The current political logjam between some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors and members of the National Assembly in their states, may negatively affect the electoral fortunes of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 16, 2019 presidential election, Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
While the governors are out to stop the senators from returning to the National Assembly, the aggrieved lawmakers have vowed not to leave the APC but to stay in the party and work against it in the 2019 general elections.
The APC leadership had in the heat of the defection gale that hit the Senate, in which it lost 14 of its lawmakers to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), promised automatic tickets to the party’s senators, but the senatorial ambition of out-going governors is threatening the arrangement.
The governors, who have declared intention to take over from the senators representing their respective senatorial districts are Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Ibrahim Shetima (Borno), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo).
In some other states controlled by the ruling party, incumbent governors, who are seeking re-election are equally at crossroads with some serving senators, over plot to replace the federal lawmakers with their cronies.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, President Buhari is expected to be the presidential flag bearer of the ruling APC in the election having expressed interest to seek a second term in office. The president submitted his nomination form at the party’s headquarters in Abuja last Wednesday.
At the moment, some of the APC senators who are at loggerheads with their governors include Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara), Shehu Sani (Kaduna), Ajayi Borrofice (Ondo), Lanre Tejuosho (Ogun Central), Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe East), Soji Akanbi (Oyo South), Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara) and Baba Kaka Garbai (Borno Central).
Speaking with Sunday Telegraph, a Special Adviser (Political) to one of the aggrieved senators in the South-West, said the untoward treatment of his principal and some other lawmakers in his shoes was unfair. He insisted that the pill is bitter to swallow for them.
“It’s bad that the governors treated our principals shabbily but it is worse that the APC leadership is not paying attention to the issues in the states and looking at how to redress some of the issues. We are still open to negotiations because we have not dumped our spirit of give and take.
Te governors are the ones who have foreclosed any chance of all of us coming together. But we foresee danger ahead, especially over President Buhari’s re-election because many of the aggrieved senators and their supporters may not actively work for the party in the general elections”.
Another supporter of a popular senator who is having a tough time with his state governor in the North-West advised leaders of the party to wade into the matter before it is too late.
He said: “Many people in the party know that danger is lurking with the draconic actions of the governors but they are turning a blind eye, waving us away as irrelevant. They have forgotten that it takes people for a party to win an election.”
On the next line of action of his principal, he said: “We still have till the end of this month to salvage relationships among members of the party.
There is no never in politics but one thing is sacrosanct, we are not leaving APC even if we don’t get the ticket to return to the National Assembly, but the level of our participation is what I am not sure of because of these treatments.”
Corroborating the fears of the senator’s aide about the performance of the APC in some states, an ex-officio of the party in one of the troubled states said that the situation at hand is worrisome to those who can see from afar.
He added that the purported winning streak of the party which is strongly dependent on President Buhari appears threatened with the rift in the states.
“The performance of the party in the states largely rest on what happens in the first election.
The way some governors are going about this thing, I am afraid that the president’s election, which is the first, may suffer because of this division that has made many foot soldiers of the party to be discouraged,” he said.
Also expressing concerns over the possible outcome of the frosty relationship between the governors and senators, a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), said there is need for both the party’s leadership and the presidency to intervene and broker a genuine truce among the warring factions.
He said: “We are worried about it and we are working assiduously to halt the raging crisis among all the parties because everyone is important in the party. We can only talk about political offices only when we are in power.
Nobody will be pushed to the wall to the extent of working against the party and most especially the presidential election which is crucial to other elections.”
Reacting to the development, the Coordinator of the Buhari/Osinbajo Support Group in Lagos, Mr. Kayode Salako, noted that the issue cannot be glossed over. He, however, said that the senators won’t work against the re-election of the President.
While stating that politics is a game of interest where every player uses his influence to negotiate their way, Salako noted that the issue is under control and is being adequately addressed.
“Talks are ongoing and I can assure you that the issues would be resolved and President Buhari will win the election in 2019,” he said.