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APC in Jam over Kwankwaso, Amaechiís Ambitions

News » Politics

IMAGE: Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Kano state governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers State governor »


The future ambitions of two governors – Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State and Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State – on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have presented the main opposition party with the dilemma of finding a balance between their desire for higher office and keeping the funds flowing from the states that both governors head.

While Kwankwaso has indicated his desire to contest for the presidency as the APC candidate, from all indications Amaechi is angling to emerge Major-General Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate should the latter secure the presidential ticket of the party.

However, should either of the governors lose out, there are concerns within the APC that Amaechi or Kwankwaso might limit or completely withdraw his funding of the APC as the party struggles to raise funds for electioneering in the run-up to the 2015 general elections.

Already, the governors of the party had accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)–led federal government of intentionally depriving APC-led states of funds while funding PDP-led states.

This was echoed by the National Secretary of APC, Alhaji Mai Bala Buni, who, in an interview with THISDAY, also accused the federal government of starving APC states of funds, compelling the party to look for alternative sources of funds due to the poor allocation to states from the Federation Account.

A party source informed THISDAY that one of the motivating factors behind the move by leaders of the opposition party to woo some governors of the ruling PDP to its fold was not just because of their electoral value but because of their potential to boost the finances of APC.

The source said the party leadership was mindful of the dangers of allowing one wealthy individual to bankroll its activities and therefore decided to spread its tentacles by getting some of the richest states in the country under its fold, other than Lagos State.

In this regard, three state governors – Amaechi, Kwankwaso and Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State – stand out as the most reliable in terms of coming to the aid of the party whenever funding challenges arise.

THISDAY further gathered that since the formation of the opposition coalition party, the three states have so far taken the lead in funding the activities of the party.

Other state governors who have equally contributed to the funding of the party are Nasarawa and Zamfara States.

The source said the party had even gone ahead, as part of its strategy to effectively fund its electioneering, to share the responsibility of zonal funding to the governors in their respective zones so that they could coordinate the mopping up of funds.

Whereas Ameachi was given the mandate to take care of states like Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Akwa Ibom, Kwakwanso was encouraged to mobilise funds in Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi.

In the same vein, the governor of Lagos is supposed to be working with other governors in the South-west to ensure the full mobilisation of resources for the APC during any election.
APC’s sole governor in the South-east Rochas Okoroacha of Imo State was saddled with the responsibility of working with party leaders to raise resources and attract more members in the zone.

However, the source said his party had been wondering how to handle Kwakwanso’s bid for the presidential contest and the possible backlash if he feels sidelined at the presidential primary.

The fear is that the party might lose out if he withdraws from funding its activities in the North-west, the most important zone in the north in terms of population and electoral value.

In the same vein, the scheming by Amaechi to emerge Buhari’s running mate in exchange for funding the party is another thing on the minds of the party leadership.

Amaechi is considered one of the biggest catches from the South-south and a game changer for the opposition party. But he lost out when the party shoved aside his candidate for the chairmanship position, Chief Sam Jaja, to pick Chief John Odigie-Oyegun for the post during the last convention of the party.

“Even with the search for alternative sources of funding for the elections, the financial clout that Kano, Lagos and Rivers bring to bear cannot be discountenanced by the party, so it is a dilemma that the leadership has to deal with.

“As it stands, either one of the governors or both may lose out during the presidential primary and despite their statements that they would support whoever gets the presidential ticket of the party, that may not be the case.

“So APC will be left with Lagos and other less financial buoyant states to prosecute the elections. And all of them have their limits as to how much they can dole out, especially with dwindling revenue allocations and the pressing obligations that they must meet in their states,” explained the party source.

With concerns rising over funding, it was learnt that APC has begun moves to find alternative means of footing its campaigns at all levels in the wake of poor allocations to the state governments.

It was learnt the party does not want to take chances owing to past experiences when it had run into a serious financial crunch during the merger talks and had to rely on a few generous individuals within the party to bail it out.

According to a party source, it is also for this reason that the party decided to set high fees for its nomination and expression of interest forms for various elective offices.

Buni also told THISDAY at the weekend that his party was not depending on the governors to fund its activities due to the increasingly poor allocations to the states from the Federation Account.

“When you are talking about funding, I don’t know what you mean. Do you mean the governors giving us money as a party? Don’t you know that we sell forms to run the party? We are also doing a lot of activities to generate funds.

“Do not see it as if we are solely depending on governors to give us money. Moreover, didn’t you read it in the papers that the PDP government is starving APC governors of funds? So where is the money for the APC to rely on? We are not relying on the governors for funds,” he said.
Buni, while speaking on the tussle for the party's presidential ticket, said APC would accept the consensus arrangement for the selection of its candidate wherever it is possible at all levels of political offices.

He said while the party leadership is open to all options that would help it in selecting the presidential candidate under a rancour-free atmosphere, a consensus arrangement would be welcomed.

“All the options are open, but it is not a crime if a candidate emerges through consensus at any level. Don’t restrict it to the presidential contest. Even if any candidate emerges through consensus, we will still have to go ahead to fulfill the constitutional provision of electing the person.

“There is no restriction as to how the candidate will emerge. If for whatever reason, any candidate that emerges as a consensus candidate either as a candidate for the Senate, the House of Representatives, governor or as a presidential candidate, it will be a welcome development,” he said.

Meanwhile, APC has said it will amend its constitution as well as adopt a new six-point manifesto at Wednesday's extraordinary convention in Abuja.

In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the proposed amendments when approved at the national convention would align the party’s constitution better with the Electoral Act and also allow the APC to function more efficiently.

The statement added that the convention would adopt the six-point manifesto that had been extracted from the one submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) earlier for the purpose of the 2015 general election.

“The manifesto to be adopted at the extraordinary convention of our party is specifically for the 2015 general election. Because of shifting priorities, we do not believe that a party manifesto should be one for all time but a document that will adjust to the changing needs of the people.

“In this regard, we have conducted a survey to find out what Nigerians urgently need at the moment to raise their standards of living and ensure their security and welfare, which is the raison d'etre of any government. Based on the outcome of the survey, we have come up with a six-point manifesto, which we extracted from the one we submitted to INEC earlier.

“The six broad priority areas for the APC ahead of the 2015 general election are National Security, Good Governance, Human Capital Development, Economic Development, Land and Natural Resources as well as Foreign Policy.

“The issue of job creation, fight against corruption, infrastructure development, health, qualitative education, regular power supply, etc, are subsumed under these broad priority areas,” APC said.

The party said once the manifesto had been adopted at this convention, it would be made available to all Nigerians, complete with the full details, in many languages.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Rabiu Kwankwaso     Chibuike Amaechi     APC     Major-General Muhammadu Buhari     Alhaji Mai Bala Buni