Preparing Borno APC for 2015 challenge

 SADIQ ABUBAKAR writes on the recent inauguration of the APC’s interim executive committee in Borno, advising that the fragile peace in the state must not be shattered on account of personal ego

Just  about six months after it was registered as a political party, the All Progressives Congress(APC) is making major political inroads in terms of support and influence, even as it is getting overwhelmed with some controversies bordering on  its  leadership, especially at the state and local government levels.
While some of the APC-controlled states are still enmeshed in this crisis, Borno  appears to have put that behind it as  the party successfully put in place an interim committee and affirmed  Governor Kashim Shetima as its leader in the state.   The inauguration brought to an end futile efforts by former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff to supervise the  exercise and impose his associates  with a   view to making himself a self-styled leader. The party’s constitution, it is on record , makes it explicitly clear and recognises   governors of  the APC –led states as their leaders.
Sheriff had about three weeks ago stormed Maiduguri in company of his Special Assistant and interim National Vice Chairman, North-East of the APC, Alhaji Umar Duhu, with  the latter inviting Shettima to attend the exco’s inauguration with Sheriff  supervising  the ceremony.  But most of the executives that were to be inaugurated chose to distance themselves  from the proposed inauguration, on account of what they described as  the unconstitutionality  of the act and erosion of the power of  Shetima, the party’s leader in the state.
With Duhu’s failed bid,  the party’s National Secretary,  Tijjani Tumsa in company of some APC national leaders,  inaugurated the executives under Governor Shettima’s supervision, which saw . Duhu and Sheriff  conspicuously absent at the well attended  ceremony. Notwithstanding , the ceremony had in attendance  majority of the party’s stakeholders in the state, including serving and former national and state assembly members, commissioners, advisers, former executives of the defunct ANPP across the 27 local government areas and 312 wards, senior special assistants, key members and supporters  that filled the banquet hall of the  state owned hotel, venue of the inauguration, to  the brim.
With speaker after speaker affirming  their allegiance to the governor, calls were made by stakeholders for a meaningful  reconciliation between Shetima and hiss estranged political godfather, Sheriff. The speakers did not however fail to acknowledge Shettima’s style of governance and the manner he has grown the APC by attracting key state executives and leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  to the  APC’s fold.
Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Shettima  who expressed his belief in  politics without bitterness, described  life is a quantum for resolution of conflicts between families and friends.  The governor who also spoke on the   PDP crisis at the national level, said it was one  the worse things in the annals of the black race, claiming that  it had done equal damage to the people as slavery and colonialism did.
“Apart from slavery and colonialism, nothing has befallen the black race than the emergence of PDP,” the governor asserted.
He said the PDP was disastrous and had done Nigerians no good,  predicting that 2015 is its terminal period at the helm in the country.
Shettima said “Nigeria has earned billions of dollars, unprecedented in the contemporary history of the country with little or nothing to show for it. This is nothing but a disaster.
“Since the coming of the party into power in the country, it cannot boast of a legacy of providing 5,000 kilometres of roads, 5,000 megawatts of power and 5,000 jobs for millions of youths.”
According to him,  the APC had come at the right time to rescue Nigerians from the alleged misrule of PDP, noting that the party was set to accommodate all Borno people under one united political entity.
The governor recalled that notable members of the PDP in state had been crossing over to the APC to work for the good of the people of the state, maintaining that they were not regarded as defectors, but as take-off stakeholders since the APC recently came into existence.
He invited all to join the party in the state which opens membership registration on  Wednesday, insisting that: “There is no winner, no vanquish situation in the APC, if APC wins it is democracy, rule of law that wins.”
Inaugurating the interim executives,  Alhaji  Tumsa paid glowing tributes to Shettima for working tirelessly in the APC’s formative stage as one of its very proactive, foresighted and dogged governors and also for bringing in many PDP leaders into the party in the state. He reaffirmed that the governor as leader of the party in the state as contained in the APC’s guidelines.
“Borno is at the centre of Nigerian politics and at the centre of APC politics being the first state where the leaders sat together to provide leadership for the party. We profess to provide a change in politics for Nigeria and Borno is already showing example.
“The party provides space, a space for internal democracy to thrive. The leadership of the party starts from the wards and local governments, if we provide a good leadership at the grassroots, we will provide the party with the opportunity to have good leadership at the national level and I am asking all to work assiduously to making this a great party, we are on the right track towards offering Nigeria with the right democracy and manning government,” the party’s national scribe pleaded.
Speaking  on behalf of the entire excos,  the interim chairman,  Senator Kaka Malam Yale said it took him time to take up the challenge of running the party because “he knows the daunting task required of the founding chairman.”
He promised that “no matter the political affiliation of members in the past, the broom of the APC should be allowed to sweep it away and allow all to begin on a new slate.”
Yale   who called  for forgiveness from all, further noted that “ no one can work together without clashes but personal interest should be relegated on behalf of the good of the party and Borno state.”  He admonished party members to learn from the late Waziri Ibrahim’s philosophy of “politics without bitterness.”
With  the successful inauguration of the party in the state, it is pertinent to allow  party supremacy, as preached by Yale , hold sway over personal ambition. Borno has for sometime known no peace and   every stakeholder should endeavour to come together to sustain the fragile peace gradually returning to the much depleted state. While observers believe the administration’s achievements , in spite of the security challenge, are enough to  give the APC  a greater chance in 2015, they also  posit that putting its house in order would definitely make the job easier for the party  come next year.

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