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Defection threatens APC in Jigawa



Defection threatens APC in Jigawa

The gale of defections from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)in Jigawa State on the grounds of alleged poor performance of the former, casts doubts on the return of the APC in 2019, writes DAHIRU SULEIMAN


Jigawa, like other states in the federation, has witnessed series of defections from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party and vice versa in recent times. In the state, thousands of supporters of the APC, including two of its federal lawmakers, namely Senator Ubali Shitu, representing Jigawa North East, and his colleague, Hon. Rabiu Kaugama, member representing Malam-Madori/ Kaugama Federal Constituency have defected from APC alongside their teeming supporters to the PDP.
Likewise, the opposition PDP in the state on different occasions has announced the reception of hundreds of supporters of the APC in different locations and wards across the state.
Salisu Mamuda, the Jigawa State Chairman of the PDP, attributed the exodus of the APC members into PDP camp to failed programmes of the Governor Abubakar Badaru-led APC government, saying there is nothing in APC apart from hunger and unemployment.
“The APC government in Jigawa is nothing short of public embarrassment, with the decay of state institutions, coupled with abject poverty, hunger and depression. People are living without food, since there is neither work nor money to even cater for their families. There has been no job since our departure from government. APC government imposed unnecessary embargo on employment for unknown reasons,” he said.
The gale of defections started in December 2015 when the ruling APC received over 375,000 card-carrying former PDP members. Amongst the defectors were 15 former local government chairmen, former commissioners and advisers.
Speaking on behalf of the PDP defectors then, Hon. Bashir Adamu said “our resolve to dump the PDP for the APC was based on certain factors such as impunity, leadership supremacy which gave room to factionalization which may consume us and the party. As principled politicians with credibility we deemed it necessary to quit the PDP before its crisis consumed us. Hence we joined the ruling party, the APC.
“We joined the APC in good faith, without any contractual agreement, with the hope that we will be accommodated and given free hand to offer our contribution to the development of our state without knowing that our efforts will be thwarted and left frustrated.
“Our short stay, precisely two and half years in the APC, has taught us that there wasn’t any difference between APC and the PDP since all lopsided attitudes of impunity, disabuse of party’s doctrine, imposition of candidates on electorate during congresses or elections, among other shortcomings of the PDP, are all there in the APC to the extent that its leadership are going against the party’s doctrine, situation which we viewed is against our principles and warrant our exit to the Social Democratic Party, (SDP)
Six months later, some of the defectors made a u-turn to either their origin, nor joining the newly registered political parties such as Social Democratic Party, (SDP), African Democratic Party, (ADC), or PDP, among others, but others decided to join the new APC due to what they described as incompetence of Governor Badaru Abubakar in fulfillment of promises of appointments among other privileges made to them by the governor but to no avail.
He attributed the defection of Senator Ubali Shitu and federal lawmaker, Hon. Rabi’u Kaugama, to non-adherence of APC leadership to the party’s constitutional provisions, impunity and imposition of candidates on electorate.
Senator Ubali Shitu said he left the APC on the ground of “lack of principle and ideology, impunity, and imposition of candidates on the electorate.
According to Senator Shitu, the APC is a one-man show. “It is a party of PMB; he dictates and controls everyone. When we stress on our commitment towards effecting necessary changes for a way forward in the APC, most of the leaders are adamant, and never listen to our prayers.”
On the rift between him and Governor Badaru, Shitu said “our quarrel sparked off when I pronounced that I will never gun for the Senate any more, rather I will contest the governorship election.”
He accused Governor Badaru of embarking on expensive foreign trips in the guise of wooing foreign investors to come and invest in Jigawa, a situation which has not yielded any positive response.”
He also accused the governor for poor performance, saying that the APC caucus had sat with Governor Badaru for 15 times, drawing his attention to failed leadership and designing a way forward, but that he kicked against such. Shitu said he found it difficult and impossible “to belong a failed party and followers.”
Speaking in the same vein, Hon Rabiu Kaugama, representing Malam Madori/Kaugama, federal constituency stated that he called it quit with the APC not because of anybody rather than his governor whom he said often threatened them with all sorts of humiliation, harassment and intimidation.
“We must have alternative to APC hence our resolve to move to the opposition party the Peoples Democratic Party,” he said.
Another setback for APC was the rivalry between Governor Badaru and Pharmacist Hashim Ubale Yusuf who criticized the governor for poor governance, saying his shortcomings cannot grade him high in the scale of performance, hence he is not sure- footed in his quest for return ticket.
“With my governor poor performance, I doubt much if he could have the zeal of retaining his seat as number one citizen of Jigawa State”
Similarly, Pharmacist Hashim, who is also an APC gubernatorial aspirant, challenged Governor Badaru for not filling the gap of over job 2,000 vacancies by employing jobless graduates and school leavers in the state, leaving them to roam around, but only blowing his trumpet of providing over 17,000 employments for people under the State Economic Empowerment Initiatives.
On his agricultural policies, Hashim criticized Governor Badaru not fulfilling his promise to support sesame farmers with incentives for bumper harvest, leaving them without intervention and causing them huge risk of poor yields. He also condemned the state’s failure to honor his obligations in the supply of agric accessories at subsidized rate but to no avail.
This poor attitude of not honoring promises, couple with the governor’s failed commitments, is the basic ingredient that may cause him defeat at the poll during the forthcoming 2019 gubernatorial election, Hashim said.
Findings have revealed that, the APC caucus has been holding series of consultations, and meetings aimed at putting its house into order ahead of 2019 general elections.
The governor’s supporters who are rooting for his re-election point to his achievements in the areas of education, water supply and health. They said since he received $3.5mllion grant for Global Partnership for Education (GPE) World Bank Grand for basic education sector support, he had completed various projects in the sector.
He received and distributed plastic furniture from UBEC to schools, purchased and distributed 4,000 sets of lower basic furniture of schools; procured sporting facilities for State Universal Education Board and expended N12,730,594,245.05 on salaries of teachers and N160 million for overheads.
To close the pupil/teachers’ ratio, the state government also recruited additional teachers across the board and that of specialized on subject such as science and English Language and procured and distributed school uniforms, bags and sandals for nomadic school pupils in the state.
However, observers have discovered that the exit of these three big shots and seasoned politicians who command heavy followership among the electorate based on their political experience as local champions will cause no little upset for the APC in the next elections.
As grassroots politicians, their exit has created a big vacuum in the ruling APC and since they moved out with their thousands of supporters to the PDP, pundits have said that the situation calls for possible fence-mending before impending rivalries.
If unchecked, there is a tendency that the ruling party may lose Jigawa State to a more concerted and committed party come 2019 gubernatorial election.

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