The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) has shown no signs of abating as the national reconciliation committee set up by the party to curb hostilities has failed to make headway three months after it was set up.
According to The PUNCH, the APC feared that its national convention could be declared illegal if court cases instituted in several states were not withdrawn or concluded.
A member of the Mala Buni led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, told.the medium that the party was not sure of the February convention because of the various cases instituted by its aggrieved members.
He stated: “If we go ahead with the convention and allow a faction in a state to attend, the other group may get a court order against the convention. We are not happy with the plethora of court cases by members who have remained adamant and refused to withdraw cases.“
Also, a lawyer handling one of the cases, who spoke with The PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said: “The APC is now in a quagmire. Several cases have been instituted challenging the legitimacy of Buni’s committee. Should that committee go ahead with the convention and the court rules that Buni’s committee is illegal, then the convention is null and void.
“Also, the APC cannot decide on its own to recognise any faction until the courts have decided. If for instance in Zamfara State, Governor Matawalle’s faction takes part in the convention and the court later recognises former Governor Yari’s faction, then the entire convention has a legitimacy issue and may have to be conducted all over again. If such a thing happens across four states, then you can be sure that the convention will have to be done all over again.”
The APC had on September 15 set up a committee led by former Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Adamu, to look into the crisis rocking the party in all the states where factional chairmen emerged from the rancorous congresses.
Other members of the committee include a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume; former Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime; former Jigawa State Governor, Ali Saad Birnin-Kudu; Alhaji Suleiman Argungu; former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Oluranti Adebule; and Dr Beta Edu.
The mandate of the Adamu-led committee was to mediate the crisis in the states. Some of the affected states include Rivers, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Delta, Osun, Kano, Abia, Zamfara, Gombe and Kwara.
However, the committee, which was set up on September 15, did not start its assignment until late November. The committee had also visited Gombe and Kano States. But none of the warring parties had agreed to sheathe their swords.
In Kano State, where two factions loyal to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and Senator Ibrahim Shekarau lay claim to legitimacy, the tension has failed to abate.
The situation in Kano, it was learnt, was more complex because the court had recognised the Shekarau faction while the national leadership is rumoured to be supporting the faction as well. Last week, the Chairman of the Shekarau faction, Ahmadu Danzago, was warmly received by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
Danzago later told BBC that the President had endorsed him. However, Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, who is also from Kano State, said the President was not supporting any faction.
Ganduje’s faction has also filed an appeal. The matter is expected to come up on January 13.
It was learnt that in all the states, warring factions had refused to withdraw their cases from court despite the efforts of the Adamu-led committee.
In Zamfara State, a Federal High Court dismissed the case filed by the APC faction of former governor Abdul’Aziz Yari, challenging the dissolution of the state party’s Exco by Mai Mala Buni.
But Senator Kabiru Marafa revealed that an appeal had been filed.
Marafa also said the APC reconciliation panel had yet to reach out to him or his faction in Zamfara.
“I don’t even know about the committee and nobody has contacted me. We are still in court and the appeal has already reached the next level,” he said.
A chieftain of the party in Kwara State also said that it was unlikely that the APC would be able to hold its convention in February.
“The committee is expected to meet with us in Kwara in the second week of January. And the convention is slated for February. From the look of things, they will not be able to complete their task before the convention,” he said.
Another chieftain in Osun State where Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, are at loggerheads, said the reconciliation committee has not yet reach out to them.
“The Adamu committee has not visited Osun State. I don’t know the magic they want to perform before February. And for the factions to truly reconcile, all cases have to be withdrawn from court. Currently, we see no signs of such,” he said.
The National Secretary of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John Akpan Udo-Edehe, who is the official spokesman for the party, has earlier said that the APC would only recognise state leaderships that emerged from the congresses conducted by representatives from the headquarters of the party.
“I will repeat for the last time, anything outside what we have done in terms of ward, local government and state congresses is a nullity, that doesn’t mean where we have disagreements. We will not intervene; that is why we have the Adamu committee,” he had said.