Again, because of his track records, beginning from the private sector up till when he governed Nasarawa state, there are repeated calls on Senator Tanko Al-Makura to call the shots in his party’s highest national leadership. MOHAMMED YANGIDA reports.
Al-Makura as a hurricane
Senator Tanko Al-Makura is likened to a silent hurricane. His experience, antecedents, credibility, patience, sacrifices, tolerance and charisma are credentials that stand him out, as both conventional and other online newspapers as well as social media are awash with all kinds of analyses, comparing him with other aspirants that are jostling for the position of the national chairmanship position of All Progressives Congress (APC).
As at the last count, the front-runners in the contest include four former governors and senators like Senator Al-Makura of Nasarawa state, Abulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Ali Modu Sherif of Borno and Kashim Shettima also from Borno state.Others are the senator representing Niger-east senatorial district, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, a former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Salihu Mustapha and a chieftain of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr Sunny Sylvester Moniedafe.
These aspirants who have indicated interest are qualified to pilot the affairs of the party following their antecedents as they have served the party in one way or the other.
However, party chieftains within the rank of APC said they would not support political jobbers, who had jumped from one party to another looking for self-glorification to take over the mantle of leadership in their party.
Equally, political analysts are of the view that the calibre of aspirants seeking to get the position of the national chairmanship of the party, is no doubt a welcome development in governance, but said the party needs a person who has, over the years, demonstrated high level of loyalty and made huge sacrifices for the success of the APC since its formative years.
Agreed, some factors may come to the fore in the selection/election process of the chairman of APC, but other analysts say such factors must not be to the determent of sacrifice, competence and the ability to deliver.
All for Al-Makura
To that extent, a party faithful in Nasarawa, Albert Anzaku, said for the records, “Senator Al-Makura has all it takes to run the affairs of the party as its chairman without being boastful.”
Anzaku said he (Al-Makura) would contest only if it is zoned to the North central part of the country.
Political observers are of the opinion that major party stakeholders may prefer Al-Makura for the national chairmanship position due to his high sense of justice, leadership quality and would deliver the party where its constitution, hierarchy and supremacy would be respected by all.
“Al-Makura possesses the credential to turn the party around positively,” they noted. Speaking further they said, “The sharing arrangement during the merger of three legacy parties was clear on how the leadership of the APC would be structured; therefore, for justice and fairness, what goes around should come around.
“Nasarawa state was the only political collateral the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) had that qualified it for a round-table talks with other strong opposition parties and Senator Umaru Al-Makura who lifted the flag of the party high was the political commodity for that bargain.
”It is, therefore, a precise disposition to say that Senator Al-Makura is best qualified for the national chairmanship position of the APC,” they noted further.Fought as a lone ranger Fought as a lone ranger.
It is also important to note that President Muhammadu Buhari, who was at the centre of the merger in order to provide a platform for him to win the 2015, general election has Nasarawa state as the only state controlled by his party – the CPC and as providence would have it, Senator Al-Makura was the governor of the state.
Therefore, political watchers believe that the CPC and indeed Senator Al-Makura should be rewarded for his patience, resilience and immense contributions to the success of the APC over the years.
These sacrifices tend to speak in his favour. According to the analysts, Al-Makura was the only person elected on the platform of the CPC as governor of Nasarawa state in 2011 and nurtured the party into the merger talk.
He is seen as more reliable, trusted by the leaders with the growth of the party such that he should be given the chance to serve the national chairmanship slot of the party.
”He is reputed to be highly organised, dedicated passionate and a hardworking person with proven integrity. He is an element who can effectively heal all broken political fractures in the party, if there is any.
”As according to the political actors, “Al-Makura is compassionate, courageous, considerate, diligent, generous and reliable, and when talking about competence, capacity and capability, nobody can take that away from Al-Makura.
Those who were opportuned to work or associate closely with him would attest to this.
At the grand finale of the local government APC campaign for the December 6 local government election in Lafia, Senator Al-Makura made public his desire to contest for the seat of the national championship of the party.
While making his position known, Al-Makura said his desire to campaign for the national championship of the APC was borne out of his conviction to safeguard the good tenets of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“I Umaru Tanko Al-Makura wish to contest for the position of the National chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC).I am doing this with the sole intention to ensure party unity ,to ensure cohesion, to ensure that those values and attributes that came with the emergence of the legacy parties are being kept alive” he said.
He assured that if he becomes the APC National chairman, he will ensure equity, fairness, justice, and that those supporters who had joined the party newly “even if it is today are given a sense of belonging and participation.
“I know as a matter of fact, I am one of those who participated in the merger exercise that Nigerians have shown no any other time, have shown unity and commitment to national harmony, to inclusiveness to Nigerian politics.
He maintained that the reason being all the legacy parties abandoned their tenencies. We had ACN in the South West, we had APGA in the South East, we had ANPP and CPC in the north.
”But because of our quest, desire to ensure unity of purpose, direction, focus and vision for every Nigerian, we came together to form APC and abandoned all those primordial sentiments.
I believe at this material time, people who should manage the affairs of this party are people who knew where the party was, where the party is coming from and where the party is heading to.”Al-Makura maintained.
Only defunct CPC yet to produce APC chairman
Those staunchily behind the defunct CPC to produce the APC national chairman argue that other parties that were part of the merger process have, at one point or the other, have produced chairmen for the ruling APC with the exception of CPC.
At the inception of APC following the merger, Chief Bisi Akande of the ACN took over and handed over to Chief Odigie Oyegun of the defunct ANPP. Oyegun handed it over to Comrade Adams Oshiomole who was also from ACN.
The only bloc that is yet to have a shot at the National chairmanship seat since the establishment of the party is CPC and supporters of Al-Makura candidacy also believed that the lawmaker may enjoy presidential backing owing to his CPC background.
It is also instructive to know that Al-Makura also enjoys the support of his successor, Governor Abdullahi Sule and some members of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) having been one of its earliest members and senate caucus.
Passing a confidence vote on Al-Makura, a prominent party chieftain who pleaded anonymity enthused, “Indeed, the ultimate goal is to secure victory for the party in 2023 and that Al-Makura, if given the opportunity, would offer better services to the party and country at large. His emergence would not only guarantee a sustainable, lasting ,progress and development for a better APC.
“Therefore, it is only fair to say that in the interest of justice, equity and fairness the office of the APC national chairman be zoned to the North Central for the CPC bloc that has never occupied the office before to have a chance through senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura.”