■ New PDP group moves to dislodge VP
After years of public denial and pretence, a group within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Kaduna State, has finally emerged, saying that the party’s support base in the state, has been “shrinking,” since 2007, when Vice President Namadi Sambo, first emerged as governor of the State.
To this end, the group, which for now, is being led by Alhaji Audi Yaro Makama, who was the party’s state chairman, for six years (2001-2007), at a time when Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, was governor, has publicly declared support for the Abubakar Kawu Bareje-led PDP, thus setting the stage for an epic political battle in North’s political headquarters.
Interestingly, the group’s declaration of support for the new PDP, is coming barely a month after a failed attempt by the Vice President, to allegedly influence a change in the leadership of the State House of Assembly.
Saturday Sun gathered that ex-Secretary to State Government, SSG, Alhaji Samaila Yakawada, had singlehandedly frustrated the effort, barely 24 hours to the execution of the plan.
Yakawada, who served the late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, was instrumental in the emergence of the incumbent Speaker, Hon. Muazu Usman Gangara, shortly after the election that brought in Yakowa, as governor. They both hail from Giwa Local Government Area.
Since the failed plot to oust the Speaker, Saturday Sun further gathered, a battle line had been drawn between the Yakowa group, led by Yakawada, the former SSG and the Sambo group in the state, led by incumbent Kaduna governor, Mukthar Ramalan Yero. Yakawada, investigations further revealed, had shortly after Yakowa’s death, vowed to remain loyal to him (Yakowa) even in death, without apology.
Although, Yakawada, who leads the Yakowa group within the PDP, has not publicly identified with the new PDP leadership in Kaduna, Saturday Sun gathered that already, most of the Yakowa’s supporters have since identified with the new PDP, an indication that it will not take long before Yakawada, formally identifies with the group publicly, especially because as a former SSG, he was not even on the list of the state’s delegates to the party’s recent national convention.
Stating reasons for breaking away, leader of the new PDP, Makama, who spoke on behalf of the new leaders in Kaduna, said: “In the last few weeks, a political Tsunami was unleashed on the nation with the emergence of a new leadership to pilot the affairs of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).
“The decision of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and seven governors elected on the platform of the party, is not only worthy of commendation but worthy of emulation. Specifically, Governors Babangida Aliyu, (Niger state), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano state), and Sule Lamido (Jigawa State), including Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako, (Sokoto State), as well as Rotimi Amaechi, (Rivers State), Murtala Nyako, (Adamawa State) and Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, (Kwara State), took the necessary step of saving the PDP from the hands of nihilists.
“The revolutionary decision to sack the erstwhile leadership under Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and replace it with the current one led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje needs to be replicated in all states chapters of the party, especially Kaduna State where the support base of the party has been shrinking since 2007 when Arc Namadi Sambo became governor and decided to rubbish the party and its supporters to no end.
“The PDP in Kaduna State, therefore, proudly and wholeheartedly identifies with the new leadership of the party, under Alhaji Kawu Baraje and follows in the footsteps of its sister chapters of Adamawa, Jigawa and Taraba states in setting up new leadership to give our party a new lease of life. We are also reassuring our teeming supporters that they truly own the party and not impostors with little or no inkling about PDP’s founding ideals and people who don’t have the passion for the party’s interest and growth.”
Reacting to the development, however, the Tukur-led faction of the party in the state, described the other faction as “opportunists,”seeking for political relevance.
In a statement, signed by the trio of Dr. Abubakar Haruna, Kabiru Balla and Ibrahim Mansur, as Chairman, Secretary and PRO respectively, a copy of which was obtained by Saturday Sun, the party said: “Alhaji Makama and his co-travellers lack the capacity to speak for the Kaduna State chapter of the PDP which is absolutely in support of its leader, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo.
“We are fully aware of the former chairman’s crave for relevance. But on this issue, he has only succeeded in reminding us of his undemocratic antics and undue favour to a cabal within the party during his time in office.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to reiterate that there is only one PDP, which is the one led by Bamanga Tukur, this much has been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction. Any attempt at creating confusion by political jobbers under the guise of dirty party politics will surely attract the attention of law enforcement agencies, in the same manner and fate that has already befallen the so called national leadership of the group.”
In spite of the group’s claim, Saturday Sun gathered that there are at least about five groups, within the PDP in Kaduna, before the emergence of the new PDP at the national level. The groups are : Sambo group, Makarfi group, Hunkuyi group, Yakowa group and Senator Ahmed Aruwa’s group.
The power play within these groups, Saturday Sun further learnt, reared its head, during the 2011 general election, where the Vice President was roundly defeated at both his polling unit and ward, in all the three elections: National Assembly, presidential and governorship.
In fact, but for a last minute ‘deal,’ struck between the Yakowa and Hunkuyi groups, that saw Hunkuyi, deploying his foot-soldiers to work for Yakowa, PDP could as well have lost the 2011 governorship polls.
With the emergence of the new PDP in Kaduna, Sambo, investigations further revealed, now faces a turf political battle ahead of 2015.
Already, of the seven states in the North-West, where Sambo comes from, three governors are leading members of the new PDP. The states are Kano, Jigawa and Sokoto. Zamfara is already in the opposition. Although, Kebbi has not identified publicly with the new PDP, the state may eventually fall to the new PDP. If and when that happens, Sambo will be left with only Kaduna and Katsina states. And in these two states, Sambo, Saturday Sun further learnt, has little or no influence there.
This fact was further underscored recently by the All Progressives Congress, APC, when it held a function in Kaduna. According to former Kano State governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who described the political image of Sambo in North West zone, within the PDP, as a “featherweight,” noted that Sambo, would not be able to stop the APC from over-running the region in the 2015 general elections.
Shekarau, who spoke at an event organized by a non-governmental organisation, Movement for Better Future and Democratic Emancipation, whose members are believed to be of the APC, made the assertion barely 48 hours before the emergence of the new PDP in Kaduna. The event, at which Shekarau spoke, was coordinated by Matamaki Tom Maiyashi, a former commissioner in the state and one-time gubernatorial running mate to former Kaduna governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, on the platform of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP.
Replying Shekarau, however, the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP, in the North-West Zone, has since described as misleading, the assertion made by him. In a statement by its Zonal Secretary, Honourable Bashir Tanimu Gambo, a copy of which was made available to Saturday Sun, Tuesday evening, the party said Shekarau’s statement was “a distortion of verifiable fact about the strength” of the PDP in the zone.
It further described the assertion as “mere desperation on the part of the opposition-APC, in their attempt to distort fact in order to mislead by deception.”