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2019: Atiku, Aisha divide APC

By News Express on 10/09/2017

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•APC chieftain Atiku Abubakar
•APC chieftain Atiku Abubakar

There appears to be a crack in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over a member’s comments on former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Women Affairs Minister Hajia Aisha Alhasan.

It was learnt yesterday that the National Vice Chairman (North West), Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, has come under fire for his comments on the duo.

Some members are demanding that he be sanctioned for what they called unauthorised comments.

Abdulkadir had attacked Atiku and Alhassan over the minister’s statement that she would support the former vice president against President Muhamadu Buhari in the 2019 election.

But Ogun State Governor Ibikunde Amosun yesterday said only illness could stop the President from seeking a second term.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said he was not running and disowned a group campaigning for him.

The NWC members said Abdulkadir was acting a script, adding that he did not speak on the committee’s behalf.

They also alleged that he was sighted driving towards the residence of a former top government official after his press conference against Atiku on Friday.

They are demanding sanctions against Abdulkadir for “official trespass” by dabbling in the affairs of the North-East when he is from the North-West.

However, APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the party had no position yet on Atiku’s and Alhassan’s comments.

He said any NWC member that speaks was just expressing his or her personal opinion.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that while some members of the NWC were backing Atiku and Alhassan, some are with the President.

It was learnt that the split in the NWC made Buhari’s supporters to pull a fast one through Abdulkadir to attack Atiku.

It was learnt that most NWC members were angry that the party’s leadership was not consulted on ministerial appointments and was not briefed on the direction of the Buhari administration. They are also angry that the party cannot pay electricity bills or buy diesel for its generator.

A member of the NWC said: “Some of us are actually backing Aisha and Atiku. The party has been sidelined since after the election in 2015.

“We have not been allowed to make input into the governance of our own administration. Each time there is an issue, you will always see the party leadership wandering to defend lapses.

“We cannot even meet some basic needs, especially secretariat staff salaries and utility bills. The party has not only been sidelined, it has been abandoned.”

Another NWC member said: “It is politically better for me to be at home with my family than being a leader of the party. Unlike what obtains in the US, the UK and China, the party leadership does not count in all the policies and activities of the government.

“Many of us are angry and we may return to our tents before the coalition which produced this government.”

A key leader of the party said: “The centre does not actually hold in the NWC again. Many of us are ready to talk but we are waiting for the auspicious time.

“Some of us in the NWC have protested to the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, over comments attributed to Alhaji Abdulkadir on Atiku.

“Abdulkadir spoke on behalf of the party when he is not even our spokesman. He also committed political trespass by talking on issues outside his jurisdiction. He is from the North-West whereas Atiku and Sen. Aisha are from the North-East.

“We suspected that Abdulakdir was hatching a script because after his briefing on Friday, he was sighted going towards the residence of a former top government official.

“Maybe the camp of Lawal is capitalising on the situation to pay Atiku back in his own coin. Even at that, what is the business of the National Vice Chairman (North-West) in the affairs of the North-East?”

Responding to a question, the highly- respected member of the NWC said: “Some of us have told Oyegun, that Abdulkadir must be sanctioned.”

But another senior NWC member said: “Some of us have no apology for sticking to Buhari. Some APC leaders are complaining because there is no money to throw around like during the PDP era.

“They are just out to stop Buhari from getting a second term ticket. They want to split the party. This is their ultimate target. We see Atiku and Sen. Alhassan as the cannon fodders.

“Either in APC or PDP, there is no way Buharists will allow Atiku to go far. He flew the kite so early and this same political style has been his greatest undoing.

“The President has waved off Atiku’s tantrums but his strategists have launched a counter plot. Just wait for how things will unfold. He will end up playing second fiddle in 2019.”

Abdullahi said Abdulkadir was on his own.

He said: “We don’t have a position, we have not met. We are not planning to meet and we have not scheduled any meeting on this matter or any other purposes.

“The point is that there is no official position on this issue. Anyone talking is just expressing his personal opinion.”

Amosun said only the president’s health could stop him from seeking re-election.

The governor spoke with reporters in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, shortly after a Book Launch and Scholarship Scheme in commemoration of one year remembrance of renowned educationist, the late Chief Lamidi Sofenwa.

The book entitled: “Lamidi Ayinla Sofenwa: Quintessential gentleman and educationist: A Biography”, was reviewed by Dr Taofiq Salisu. It was written by Olasumbo Martins; ’Dele Sogbesan and ’Biodun Odetoyin.

Amosun lamented that human beings were quick to forget about yesterday, saying given how bad things were before Buhari’s administration came on board, Nigerians should know that a lot has been done to pull Nigeria back on track.

According to him, if Buhari and his administration had not come in time on rescue mission, “only God knows where Nigeria would have been today.”

“On this 2019 for me, the only thing that can probably prevent  Mr. President from contesting is on health ground because if not for this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari only God knows where Nigeria would have been.

“As humans, we quickly forget things, if we could be fair to this administration, they came in at a time the country was plunged into a very deep end and imagine where the country is today. We were in recession and now we are out of it and it is not easy to get to this point.

“Again I am saying it, the only thing that can stop Mr President is on health ground but as we can see today Mr President is back and is rejuvenating and very soon, it would be clear for everybody to see that Mr President is so well now.

“Meanwhile nobody will take the fact that from the three cardinal points he set for himself, this administration has been doing tremendously well in the aspect of security and we all know that nothing good can happen in any country without adequate security.

“Yes, some people are saying Boko Haram has not yet been conquered but if you look at America and put into consideration how many years it took them to win the war against Osama Bin Laden, among others you will know that this administration should be applauded as far as security is concerned.

“The same thing in our economy, just look at our agriculture it has never been this good. At least, I am a governor and this is my seventh year, this is the first time that truly Nigeria is diversifying,” Amosun said.

Adapted from a report by The Nation.

Source News Express

Posted 10/09/2017 12:45:27 PM

 

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