By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The heat is on and an uneasy air now pervades the camp of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State barely a week after the party held its Ward Congresses across the state.
Though the leadership of the party and the state government had described the congress as a huge success, developments in the state, if they are anything to be considered, suggests that the said congresses were anything but generally accepted across the state.
Protests by aggrieved members of the governing APC), from local government councils in the state have been upbeat as many of them stormed the Government House, Minna to express their disgust, anger and rejection of the congresses.
Some angry protesters in their numbers, demanded for the immediate reversal of the results of what they called ‘forced affirmation and endorsement’ of candidates passed down their throats by the powers that be during last Saturday’s ward congresses.
The angry protesters bitterly registeted their annoyance over the whole exercise and equally lamented over the undemocratic manner the leadership of the party in the state were managing the affairs of the party as if it was their personal estate.
They accused the leadership of the party in the state and the state governor, Abubarkar Sani Bello for arm twisting members of the party from exercising their right to freely choose their preferred candidates by organising a sham of endorsement to affirm those who were presented to them than those they had preferred.
In their great numbers, the protesters from across majority of the 25 Local Government Councils including Kontagora, the governor’s local government area, said they were not happy with last Saturday’s exercise as it was against the grain of democracy and free choice.
The angry party members threatened to jump ship from the party in reaction to the way they were treated with disrespect.
“We will leave the All Progressive Congress if nothing is done”. We would leave the party enmasse” some of the protesters vowed.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the party in the state, Engineer Jibrin Imam has described the Local Government Council congresses as ‘a huge success’.Imam accused those protesting against the conduct of the ward congress as infiltrators from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP). He said those making noise about the congress were not members of the APC.
One of the leaders of the protesters and a former Chairman, Lavun Local Government Council, Mohammed Ibrahim Dakpanchi who spoke on their assemblage, said they were at the Government House to register their grievances over the method adopted during the congress.
He said all the 12 wards in the area were represented in the protest match to the Government House including the elders and stakeholders of the party in the council area.
“No ward congress was held in our place. We wrote a letter to the governor that we want the congress conducted but we got no response” he disclosed.”We are not against consensus. But if there will be any, the people should be consulted and carried along. We were not consulted. Democracy is about consultations and negotiations but that was not done”.
Deconstructing the allegations that they were sponsored by opposition PDP, he described the allegation as the personal views and opinion of the state Chairman of the party. “What the leadership of the party is doing is against the party’s guidelines” he said angrily.
He denied that they were being sponsored by the PDP or any other political party. “We are bonafide members of the APC and we will leave the APC if the right thing is not done” he warned.
He cautioned such impunity and lack of internal democracy within the party was what destroyed the Peoples Democratic Party. “This is what PDP did that made them fail. APC came and promised us change but they are following the footsteps of the PDP. If this continues, what happened in the PDP will happen to the APC.”