Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has identified power tussle for the control of the Bauchi state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) between certain federal lawmakers from the state led by Honourable Yakubu Dogara and the sitting governor, Mohammed Abubakar as responsible for the crisis rocking the state chapter.
Senator Ngige who incidentally was the chairman of the Fact Finding and Reconciliation Committee on Bauchi state chapter of the APC made the observation on Tuesday while submitting his report to national chairman of the party, Odigie Oyegun.
Tribune Online checks revealed that the committee was set up on April 12, 2017 to among others, interact with major stakeholders in Bauchi state and identify causes of crisis, pursue framework for lasting peace, identify aggrieved individuals, and recommend measures for lasting peace.
The Labour Minister expressed concern that the state chapter has been polarized into two factions each led by Speaker of House of Representatives, Honourable Dogara and Governor Mohammed with dire consequences for the ruling party.
He said: “Mainly, we found out that Mr. Speaker of the federal house of representatives, Rt Hon. Dogara and members of National Assembly, Senators and House of Representatives, were at one side of the divide and at the other side of the divide, we had executive governor of Bauchi state, His Excellency Mohammed Abubakar and members of the state assembly, his commissioners and a large chunk of the party structure, majority were on the other side.”
Speaking further Senator Ngige disclosed that the faction led by Honourable Dogara accused the governor of alienating other critical party stakeholders in the administration of the state and the party secretariat.
“We decided as a fact-finding committee that our work would not be complete if we don’t go to Bauchi and interact with people and in view of some of the allegations levelled against the governor and the state government. So, we also went to Bauchi state.”
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige (left) and National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige (left) and National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
“But before proceeding to Bauchi state, we had an audience with members of National Assembly from Bauchi here in Abuja. We also spoke to some people at the other side, resident in Abuja, like Senator Lema, one of the founding fathers of the party and our finding was that the origin of the crisis was dated back to the period preceding, during and after the primaries for nominations of the APC governorship candidate in 2014.”
“Problems have since then protracted despite efforts by well-meaning individuals to see what they can do and ameliorate these differences. The party in the Bauchi state became highly polarised and factionalised to the extent of imparting negatively on the capacity of the party to win election.”
“The Dogara group complained about a lot of things that the governor did not support him during his quest to become Speaker.”
“They also said workers’ salaries were owed and that the Paris Club refund was not properly utilised. Other things are power sharing in the transition committee among all constituencies. Federal appointment should also be considered. Other people we met were Sen. Matori and Senator Muhammed.”
“We found out that these can be resolved, and we recommended two steps of approach. The first part was that the committee should recognise the two warring parties, see Rt. Hon. Dogara one side and Governor Abubakar one the other side to sit together and resolve their differences. It would be a real significant step towards total reconciliation of their supporters.”
“Secondly, we recommend that the National Working Committee meet all party members to restore confidence. We also recommend that there should be a rally at the state’s township stadium which should be attended by the Governor and Speaker Dogara and well-meaning members of the party.”
“We also recommend that NWC should remember some members of the party whom are grumbling at state and national level for appointment.”
In his remarks, Chief Oyegun commended the Committee for its diligence and assured them that his leadership would implement expeditiously its recommendations.
“We shall proceed, expeditiously to take further actions to restore peace in Bauchi state. I know that top functionaries are involved, people who have high stakes. But we shall take steps, without offending any group. The result of your efforts will be faithfully implemented.”
Meanwhile, the party national secretariat has shelved conduct of its party earlier slated for Saturday to produce its flag bearer for the Anambra governorship election. Tribune Online checks revealed that the decision was taken to enable the party know ahead of the election, the candidate of the PDP since the main opposition party is conducting its primary this weekend.