2027: APC’s silent moves

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

For many political observers, the All Progressives Congress(APC) is surreptitiously fighting many battles to secure power ahead of 2027 general elections. Increasingly, as the clock slowly ticks toward the next general elections, there are indications that the ruling party’s fingers are in many pies. Though the election is still far away, the nation’s political space is already full of permutations on the simmering crises in some key states of the federation.

Not a few believe that the APC has a hand in the political turmoil in Rivers State and the emirate crisis rocking Kano State. It is literally like the hands of Esau and the voice of Jacob.

Last week, there was clearly an uneasy calm which pervaded both the ancient city of Kano and the oil-rich Rivers State. In Kano, a Federal High Court nullified the reinstatement of former Emir, Muhammadu Sanusi by the State government while in Rivers, the climax of its crisis was the inauguration of the new LGA Caretaker Committee chairmen to replace those whose tenure expired but who desired to continue in office.

On the surface, the political crisis in Rivers is an internal affair of the state’s ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) just like the wrangling in Kano should have been handled by its state government which controls the traditional institution in the state. The APC’s underground battle in Kano is with the state government under the New Nigeria Peoples Party(NNPP).
However, the entry and grandiose involvement of the national leadership of the APC has changed the complexity and dimensions of the political crisis, forcing many political parties to draw battle lines.

To many political watchers, the drama unfolding in both states goes beyond internal cracks in the Rivers PDP fold and an uneasy calm in the emirate council.

It has apparently assumed a direct straight fight among familiar foes and gladiators, comprising APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, national leader of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the governors of Kano, Abba Yusuf, and Rivers State Governor, Sim Fubara with his estranged godfather, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike.

As political titans, their flexing of muscles has shown that none of them is willing to blink, let go or sacrifice anything to de-escalate the mounting tension in the bloody superiority contest going on in the two states.

In the estimation of many Nigerians, apart from political and other interests, APC national leadership was wrong in throwing its heart into the ring to complicate the internal wrangling in the states.

Critical observers believe that in Kano, the emirate council’s deepening crisis is, more or less, a smokescreen to cover up the fierce political battle raging between Ganduje and his arch rival, Kwankwaso and by extension Governor Abba Yusuf since the 2023 general elections.

While Kwankwaso/Governor Yusuf are strongly behind Emir Sanusi, the APC Chairman, Ganduje is backing the recently deposed Emir, Aminu Ade Bayero.

Determined to run Ganduje completely out of political relevance in the state, his adversaries had seen Bayero’s continued occupation of the emirate throne as a continuation of Ganduje’s legacy, believing that dethroning Bayero was the most potent instrument to pull the rug under their feet.

And matching words with actions, they didn’t hesitate in reinstating deposed Emir Sanusi, hitherto in exile in Lagos and banishing Emir Ado Bayero. The development in the eyes of many is the most hurtful drastic measure to eclipse and cripple Ganduje’s political influence in the state.

Though indirectly involved, Ganduje, in fighting one of the political battles of his life, vowed to settle scores with his estranged godfather, Kwankwaso, and in addition prove that he is still a political force, especially with the backing of the APC-led Federal Government.

Using his party, the APC, as a platform to launch his missiles and other weapons of warfare, Ganduje had effectively deployed the legal system and media propaganda as his effective instrument to wage the relentless war.

At the climax of the face-off, the undisputable political leader in the state, Kwankwawo, accused the APC-led Federal Government of planning to set the state on fire, warning against an unimaginable magnitude of protest from the anger building up from the residents, just as the party’s national leadership, in return, called for his arrest.

In the estimation of critical observers, the national leadership of the APC may have declared the Kano State political royal rumble as a must-win, regardless of the collateral damages from such victory.

And in its resolve to be clinical and not leave anything to chance, the APC leadership, in its determination not to allow their National Chairman to bite the dust, has stopped at nothing in deploying every security structure at its disposal to win the battle for the emirate council through the use of legal and political instruments.

Despite the intensity and potential threat, the crisis poses on the fragile peace of Kano and the possibility of setting it on fire, the gladiators seem to be less concerned about the impacts it will have on the state.

Without hiding their disdain for each other, the political actors have continued to hold each other by the jugular through all manners of threats, accusations, procurement of questionable Court orders and use of security forces to manoeuvre and outsmart each other in the supremacy battle.

It came to the head when both parties secured different orders from even courts of coordinate jurisdiction in favour of their claims to the throne, leaving the security agencies in dilemma on which court order to obey amidst rising tension in the state.
Scaling up the fight, Kwankwaso only recently accused the APC-led Federal Government of attempts to create a new breed of Boko Haram Islamic terrorists and insurgents in the state.

Warning that the people of Kano will resist any attempt to undermine the constituted authority in the state, Kwankwaso cautioned that; “We have mass followership because people believe in us, we are pro-people and the NNPP administration is determined to serve them anywhere they voted for it.

“We will not fold our arms and watch enemies of the state destroying the peaceful co-existence of our dear state, as we shall do everything possible to support the governor to succeed. I am happy that he is not distracted and is focused on achieving his goals.

“There are people from Kano, enemies of the state, who also suffer mental illness and are the ones advising the Federal Government on how to take over Kano through the State of Emergency. This is the madness of the highest order that the good, peace-loving and committed people of Kano will resist.”

The former NNPP presidential candidate further accused the Federal Government of listening to some unpatriotic politicians from Kano, who will only contribute to its failure, warning: “We are open to dialogue; truce and reconciliation, but we will not accept intimidation and political harassment of any sort. We know how to play politics and we have all it takes to protect ourselves from any evil.”

Joining the fight, the leadership of NNPP equally warned the APC against using the judiciary to incite violence in Kano State over the Emirate Council Law, noting that; “APC’s actions are a desperate attempt to snatch power in Kano State, having lost the 2023 governorship election. It is high time APC was cautioned against setting Kano State on fire.

“We saw how, despite the obvious error, the Federal High Court in Kano assumed jurisdiction and granted an ex-parte order for the ex-Emir to challenge the alleged infringement of his fundamental rights, only to turn around and hear a motion to set aside a validly made chieftaincy law of the State House of Assembly, claiming the rule of law.”

To also confirm that it is nowhere near neutrality in the battle, APC had demanded the arrest of Kwankwaso cautioning against allegations that certain individuals in APC’s fold were goading the Federal Government intending to reclaim Kano through a declaration of a state of emergency.

“Kwankwaso’s wild and unhinged comments were made concerning the lingering Emirate tussle in Kano. As a statesman, Kwankwaso should busy himself with exploring and exhausting all avenues for political and peaceful solutions to the royal impasse rather than amplifying the drums of strife and upheaval.

“The situation in Kano State calls for calm as the nation awaits judicial or political resolution of all outstanding matters. The good people of Kano deserve to live in peace, unity and security,” APC warned in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka.

The situation in the Rivers State political crisis equally looks threatening due to the involvement of the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike and the frivolous appeal for a state of emergency by the Caretaker Committee chairman of the APC Rivers State chapter, Tony Okocha.

Having made it abundantly clear that he won’t fold his hands and watch Governor Fubara, his estranged political godson, dismantle his political structure, many have argued that Wike has stopped at nothing in using the APC in both the national and state chapters to prosecute his obviously hidden intention of retaining his structure in Rivers State.

It did not therefore come as a surprise when Okocha, in the thick of the crisis, declared that “the governor is helpless, the police are helpless,” adding that the state of helplessness had necessitated the call for a state of emergency in the oil-rich state.

“Therefore, the APC in Rivers State is calling for a state of emergency in the state as a way of taming the mayhem, and the upsurge that is going on in the state. I call on the Federal Government to act fast in this regard. The state is at war, and the only way for residents to live in peace is for the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the state”, Okocha who blamed the state governor for the unrest, said.

However, reacting hostilely to the APC’s appeal for a declaration of state of emergency in Rivers State, the national leadership of the PDP swore to do everything within its powers to resist such an attempt.

Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Adolphus Wabara, who expressed worry over the current political developments in Rivers, advised President Bola Tinubu, not to allow “self-seeking anti-democratic forces, stoking the embers of war in Rivers State”, push him into taking any step that could plunge the state into chaos.
He noted that, “nothing is happening in the state to warrant the call for a state of emergency demanded by these fake apostles of peace. I have keenly watched the political developments in Rivers State and want to place it on record that the PDP and the law-abiding citizens of this country will not tolerate any attempt to derail democracy in the state.
“We won’t allow anti-democratic forces and insatiable elements to hijack power through the back door in their desperation to hang on to power and hold the state to the jugular. Any attempt to scuttle the democratically elected PDP-led government in Rivers is a recipe for political unrest capable of consuming the entire country.
“I, therefore, call on President Tinubu, not to allow greedy and self-overrated power drunks to push him into taking steps that could portray him as a despot, and ultimately plunge the country into avoidable upheaval.”
But, escalating the crisis, the APC national leadership claimed that contrary to the misplaced quibbles by the PDP, Governor Fubara is the supreme architect of the horrific crisis rocking Rivers State.
According to a statement signed by Morka; “Consistent with its scaremongering tendency, the PDP had alleged that APC was engaged in a plot to forcefully take over the government of Rivers State. This ridiculous and baseless claim was the subject of the party’s garbled press statement.
“The PDP offered no justification for its bogus claim except to mischievously misrepresent and amplify the comments reportedly made by the Chairman of the Rivers State APC Caretaker Committee, Okocha, while sweeping under the carpet the salient issues underpinning the festering crisis in the state.
“Quite contrary to the PDP’s misplaced quibbles against Okocha comments, Governor Fubara is the supreme architect of the horrific crisis rocking Rivers State. Since assuming office over a year ago, he has displayed reckless disdain for the rule of law and democratic institutions and conducted his government in flagrant violation of the Constitution of Nigeria.”
In all these comments, the actions and inactions of the presidency concerning the situation at both Rivers and Kano states did not depict any act of neutrality.
Beyond the obvious and covert reasons behind the escalating tension in both states, the struggle for the 2027 presidential election is clearly the underpinning factor fomenting the trouble and heightening the tension.
The hands of the Federal Government seems to be tied to the appropriate solution to take on the crisis because President Tinubu will apparently be the biggest beneficiary of the struggle with securing a comfortable victory in both states as the ultimate target.
President Tinubu, aware that resolving the current impasse at both states in favour of his party will definitely guarantee victory at the ballot box during the 2027 presidential election would certainly brighten his chances of emerging winner in the entire election to retain his second term seat.
“The whole crisis at both states mainly revolves around the 2027 presidential election.”
A political stalwart added: “It is understandable because the two states are potential hotbeds to conventionally decide where the electoral pendulum for the presidential poll will swing to. Over the years, it has been proven that no candidate would want to gamble with the political situation in the states.
“Therefore, whether by hooks or crooks, both the incumbent and opposition parties’ candidates won’t want to take a chance with the political trajectory in the two states, regardless of how cataclysmic the effects of the crisis turn out to be.
“It won’t therefore come to many as a surprise that the APC-led Federal Government has continued to show more than passing interest in the crisis rocking the states despite the threats it is generating.”
Perhaps, to confirm the impression that the Federal Government is showing serious interest in the two states, Kwankwaso once noted that; “in the build-ups to 2027, some desperate politicians are already on a mission of disruption, but we will rather prefer the two of us to lose than to allow them to crush us unnecessarily.
“We dare anybody, who thinks he can victimise us politically to be rest assured that we are ready for the fight. We are not afraid to be out of power because we will remain politicians in or out of government; we cannot run away from our destiny, we are humans, we know what is good for us and we will pursue it vigorously.”

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