2011: IN-FIGHTING TEARS CPC APART IN KANO
One of the new parties making waves in the country, with amazing followership is the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). As a new party, it prides itself as perhaps, the surest path to the nurturing of a truly democratic institution, capable of galvanizing the Nigerian electorate for the common good.
Majority of its followers, who migrated from other political parties, did so because of what they alleged as the lack of internal democracy in their previous abode. But their hope might after all be misplaced.
Today, the difference between dreams and reality is playing out fast in most of the state chapters of the party. Power mongers, who have no respect for tenets of democracy, have flooded the ideologically slanted party and they are traumatizing it.
This tragic drama is playing out the most in Kano State , the base of the Chairman of CPC Board of Trustees, General Muhammad Buhari.
Penultimate Sunday, the leadership of the police in the state had to order for reinforcement to protect the party's secretariat situated along Maiduguri road in the capital. The state interim chairman, Alhaji Haruna Danzago, had to go underground. Party thugs had taken over and were seen raging and threatening to burn down the secretariat, except justice is done.
It was evident that the party has decided, at least in Kano , to go through the same old road that had driven other parties out of the
track. And the painful cost of this choice will come with time.
According to CPC faithful , the new party is already a victim of power play and intrigues, promoted by its numerous gubernatorial aspirants. These aspirants have torn the party into factions as some of the aspirants have structures of their own within the party.
Daily Sun investigation showed that there are at least eight aspirants vying for the gubernatorial slot of the party in the state, among which are the former deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Magaji Abdullahi; son of former Head of State, Alhaji Mohammed Abacha and a former military administrator of Kaduna State, Colonel Jafaru Isa.
Others are Alhaji Kabiru Gwanwanzo, Dr. Auwalu Anwar, who was a one time political adviser to the former Speaker of House of Representatives, Ghali Na' Abba and the interim National Chairman of the party, Senator Rufia Hanga.
At the root of the storm is the outcome of the state congress, which others alleged was manipulated in favor of the party's national chairman. According to party men who spoke to the Daily Sun, the interim state chairman, Alhaji Danzago had manipulated the process in such a manner that the national chairman, would ultimately pick the party gubernatorial ticket, except the result of last weekend's state congress was jettisoned.
Their fear is informed by the fact that the delegates would in future vote and pick among the eight aspirants and whoever has his loyalists in the party executive would walk away with easy victory.
CPC is confident of winning next year gubernatorial election in Kano, given the popularity of General Mohammed Buhari in the state.
Those who alleged manipulations on the part of Alhaji Haruna Danzago claimed that in most wards of the state, congresses were not held at all, adding that in some of the locations, party men were told that the congress had been concluded. They claimed that in the absence of any congress in the state, the names short- listed were prepared by the chairman and his cohorts.
According to Alhaji Mohammed Abacha, who briefed the press soon after the conduct of the congress, the exercise was flawed and could not pass as a congress by any standards.
Abacha noted that most of the flaws experienced during the congress were premeditated by a bias party leadership in the state which has the support of the CPC national chairman. He pointed out that the party's national chairman is also a gubernatorial aspirant and could therefore not acquit the party processes of his personal interest and ambition.
Abacha submitted that about 80% of the party's wards did not conduct any congress, adding that the anomalies recorded were most unfortunate given that the public expected much more from the party, being the party of General Mohammed Buhari, a respected man of good conduct.
Daily Sun also gathered that several other aspirants were not satisfied with the congress in the state though they refrained from talking to the press and had lodged their protest with the party national secretariat in Abuja.
A long time associate of General Mohammed Buhari and member, Board of Trustees of the party, Alhaji Buba Galadima told the press in Kano that they received both oral and written petitions against the conduct of the exercise, declaring that unconfirmed reports showed that the exercise in Kano state did not meet the minimum standards set by the party.
He added that the party would soon meet to look at the allegations put forward by the disenchanted aspirants, and assured that the party would not hesitate to reverse the exercise where it is satisfied that the twin issues of justice and fair play were not adhered to.
According to him, the national secretariat of the party had instructed and expected that the conduct of the congresses would be hitch free and in accordance with the principle of full democratization, but regretted that their instructions were not complied with.
These instructions, he stressed, include that every of those processes should be done democratically.
'People should gather and contestants should stand with their photographs and people who want to support them will line up behind them and votes will be counted. This was to take place in every ward.
And that election should start from 8. 00 am in the morning and end at 4. 00pm.
'Everybody, who is a member of the CPC, whether his name is in the old register, or new register, if he had registered through the internet or had not registered although, he will have the opportunity to put his name on the register book on the venue of the congress. And people could now line behind him , if he wants to contest an election.'
None of these was complied with. Rather, according to Daily Sun findings, most wards and centers were simply empty, while some of them had pockets of human presence that were not seen voting.
That crisis was brewing in the CPC in Kano State was never in dispute a few days to the congress. One of such show of lack of confidence and absence of party cohesion featured when three of the gubernatorial aspirants of the party simply backed out of a meeting called by the interim chairman, Alhaji Haruna Danzago.
Before the congress, there was the pervasive fear that the coming of aspirants like Alhaji Mohammed Abacha would change the tide in the party. He came with his own structure and simply became a power broker. Unlike in the PDP where he was the oppressed, in the CPC, he was a big time player. Some of the aspirants, including the early entrants in the party, felt threatened and the interim state leadership of the party became wary that the Abacha camp might bring an end to their control and reign of influence.
That perhaps explained why there has been no love lost between both camps. Till date, the running battle between both camps is on and was played out in the buying of the forms. It was alleged that following a failure to get make these forms available in Kano, ( which some oalleged was intentional ) the Abacha camp proceeded to secure their forms in Abuja and as such, when it was time to return them, they took the forms to Abuja, not Kano.
In turn, Abuja was supposed to forward the forms back to Kano ahead of the congress but that did not happen. Rather the forms were 'forgotten' in Abuja. Left with no option, the Abacha camp had to return the forms (Actually, internet copies of the document) to the state chairman at about 2: 00 am on the morning of the state congress.
The problems of the party are only beginning to manifest and many people in state are concerned that these problems are likely to culminate in big disaffection within its ranks and jeopardize its fortunes.
A disturbed member of CPC told Daily Sun. 'There is this mad rush to reap from the goodwill of General Mohammed Buhari by all and sundry, even by people who do not share in the political philosophy of justice and fair play that the General symbolizes. There is the argument that as a result of this prospect of easy victory, the CPC has since become the haven of all manners of power mongers.''
But there is also those who believe that the storm would soon pass and are therefore not worried over recent unsavoury development.
Aminu Bashir Ibrahim , a member of the presidential campaign team pointed out that the problems encountered by the party during the congress were normal problems in party politics adding that in any serious political party, there are bound to be clashes of interests.
He declared that the matter would be easily addressed before the elections, while advising the eight gubernatorial aspirants to realize that it is only one of them that would become the gubernatorial candidate of the party and not two.