Wakili’s suspension stokes Bauchi APC’s gathering storm
Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State may have fired the first salvo to checkmate his perceived enemies. The governor has been embattled by influential members of his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state who are particularly irked by his “style of leadership.”
The foes that are opposed to his leadership style have vowed to fight him to a logical end, even if it requires involving the presidency and the national headquarters of the party.In September, the political quagmire in the state reached a crescendo when some chieftains of the party, stormed the organisation’s headquarters in Abuja, to complain about the governor’s alleged wrongdoings.
Prominent among the aggrieved politicians involved in the protest were: Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; Senator Ali Wakil (Bauchi-Central); and Senator Suleiman Nazif (Bauch-North).
Their grouse against the Governor included alleged misuse of funds particularly the N8.6 billion bailout funds given to the state by the Federal Government, among others, which they insisted, must be accounted for.
Giving insight into the crisis, a chieftain of the APC, Alhaji Yusuf Tagga, who claimed he joined forces with those contending with Abubakar, said the administrative style of the government was purely anti masses and development.
However, indications that the governor has recouped and prepared to do battle emerged recently when the party suspended one of the key actors, Wakili, a move that has stoked the gathering storm within the party
The crisis dates back to 2015 before the general elections, sources maintained, when Wakili and Dogara opposed the governor during the APC governorship primaries in the state and that they only agreed to shift grounds after a compromise was reached. Principal among the terms of understanding is that Abubarkar would run an all-inclusive government.
To Wakili, Dogara and others in the same camp, the governor has reneged on his promise especially as it affected good governance in the State. “The misuse of the bailout funds, non -payment of workers salaries, the extravagant lifestyles of the governor, the breach of due process in the award of contracts, and other wasteful ventures are strong reasons those that crave for the development of Bauchi are seeking the intervention of the presidency and the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun on the crisis,” Tagga listed as part of their accusations.
Besides, observers of political developments in the State disclosed that during the inauguration of the National Assembly leadership in June 2015, the governor did not support Dogara’s candidacy for Speaker.
Abubarkar, who denied virtually all the allegations however admitted not supporting Dogara’s bid for the speakership. “My problem with Dogara started during the elections of the leadership of the National Assembly. I stood on the side of the party. I said every Bauchi lawmaker should tow the line of the party. You know that Bauchi has a candidate but I said irrespective of that, we should tow the line of the party,’’ He stated.
Although he claimed recently that he was open for reconciliation and that he has made some moves to reach to the group, the suspension of Wakili signals a different tune.But the state chapter of the APC insists that the Senator was suspended for hobnobbing and holding secret meetings with non-party members. In particular, he was accused of meeting with a former governor of the state, Malam Isa Yuguda who is not a member of APC.
The State publicity secretary of APC, Alhaji Auwal Jalla said that Wakili and the Governor have no problem, but that the issue emanated from the Senator’s ward.“The case is with Senator Wakili and the executive of his ward. The ward executive held a meeting and discussed all the problem they have and decided to suspend him from the party in-line with the APC constitution, the meeting was attended by 20 ward executive members out of 26.
“The APC would not allow card carrying members to hold a political meeting with a different party members and Senator Wakili held meetings with former Bauchi State Governor, Malam Isa Yuguda,” he asserted.
In contrast, the APC ward and local government chairmen in Lere North and Tafawa Balewa Mr. Ishaku Simon and Alhaji Korau Bununu said that nobody has the right to suspend Wakili from the Party.
Speaking at a rally organised by supporters of Wakili and all the executive members from ward to Local Government level, the executives disassociated themselves from the alleged suspension by the party leadership.
According to them, Senator Wakili remains a member of the party. “As you can see, the local government party chairman is here, all the executive from ward level to local government level are here including myself the ward chairmen of APC, Lere North and we are not aware of his suspension and we are not party to it so nobody can suspend our son from the party without our consent,” they stated.
They maintained that a letter dated January 8th, 2017 and addressed to the former Local Government party chairman, Mijinyawa Hardo, which was signed by Markus Silas purportedly suspending Wakili, is null and void, as it did not emanate from them.
Simon said that he is the ward chairman and averred that those claiming to have suspended the senator are not their members but enemies of APC and the people from the area.Bununu who is the chairman of APC in Tafawa Balewa Local Government also accused Hardo of creating disunity among party members in Local Government area saying: “Hardo is our former party chairman in Tafawa Balewa, but he was later sacked from his position because of his anti-party conduct as well as divide and rule tactics. He cannot send anybody out of the party without the consent all the executive and support from registered members. That is not possible in APC.
“We have written letters to the state APC office in Bauchi and the National headquarters in Abuja; we are waiting patiently for their resolutions, opinion and decision on the subject matter. But Wakili is still in APC; no body can suspend him without us.”
He alleged that Bauchi State Governor is the one sponsoring non-party members to create disunity among peaceful people of Tafawa Balewa local government.When contacted, Mijinyawa said “It has come to our notice that senator Ali Wakili has been organising several political meetings in his house and other places outside the party office with a view to causing fractionalisation within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lere North Ward and Tafawa Balewa local government area of Bauchi State.”
Similarly, the, Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo said that the Governor does not have problems with Wakili and members of the NASS as being orchestrated by some people.
He said what is happening between the Governor and some members of the National Assembly are just a perceived misunderstanding between them and the governor. “Its greed for power by desperate legislators. Governor Abubarkar has taken an oath that he would run an inclusive government, which he has not derail from. Wakili should go back to his ward and the entire people of Bauchi South to mend his fences and not to be transferring his problem to the Governor whose concern is to execute meaningful projects to his people.”
Sabo said that the Governor is ready for reconciliation with members of the NASS and aggrieved members of the party, and advised Wakili to resolve his personal problem with his constituency.Speaking on the suspension saga, Wakili said he remains a bonafide member of the APC arguing that nobody can change that. “I have no problem with my people at ward and local government level. The party executives have come out from ward and local government to denied any knowledge of my suspension and have since distanced and disassociated themselves from the allege suspension.”
He told The Guardian that the challenges they are having with the governor hinged their demand for good governance.“We promised that we are going to channel all local government funds directly to the local government, but unfortunately the governor has reneged on that; he constituted caretaker chairmen without our consultation, if all of us are stakeholders, this caretaker must be constituted in consultation with us, we are the critical stakeholders.
“Our quarrel with him is that, his words are not his honour, I was one of those that championed his nomination and I worked and God granted our request. When we were campaigning, there are certain promises we made to our party members immediately we got the nomination; when I accosted him, he says, these are political promises but because of my moral and religious upbringing, I disagreed.”
According to him, they promised the electorate that they will not tamper with the district heads created and the hamlets created by the administration of Isa Yuguda, adding that presently, the people have been chased out.
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