Shekarau, Bafarawa shun APC leaders
By Isa Sa’idu, Ibrahim Musa Giginyu (Kano), Abubakar Auwal (Sokoto) & Abbas Jimoh (Abuja)
The crisis in the Kano and Sokoto chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) appeared to have worsened yesterday when two key leaders stayed away from separate meetings held to unify disparate groups of the party in the two states.
Former Kano governor Ibrahim Shekarau and his Sokoto counterpart Attahiru Bafarawa had been sulking since the defection to APC by their long-standing political rivals, Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso and Aliyu Wamakko.
The incumbent governors have been trying to take over control of the party’s state structures, which the two former governors were instrumental in setting up in the first place.
In Sokoto yesterday, a unification forum of the party’s factions was held during a state secretariat commissioning, conducted by Wamakko, with key Bafarawa loyalists attending.
But Bafarawa did not attend or send a representative, and no reason was given for his absence.
Wamakko was assisted in opening the office by Bafarawa’s former deputy, Alhaji Chiso Datti. Others are the event were former gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Alhaji Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi, who challenged Wamakko in two previous elections, as well as Ambassador Abubakar Shehu Wurno, and Alhaji Lawali Labbo Margai.
One of Bafarawa’s associates and former secretary of the defunct ANPP in the state, Alhaji Abubakar Kantoma, said as far as Bafarawa and his supporters were concerned the office commissioned yesterday was that of defectors and not the authentic state secretariat of APC.
“We are the genuine members of APC,” he told Daily Trust.
On the presence of Bafarawa’s former lieutenants at yesterday’s event, Kantoma said those people had long parted ways with the former governor.
“When Bafarawa left DPP to ACN none of them followed him and even when he switched back to his former party, ANPP. So it is not surprising if they decide to join Wamakko,” he said.
A spokesman for Bafarawa, Alhaji Yusuf Dingyadi, said the office commissioning amounted to an illegality as it was done without the consent of the Abubakar Sanyinna-led interim party executive.
“So it was like a commissioning an office of a social club,” Dingyadi said.
Speaking at the ceremony earlier, Wamakko said he was glad that the people of the state agreed to form a united front towards bringing positive changes in the state and the country.
“We have united for the benefit of our state and the country,” he said.
“As you can see physically, everywhere is full; everyone that matters in the state is here. So the meeting is fruitful, cordial and result oriented and whatever we have discussed is for the benefit of our dear state and country.”
Also speaking, Maigari Dingyadi assured that the warring camps would at the end of the day dissolve into one formidable party.
Ambassador Wurno, for his part, said they would not continue to live in isolation. “We have to join any force that can lead to the emancipation of our people and Nigerians. This is why we are here. This is why we decided to bury whatever differences we have in the past and join the crusade,” he said.
Also in Kano, a unification meeting was held behind closed doors between the founding APC members and the Kwankwaso side.
Among those who attended were Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, Senator Kabiru Gaya, Alhaji Barau Jibrin, Rabi’u Bako, Aminu Ibrahim Abba, Alhaji Ibrahim Kankarofi and Sheikh Ibrahim Khalil.
But Shekarau did not attend, and no reason was given for his absence.
A statement yesterday by Kwankwaso’s spokesman Halilu Ibrahim Dantiye said the meeting was part of the governor’s efforts of ensuring unity in the APC.
“Stakeholders of the APC in Kano are making spirited efforts to reinforce unity among the different camps that formed the party, to enable it face the challenges ahead,” Dantiye said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Shekarau has continued to hobnob with the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which Kwankwaso left to join the APC.
Yesterday, the former governor hosted a delegation of Kano PDP elders, led by Ambassador Aminu Wali.
Wali said during the visit that they were at Shekarau’s house to show their appreciation of his leadership in the state, despite their political differences.
He said they decided to visit to the former governor to foster understanding and to plead with him to cooperate with them in ensuring a better Kano State.
In his remark, Shekarau said he felt honoured by the visit.
“As a stakeholder in this state, my house is open to all concerned citizens of this state. Our vision is to see a better Kano State, and I repeat I will gladly be part of any movement to ensure that. I will always be part of such movement even if I am not there physically,” he said.
Others on the PDP delegation are Alhaji Mohammed Abacha, Alhaji Dauda Dan Galan and Senator Hamisu Musa.
But soon after the meeting, a spokesman for Shekarau said the former governor had no plans to defect to the PDP.
Malam Sule Yau Sule told Daily Trust by telephone yesterday: “There was no time that His Excellency (Shekarau) met anyone to defect from APC let alone making such declaration. He is not known for such kind of frivolity. He is a democrat and would not dump or destroyed the APC house he worked to build.
“There was no truth in those kind of reports that Mallam Shekarau is defecting. Those kind of reports should be ignored. He remained the leader of our party in Kano and also a national leader.”