Buhari May Leave CPC
The recently concluded congresses of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) at ward level in many states of the federation has left no one in doubt about the nature of the party's leadership. All the commentators I read or listened to so far have expressed their shock regarding the extent to which some candidates went to rig the outcome of the exercise. Reports have also confirmed the widespread irregularities especially in states considered as the strongholds of the party and its presidential aspirant, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).
Barely ten days after writing Fraud, Moneybags and CPC (fridaydiscourse.blogspot.com/2010/11/discourse-311-fraud-moneybags-and-cpc.html), is it disheartening to report back that the fears I expressed in that article regarding the emerging bad reputation of the party have materialized.
Unless something is done quickly, the confidence which many Nigerians have - that the party will put up a formidable challenge to the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) - will be quickly eroded. The fraud that is taking place has no equal in the annals of Nigeria's political history.
The first bad omen came from Katsina, the home state of Buhari himself. There were widespread allegations that a gubernatorial aspirant, Senator Yakubu Lado Danmarke, has bribed each member of the state caretaker committee with N5million and each chairman of local government caretaker committee with N400, 000. The state committee did not waste time in sitting and declaring that it has reached a consensus to give Danmarke the gubernatorial ticket of the party, to the total exclusion of other candidates. Naturally, the likes of Aminu Masari that did follow that rule cried foul. A supporter of Danmarke was heard over the BBC admitting that indeed N5m money was given but as a 'contribution' to running the party. He even rhetorically asked, 'Would the party run without money?'
How could a group of few people sit and decide to give a party ticket to someone in a state of four million people, without any primaries and in a party that promises to institute social justice among 150 million Nigerians? The ward congresses of Katsina State where ward executives and three ward delegates will be elected are coming up next week. The story is not over. But I bet you it will not be different.
Yes. It will not be different from what happened in the neighboring state of Kano where the National Chairman of the party, Senator Rufa'i Hanga, violated the directive of the Board of Trustees (BOT) not to use the initial limited registration cards of the party in last Saturday's congresses. But having known that the cards were sold mostly to his supporters, Hanga refused to carry out the directive. Haruna Danzago, the Chairman of the party in Kano, was heard on air a day before the congresses threatening that anybody who goes to the venue without the membership card will be promptly arrested by the Police. Many people called on Buhari and other BOT members to complain of this bizarre display of injustice. One of the Board members was heard advising some of the complainants on phone that they are free to 'resort to whatever is possible to fight for their rights.' It was an advice given in ignorance of what the National Chairman of the party had in store in the next few hours.
As it turned out, in most local governments the congresses did not take place at all. Results were cooked and submitted to the party headquarters in Kano. Where the congresses took place, Hanga's supporters outsmarted those of other candidates: the congresses were started at 2am in the night in some places, others until Fajr prayers were said at 5pm! By 8am when the congresses were to start officially, all was concluded. This is a new achievement in rigging. Not even PDP can beat this record, as a commentator said on Dandalin Siyasa, a yahoo discussion group. Of course, all the officials and delegates who emerged as winners from the charade are supporters of the National Chairman, who is a gubernatorial aspirant in the state. This act of desperation now gives credence to the allegation that he purposely formed the party and lured Buhari into it in order to become the Governor of Kano State. Haruna Danzago, the party chairman in Kano and who was never short of words in criticising Governor Shekarau for 'betraying' Buhari, told the BBC that nothing could be perfect in this world. I do not know if Danzago has realized that by this singular act he has betrayed Buhari more than any person before in the history of Kano.
I will not leave the Kano scene without weighing the capacity of CPC for injustice in comparison to the ruling PDP. Last year or so, the PDP conducted its congress in Kano where it elected state party executives. It was carried out in broad daylight and we have not heard the losers, late Abubakar Rimi and his supporters - complaining of rigging. Parties in this country have been conducting primaries but never have we seen them rigged to the extent that is presently done in the CPC.
In Kebbi State, it was a different story. The complaint is coming from moneybags who joined the party few days ago - a candidate who is supported by Senator Adamu Aliero, the former governor of the state, and another, an ex-custom officer, who is supported by the renowned smuggler, Dahiru Mangal. As usual, they started making efforts to take over the party using money. A leaflet was circulated in Birnin Kebbi a day before the election purporting that a consensus was arrived at which conceded the ticket to the former custom officer, Abubakar Garunmalam. This made CPC supporters to further rally around K. T. Turaki (SAN) who has been nurturing the party since its formation. The congresses were duly conducted and the supporters of Turaki won. There are now hues and cries from the moneybags who, not surprisingly, have the sympathy of the National Chairman, are calling for the congresses to be cancelled.
This morning, I heard the fire-spitting spokesman of Buhari, Engr. Buba Galadima, promising party supporters that they have not shifted from its ideology of social justice and that he will insist that justice must be done to all after a careful study of supporters' complaints and reports from the police and INEC. Otherwise, Buba threatened to resign from his position as a member of the BOT or even from the party completely. I just learnt this afternoon that he has announced the dissolution of the party executive in Kano and Katsina, a good face-saving measure.
The threat of Buba should echo in the mind of Buhari, if we will advise the General honestly. If CPC will not be run in accordance with the principles of justice which he stood for all his life but only according to the whims and caprices of moneybags, he too should consider resigning from the party. The injustices in the party have been very much around to the knowledge of the General himself. Decisions of the BOT he chairs are blatantly ignored by the National Chairman.
Unless due process is followed, starting from the congresses, CPC will severely suffer from crisis of reputation by this time next week. The more contentious primaries of Katsina, Jigawa and Bauchi states are coming next Saturday. The National Chairman has long ago dissolved the party executives in Bauchi and Jigawa in favour of some moneybags that joined the party recently. If the same fraud is repeated at those congresses in favour of such characters, then the party should as well forget winning any state during the next election, let alone making Buhari the President of Nigeria. What would we expect from people who cannot retrain themselves at party level when we entrust them with the leadership of this country? Bauchi is a good example.
In that case, Buhari should seriously consider abandoning the party entirely as Buba threatened. (In fact Buba by his comment may be preparing the minds of Buhari's supporters exactly for that.) It will be too crippled to guarantee his success and too undeserving for his membership. I have expressed my reservations to him few weeks before he joined the party based on some initial signals I intercepted. Now that they have disappointedly become real, he must start thinking, and think quickly, of a better option.
And who said such option does not exist? There are many ideologically credible parties around that have been tested and trusted. The Peoples' Redemption Party of Balarabe Musa and Labour Party will welcome him. They supported his presidential bid in 2007. Even ACN is far more assuring than CPC, as it is. Besides, I do not know of any supporter of the General who will object to his joining the ACN or Labour Party. It will be a welcome decision and a revolution in our political history. It will improve his chances of victory and help to significantly reduce the north-south divide of our politics. This has been my stand. After he has left CPC, the moneybags can make anything of it. But at least we have denied them the chance of using Buhari to hoodwink the masses as it happened in Bauchi in 2007.
This is my advice to the Buhari. I implore every reader to express his in the comment box below (http://fridaydiscourse.blogspot.com/2010/12/trivial-4-buhari-may-leave-cpc.html if you are not reading the article from my blog). I will ensure that it reaches him immediately. Try, please. Your advice could make a difference.