Stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the North East have expressed divergent views over the Sept. 4 Local Government Congress of the party.
Cross section of stakeholders spoke in seperate interviews while responding to a survey of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on the conduct of the LG Congresses in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Jigawa States.
While some of the respondents described the Congress as a “unifying factor” others opined that the outcome might affect chances of the party in the 2023 general election.
This is against the backdrop of reports of alleged parallel Congresses by factions of the party in some states, amid the successful conduct of the exercise in Bauchi, Borno and Gombe.
In Borno, critical stakeholders believed that the consensus method adopted in the Congress was the best option to foster unity among members of the party.
The stakeholders said they unanimously adopted for the consensus method in the election of party officials at all levels in Borno, adding that the measure helped greatly in ensuring rancour free congresses across the state.
Sen. Maina Ma’aji, a former governor of the state, described consensus as the best method that would further promote unity and make the party stronger.
Ma’aji said the stakeholders were satisfied that there was no desire by the incumbent governor or apex leadership of the party to impose their interest or candidates on the party in the state.
Also, Sen. Kashim Shettima, said that the consensus availed the party the opportunities to have an all inclusive leadership.
“All segment of our party will have a sense of belonging. We have always acted as one political family in Borno,” Shettima said.
In his contribution, Sen. Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South), said that consensus was the best way to go and expressed the hope that things would go smoothly.
“In Borno we are used to it. We have good leadership and unity among us,” he said.
The Acting Chairman of the party in the state, Alhaji Ali Dalori, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the Congresses, and urged members to continue to work towards promoting unity of the party.
A party stalwart, Mr Ibrahim Abubakar said that: “Every critical stakeholders attended that meeting, including Gov. Babagana Zulum, his deputy, formers governors, senators, members of the national and state assemblies, Local Government Council chairmen among others.
“Everyone is carried along and that is why we don’t have any problem in Borno.
“All we did as advised by the governor is to ensure that we observe and adhere strictly to the rules and regulations of the party to guide conduct of the congresses.”
In Jigawa, Alhaji Lawan Yunusa, Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the LG Congress, dismissed the alleged parallel congresses of the party in the state.
He emphasised that the Congresss was conducted successfully, adding that the outcome of the exercise would not affect the party in future election.
Yunusa said even though there were reports of parallel congresses in some places, the exercise was successful through consensus in line with the guidelines of the party.
“Here in Jigawa, even the ward congress was conducted through consensus and no single complaint received from anyone concerning the exercise.
“So also the Saturday’s LG congress for which we hope that no complaint will follow,” he said.
Yunusa expressed the hope that the party will do its best to sort out differences amicably with aggrieved members to become more united and stronger.
Also commenting, Alhaji Abubakar Jallo, a member of the LOC, said that it was a common phenomenon to have complaints after Congresses in any political party.
“Our party will not have negative impact as a result of the parallel congresses.
“Here in Jigawa, we believe that APC will be more stronger to win future elections in 2023,” Jallo said.
However, political analysts in Adamawa, identified the parallel Congress as a major threat to the party in the 2023 general election.
The experts held that duplication in the conduct of Ward and LG Congresses would negatively affect the credibility of the party to win 2023 general election.
Dr Audu Yunusa, a Lecturer, Modibbo Adama University, Yola, said that the trend portends negative consequences to the party.
“If a political party like the ruling APC cannot conduct and manage credible and transparent Ward and LG Congresses, it is an indication that the party will face challenges in the forthcoming general election.
“My fear is that the poor conduct of the Congresses may determine the credibility of the next general election in the country,” he said.
Alhaji Ibrahim Malamre, also a political analyst, observed that lack of internal democracy was a major obstacle to growth democractic culture in the country.
“All the registered political parties have standard, credible rules and regulations for guidance and good governance.
“Sadly; a long the line, few group of party members hijjack the party’s affairs because of their thirst for leadership.
“Unless, the leadership of the parties are up to the task of solving the nagging issues, the situation is going to affect it and the conduct of the next general election,” he said.
On his part, Sen. Ishaku Abbo (APC-Adamawa North), said that parallel congress was a disaster to the party.
Ishaku said that any political party that allowed parallel congresses would face a lot of challenges and defeat at the polls.
“Lack of internal peace within the political parties had serious negative impact on election,” Abbo said.
Also reacting, Mrs Rifkatu Maxwel, an INEC official in Adamawa, attributed the parallel Congresses to lack of internal democracy in the political parties.
“Parallel Congresses and Court orders are among the problems affecting effective service delivery of the Commission,” she said.
Similarly, Mr Abdulmumini Kundak, a Chieftain of the APC in Bauchi, said parallel congresses would bring division in the party.
“Some supporters will be aggrieved because they feel they were not favoured while others celebrate the outcome of the Congress.
“This will amount to law turnout while others will vote the party out in 2023 because they are aggrieved.
“Any party that failed to observed such principles will find it stressful to win election,” he said
Kundak said that through effective internal democracy, Congresses were aimed towards repositioning the party to clinch power in the next election.
“This is important where party members are allowed to make their choices on who will be saddled with leadership responsibility,” Kundak said.
However, Malam Isa Mumini, an APC stakeholder in the state, insisted that the party did not witness parallel Congresses in the state.
He called on aggrieved members that were dissatisfied with the outcome of the Congresses to channel their complaints through lawful corridors of the party.
According to him, the party encourages consensus method in line with Article 20 of its constitution and guidelines.
In the same vein, Mr Yakubu Shehu (APC – Bauchi Federal Constituency), urged the party to constitute a committee to reconcile aggrieved members in the state.
Shehu said the party would not relent on efforts to reconcile its members ahead of the 2023 general election.
More so, Alh Ibrahim Sabo, APC’s Public Relations Officer in Gombe State, said the party adopted the consensus method that facilitated successful conduct of the Ward and LG Congresses in the state.
Sabo announced that a committee has been set up to interact with aggrieved members of the party at the grassroots.
On his part, Mr Cliff Stanley, a political analyst in Gombe, said that electorates would vote for candidates of their choice rather than political party in the 2023 general election.
Stanley stressed that credibility of candidates would play significant role in shaping the electorates’ choices of who to elect to lead them.
He said the inability of the major political parties to deliver had affected their chances and change the mindset of the electorates, to evaluate candidates base on their individual integrity rather than political affiliations.
He alledged that political gladiators were the determiniant factors on who to be elected in the Ward, LG and State Congresses, adding that the trend remained a problem to the polity.
“Unlike the Second Republic where people controlled the national polity.
“We do not have internal democracy now, political gladiators dictate the tune,” he said
According to him, people have been registering en-masse to obtain voter card in the ongoing Continued Voter Registration (CVR), to enable them to exercise their franchise.