Determined to ensure that no internal rancour splits its ranks, the reconciliation committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) headed by the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, has commenced the process of reconciling the warring parties in the five states, where the G-7 governors are locked in a supremacy battle with local leaders of the party.
But the effort did not yield fruit in Adamawa State as the feud between Governor Murtala Nyako and Gen Buba Marwa failed, as the latter and his allies stayed away from a reconciliation meeting held in Yola Sunday.
THISDAY gathered that as part of the party's effort to harmonise its affairs at the state level, the leadership has approved the inauguration of interim state executives.
The party, at its last meeting in Abuja, gave approvals for all the zonal chairmen to immediately inaugurate the interim state executives and for them to commence mobilisation for new members. It also proposed a plan to hold the party's congresses in January 2014.
Following a directive to the committee by the interim national executive of the party to commence action immediately after the Christmas holiday, the seven-man reconciliation committee has decided to look into the protest letter submitted by some stakeholders in Kano State.
A source told THISDAY yesterday that the Baraje committee had concluded plans to begin the peace-building initiatives with a visit to Kano where they hope to broker a peace meeting between Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso and his predecessor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.
APC was still basking in the euphoria of the defection of the five PDP governors to the APC, when a crisis of confidence between the new entrants and members of the merging opposition parties broke out in the affected states.
The leadership crisis was triggered by one of the terms agreed to by the APC leadership with the former PDP governors, which empowered the defecting governors to take over the control of APC structures in their states.
The arrangement, however, did not go down well with other party leaders who protested that the deal amounted to relegating them and their contributions to the formation of APC.
At its last meeting in Abuja, the APC interim National Executive Committee Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, had announced the setting up of the reconciliation committee to look into the crisis rocking the five states.
The misunderstanding got to a point where Shekarau, a prominent leader of the party in the state, and former governor, led a large crowd of party stalwarts to temporarily occupy the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
Shekarau, who was accompanied by top members of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the state, including some members of the National Assembly, said the party’s faithful felt it was not right to disregard the contributions of the dedicated leaders in a bid to attract new members.
According to Shekarau, one of the pillars upon which the merger was built was internal democracy, adding that if there is no internal democracy in the party then democracy is doomed in Nigeria.
In his submission, he said: “We bring to you the feelings, concerns and vision of the people of Kano as far as APC is concerned. Politics is about people and meeting the wishes and aspirations of the people, if there are no people behind us, we cannot call ourselves leaders of political party. We will be failing in our responsibilities if we disregard the feeling and wishes of the people.”
Part of the demands contained in the protest letter submitted to the Baraje reconciliation committee were that the party should accept the list of state harmonisation committee already formed by APC leaders in the states and to direct the governors and their supporters to work with the said committees by putting in place permanent structures for APC.
In the same vein, the failure of the in-coming members to ratify the existing party structure is also causing some ripples in Adamawa State.
The state chapter of the APC held its first state interim committee meeting to resolve some of the differences between the Nyako and Marwa groups.
But the meeting failed to achieve reconciliation as some aggrieved members of the party refused to show up for the meeting.
The meeting, which was presided over by Nyako, took place at the Dougirei Government House, Yola and was attended by notable party chieftains including the former presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and former State Minister of Defence under the Government of National Unity Abdurrahaman Abbah.
But notable party chieftains like Marwa, Hajiya Fati Balla, Mr. Markus Gundiri, Hon. Titsi Kwaga Ganama, Hon. Haske Francis Hananiya, Mr. Boss Mustapha and Mr. Vincent Musa were conspicuously absent at the meeting.
The interim National Vice-Chairman of the party, North-east, Dr. Umar Duhu, when contacted for an explanation on why some notable members of the committee were absent from the meeting, confirmed that invitations were sent to all the members of the state interim committee, but noted that some members simply refused to turn up for the meeting.
“As the interim National Vice-Chairman, it is my responsibility to convene the state interim committee meeting as directed by the national body.
“And as such, I sent invitations to all members of the committee through text message and I got reply. But what saddened me was that one of the members who did not attend the meeting, was busy texting messages to members and asking that they should not attend the meeting, citing myopic reasons,” he said.
Duhu, who frowned on the attitude of such members, warned that the party would henceforth not condone any attitude that would expose the party to ridicule, adding that the party would not fold its arms to watch people flout the directives of the national secretariat of the party.
He appealed to all members of APC in Adamawa to see reason by supporting the party to fight the larger enemy, the PDP, as all of them are crucial to the movement.
“I call on all members to see reason as to why we should foster unity and come together to build a block that will give PDP a chase for its money. Let us use our numerical strength to defeat them at the polls,” he said.
When contacted, a chieftain of the party, Alhaji AbdulRazaq Namdas, said they had refused to attend the meeting, because the state interim committee ought to have been reviewed following the defection of Nyako to the party.
He added: “We should have waited till this list is reviewed and have reconciled our differences before calling such a meeting.”
Namdas said the second reason the members had refused to attend the meeting was due to the failure of Duhu to implement the directive of the national secretariat in reconciling and harmonising the party.
“In order to reconcile the differences, the national chairman of the party, alongside Senator Bola Tinubu, constituted a three-man committee comprising Nuhu Ribadu, Umar Duhu and Boss Mustapha to reconcile all the blocks in the party.
“This committee was to ensure that they reconcile all the members, but since that was done, they have not called us for any meeting to resolve certain issues.
“Until that is done, we have no reason to attend any meeting with them,” he said.