Crisis is brewing in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the vacant position of the national secretary of the party which was vacated by Mai Mala Buni, now governor of Yobe State.
Mala Buni resigned his position to contest the 2019 general election and, following his departure, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in May appointed Victor Giadom as the party’s acting national secretary.
The party said Giadom, who was until his appointment the party’s deputy national secretary, would remain in the position until Yobe State nominated a replacement for Mala Buni.
However, the party’s position has not gone down well with the Taraba State chapter of the party.
The State Working Committee (SWC), which had already presented Muhammed Bello Mustapha, a former governorship candidate, as its consensus candidate for the office of the national secretary, said it would be unfair if the position was zoned to another state.
Mustapha, a constitutional lawyer, contested for the position of secretary at the party’s convention in 2018 but stepped down in favour of Buni after an agreement by leaders of the party from the North-East where the position was zoned to.
They also argued that it would be unfair for the position to be zoned to another state since Taraba had been largely excluded from federal appointments despite the massive support of Taraba indigenes for Buhari in the 2015 and 2019 polls.
The state chapter, which said it had endured marginalisation in Buhari’s administration, said it “may be forced to pull out of the party if they feel we are not wanted despite delivering bulk votes for Mr. President in the 2015 and 2019 elections”.
Also in a statement, a coalition of the APC support groups in the North-East has called on the party’s national leadership to pick the national secretary from Taraba State.
The coalition described Taraba State as the only state in the region that has never produced any member in the APC NWC since the inception of the party.
Leader of the coalition, Abdulhamid Yazeed, said for a long time, Taraba had been marginalised in the party’s National Working Committee.
He asked the party in the North-East to send the name of Mustapha as the consensus candidate to fill the vacancy created by the emergence of Mai Buni as Yobe State governor.
He described Taraba State as the only state in the region that had never produced any member in the APC NWC since the inception of the party.
He said: “We believe that whatever comes to the North-East zone must be shared accordingly among the six states in the zone.
“At present Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno states have had their fair share of party appointments. Taraba is the only exception.
“Look at the support they gave President Buhari at the poll, despite being a PDP state, President Buhari got 45 percent of the votes.
“It is only proper we reward them with this national secretary position of the party.”
Speaking with Daily Independent, a chieftain of the APC in Taraba State, Alh Aliyu Mohammed, said: “The issue of marginalisation of Taraba has been on since APC came to power in 2015.
“If you remember, former Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, made the same complaint in 2017 when she led a delegation to the APC national headquarters in Abuja where, she said, apart from constitutionally mandated appointment, no APC member in the state had been given appointment by the government since coming to power in 2015.
“We have six states in the North-East: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe. The former national secretary, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, is from Yobe State. The national vice-chairman (North-East), Comrade Mustapha Salihu, is from Adamawa. The national youth leader, Sadiq Abubakar Sadiq, is from Gombe.
“The deputy national auditor, Isa Modu Chul, is from Borno, while the national ex-officio for North-East, Mamman Isa Azare, which is non-NWC, is from Bauchi State.
“At the zonal level, the zonal secretary is Abubakar Ajiya from Bauchi; zonal woman Leader is Hajia Amina Manga, also from Bauchi; zonal organising secretary: Abdurrahman Shu’aib, from Gombe; zonal publicity secretary: Engr Ilyas Hamid, from Adamawa.
“The zonal legal adviser is Barr Kashim Mustapha Haruna from Borno; the zonal disabled leader is Muhammad Abba Isa from Yobe.
“The zonal youth leader, Hon Maigari Bello Kasimu, who is from Taraba, has now been declared as a member of the House of Representatives by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“So, currently, Taraba State is left with no official at all levels. That, to us, is unfair.
“Now, we have unanimously agreed that Mohammed Mustapha, who came second to Mai Buni during the national convention, be announced as our choice for the position of national secretary.
“The tradition of APC is replacement of an officer by the first runner-up and we saw this in the case of the national publicity secretary and the governorship election in Kogi in 2016.
“Taraba APC is united on this and there is no division whatsoever. We want the national leadership to respect this position and we are appealing to President Buhari and other leaders to right this wrong,” he said.
Yobe Can’t Have Senate President, National Scribe
Meanwhile, Coalition of APC Support Groups in the North-East has called on the leadership of the party to be fair while choosing the state to produce the next national secretary.
The coalition admonished the party to stop cheating Taraba in the allocation of offices.
According to the group, it would be unfair to zone the position of the party’s national secretary to Yobe State despite the deficit of positions in other APC loyal states in the North-East zone.
The group said, with the emergence of Senator Ahmad Lawan from Yobe State as Senate President, Taraba State should be allowed to produce the next national secretary of the APC.
The Coalition Coordinator, Abdulhamid Yazeed, in a statement on Wednesday, said: “We are appealing to the NWC of APC to rescind its decision that Yobe should bring replacement for the former National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, who was elected governor of Yobe State.
“Senate President Ahmad Lawan should pacify Borno and Yobe to concede the office of the national secretary to Taraba State in appreciation of the support it has gotten from Taraba State.”
In his reaction, Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC National Publicity Secretary, said the party would carefully study what Taraba APC had said and would soon issue an official statement.
“We will look at what they have said and come out with a statement,” he said.