Bello Masari, Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa emerged as the party chairman in the state. The party executives were dominated by the Masari loyalist, a development that upset other factions of the party.

To add salt to injury, the aspirants now going round the state without taking into cognizance that the new party was born out of merger have started creating divisions between what they term ‘Buhari supporters and the rest’.

With this, they perceive whoever came from other parties and factions as enemies of Buhari. One of the gubernatorial aspirants of the party, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Musa Yar’adua has made it clear that any attempt to impose a candidate for the party could spell doom for the party in 2015 elections.

Addressing a press conference, yesterday in Katsina, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari also lamented that some of his political opponents are at it again as they have written several unsuccessful petition against his candidature. This, he said has helped in creating division and enmity in the party.

Therefore the central issue is would the aspirants support anyone of them who emerged as the candidate of the party? Political pundits however doubts if the party factions could support one another.

Similarly, watchers of political events in Katsina State believed that the only way out for the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Katsina State  is to ensure that the primary elections that would produce any candidate is free, fair and transparent. All factions must have interest of the party above their personal interest.

The party executives must not take sides as the case in previous elections. In an event anyone of them  emerged as the winner and for him to succeed, he must reach out to  build bridges across the already divided party.

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