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APC Founding Fathers Watching From The Opposition, Sidelined In Ruling Party

JOHN ALECHENU writes about some prominent politicians who participated in the formation of the All Progressives Congress but are no longer part of the party’ s activities.
APC Founding Fathers Watching From The Opposition, Sidelined In Ruling Party.jpg
This architect and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs during the administration of the late military dictator, Gen . Sani Abacha , was a member of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria , one of the three main legacy political parties which merged to form the All Progressives Congress , in August 2013.

His private residence in Maitama, Abuja , was the venue of several meetings heralding the formation of the first successful merger of the then major opposition political parties in the most populous black nation on earth .

As a matter of fact , Ikimi was one of the prominent figures in the merger arrangement, emerging the Chairman of the Merger Committee of Action Congress of Nigeria .

Ikimi dumped the APC in protest over what he claimed was the undemocratic tendencies which he alleged had crept into the party soon after the merger became successful .

The former minister lost out in the power play which saw the emergence of a fellow Edo State politician, Chief John Odigie – Oyegun , as the national chairman .

In his letter of resignation from the APC, he said , “The party ’ s governors colluded with (Ahmed ) Tinubu to truncate democratic process in the national convention .

“ The governors and the Tinubu group decided on a zoning process that was limited only to party offices as well as the choice of individuals to fill them . Most undemocratic and bizarre procedures then prevailed . ”

He went on to add , “The governors initiated a zoning plan that allocated the national chairman to the South – South . This proposal was reluctantly accepted by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu , whose well- known option had been to retain Chief Bisi Akande as the chairman forever .

“ Nevertheless he , in the circumstance, proceeded to draw up a list of his cronies for the entire national executives all referred to the national interim executive council for approval or even information . ”

Alhaji Buba Galadima

Alhaji Buba Galadima is the former National Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change and a member of the moribund Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Congress .

He told SUNDAY PUNCH in a telephone interview from London that the APC, a party he and others came together to form in 2014 , had been unfair to its founding fathers .

Galadima, a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari , explained that with the way the party was being run by its current leaders , the Independent National Electoral Commission ought not to recognise it as a political party .

He said , “ The party has not been fair to its founding fathers. Those at the party ’ s helm are sycophants who (have ) ingratiated themselves to the President and abandoned the party .

“ As a result of their attitude , the party is suffering . This is a party that has failed to hold its statutory meetings not even a non – elective convention for over three and half years . It does not even deserve the recognition of the Independent National Electoral Commission as a political party . ”

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was a member of the stillborn “New ” Peoples Democratic Party , which dumped the then ruling PDP to pitch its tent with the newly -formed All Progressives Congress . He deployed his vast contacts and resources to assist the APC form the government .

However , no sooner had the party formed government than cracks begin to appear in his relationship with some party leaders in the corridors of power. The crisis came to a head with the termination of the lucrative contract hitherto enjoyed by INTELS , an oil servicing company he has appreciable interests in .

In a letter , resigning his membership of the APC, Atiku said , “ While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalisation , the APC has adopted the same practices .

“ It has even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced . ”

His resignation came after accusing the party of failing to deliver on its promises to Nigerians especially its teeming youth population . Atiku observed that the youth lacked representation in Buhari ’ s cabinet .

He noted , “ A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party . The future belongs to young people . I admit that I and others, who accepted the invitation to join the APC, were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage .

“ Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people ?”

The former vice president is a veteran of many political parties . Before his latest return to the PDP , he had left the then ruling party in the run- up to the 2007 elections, when he joined the defunct Action Congress in 2006 , after months of a tough battle with his principal, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo , and the leadership of the PDP .

He was soon back in the PDP in 2009 after falling out of favour with some prominent figures in the AC , notably a former Lagos State Governor , Asiwaju Bola Tinubu . But finding it difficult to assert a commanding influence in the PDP, especially failing to pick the party ’ s 2011 presidential ticket and his desire to emerge as the nation ’ s number one citizen , Atiku again , alongside five PDP governors , defected from the PDP in November 2013 to the emerging APC , where he battled unsuccessfully to get the presidential ticket of the new party in December 2014.

His return to the PDP in November 2017 hardly came as a surprise to many political watchers .
Atiku’ s spokesperson , Mazi Paul Ibe, told SUNDAY PUNCH, “ His Excellency , former Vice President Atiku Abubakar , has since moved on. He is now a committed member of the PDP , a party which he played a key role in forming and nurturing. ”

Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora

This medical doctor turned politician is a former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly before his election as the Senator representing the Lagos – East senatorial district between 2003 and 2011.

Mamora went on to serve as the Deputy Director – General of the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation during the 2015 presidential election .

He was curiously shut out after Buhari won the election and was sworn in as President . Many had expected Mamora to get a prominent role in government or at least chair the board of a grade “A ” ministry or federal parastatal. That however didn ’ t happen for close to three years the Buhari administration has spent in power.

After several speculations , Mamora was nominated as Chairman of the Abuja Investment and Infrastructure Centre, a position which some consider an equivalent of a state parastatal.

The former federal lawmaker rejected the appointment . Close associates revealed that he argued that people , who never participated in the process that brought Buhari to power, were the greatest beneficiaries of the administration .

There were earlier speculations that Mamora was listed to be the Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority in 2016 but he was edged out by some powerful forces within the Buhari inner caucus .

Attahiru Bafarawa

This former Governor of Sokoto State on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party was one of the founding fathers of the APC who left the party before the 2015 general elections claiming unfair treatment .

The ex – governor, who has since joined the Peoples Democratic Party , alleged injustice against him and others who “ laboured ” to form the APC . Bafarawa was one of those saddled with the responsibility of drafting a constitution for the then new party , the APC.

He had alleged in a recent interview with SUNDAY PUNCH that the leadership of the APC at the national level, “ceded ” the new party to some PDP governors , who defected to the new party in November 2013 , and were made the leaders of the APC in their states after the defecting governors had paid N100 m each .

His media aide , Yusuf Dingyadi , in an interview with our correspondent, said , “The reasons why His Excellency , Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, left the APC are well known . His former party did not treat him as one of its founding fathers fairly.

“ Those who laboured to form the party were frustrated out ; their supporters were frustrated out. The party structure in the states were seized from them and handed over to governors who knew nothing about how the APC came about . ”

Ali Modu Sheriff

Two – term governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sherriff , was one of the founding fathers of the APC who also left the party as a result of alleged marginalisation by the party hierarchy in the scheme of things. He, like his former governor colleagues , Attahiru Bafarawa and Ibrahim Shekarau (of Kano State), felt betrayed that the party leadership at the national level chose to hand over the party structures at the various state levels to their successors who were then incumbent governors , who had lately joined the APC.

Sheriff was particularly irked that Governor Kashim Shettima, his former commissioner , who succeeded him as governor, was given recognition as the leader of the party in the state.

However , while giving reasons why he left the APC to join the PDP, he said , “Many will be asking why I defected from the APC to the PDP having served two terms as governor on the platforms of the defunct APP and the ANPP . The answer is simple and straightforward , because Borno State is the least developed state in the North , as it has been in the opposition for over two decades.

“ The security challenges we are facing today , that has claimed many lives and property, including my brothers and uncles , cannot be overcome in an opposition political party like the APC that I have defected from into the ruling party .

“ Opposition in the country has never taken out affected states from their abject poverty and dearth or absence of federal presence . ”
Although he not only joined the PDP , he went on to lead the party as its national chairman before a court judgment sent him packing.

Murtala Nyako

The ex – Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, was one of five governors of the PDP who joined the APC as foundation members . Their joining the party from the defunct “New ” PDP was considered by many as the big break which gave the then APC a national outlook and strengthened its base across regional lines.

He was impeached by the state House of Assembly but a court nullified his removal from office . Although he has retired to his farm , he is still interested in happenings within the party . Only recently , he protested the decision of the party ’ s National Executive Committee to extend the tenure of party officials at all levels .

A close associate of Nyako told
SUNDAY PUNCH, “ He is still interested in what happens within the party . He has , since joining the APC from the PDP , remained a loyal party member. His close friends and associates are still in government especially in Adamawa . He is an elder statesman and always ready to offer advice when called upon to do so . ”

Chief Bisi Akande

The former Ondo State governor and national chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria , served as pioneer interim national chairman of the APC. He superintended over the merger of the four legacy political parties which came together to form the APC. He is still a member of the moribund Board of Trustees of the APC and has since retired to the background . He only intervenes in party affairs from time to time from a distance.

He had cause to speak out after the political “coup ” which saw the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively . He also complained about the handling of party affairs by his successor, Chief John Odigie -Oyegun .
He is often sighted walking shoulder to shoulder with Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu , the party ’ s National Leader.

Yahaya Kwande

Ambassador Yahaya Kwande, a close associate of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar , was one of the founding fathers of the APC not only in his native Plateau State but across some states in the North- Central.

The former Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland told our correspondent that the party had not been fair to him .

Asked over the telephone whether the APC has been fair to its founding fathers , Kwande said , “ No, they have not. ”

He, however , declined to answer further questions on the matter.

Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau

The two – term governor of Kano State ( 2003- 2011 ) was a teacher , a permanent secretary in the Kano State civil service and a one- time presidential candidate of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party .

He served as the chairman of the ANPP merger committee which eventually led to the formation of the All Progressives Congress . Shekarau , whose Maitama residence in Abuja served as the secretariat of the ANPP merger committee, also played a key role in taking the ANPP into the merger .

The former Kano State governor’ s close ally and spokesman , Mallam Sule Ya’ u Sule , told SUNDAY PUNCH that that his boss and his supporters left the APC owing to alleged injustice.

He stated, “ My boss worked tirelessly; myself inclusive . We really worked for the formation of the APC . We toured states – even states that were not opposition states to galvanise support so that they can support the formation of the new party .

“ After the formation of the APC, we heard that the party structure in Kano was handed over to (Rabiu) Kwankwaso , who was then the incumbent governor. My boss said it was unfair .

We didn’ t say the governor should not be the leader but that we should have been allowed to sit down and work out a power sharing arrangement so that no one would be left out.

“ We wanted a situation where we would meet and stakeholders agree on which positions should go where; we were talking of party positions within the state . That was not to be because the governor (Kwankwaso) wanted and took everything without consideration for other stakeholders .

“ We felt it was not fair to say the governor, who just came after most of the work had been done, should take over everything . We wrote petitions .

We agreed that he (Kwankwaso) should be the leader of the party as the state governor but we wanted to be treated fairly, not for him to take over everything . We complained to the party leadership , but they did nothing . ”

Sule added , “ We were never invited for any function of the APC. We then realised that we were not wanted in the party and we had to consider other alternatives . It was actually injustice that pushed us out of the party . ”

Kawu Baraje

Baraje , a former National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party , who later became the National Chairman of the New PDP, led other members of the PDP, including five of the party ’ s sitting governors , to join the APC at inception .

Political pundits argue that the decision of the five PDP governors and their supporters to join the then opposition APC , served as the catalyst for the removal of the then PDP government from power.

A former spokesperson for the nPDP , Mr. Timi Frank , who is on suspension in the APC, is of the opinion that members of the nPDP were the worst treated since the APC took power. He argued that the party leadership had not only treated their leaders shabbily , but also continued to frustrate moves to build the party .

He said, “We were given nothing . The Senate Presidency , being occupied by Senator Bukola Saraki, and the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives , occupied by Yakubu Dogara , were taken by force. And since they took over , instead of the leadership of the APC to embrace them , the party has been undermining them .

“ Have you heard that our former National Chairman , Kawu Baraje , has been given any position in this government he helped to bring to power?”

 

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