Following the onslaught of impeachment against All Progressives Party governors, the party’s national leadership has asked its governors to keep a tight grip on their respective Houses of Assembly, THISDAY has gathered. This is as the APC leaders are charting fresh strategies to retain their strongholds and try to gain strength in states controlled by Peoples Democratic Party.
APC also disclosed at the weekend that it was prepared to challenge the July 15 impeachment of former Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako in court.
APC leaders were busy over the weekend discussing measures to avert the ongoing impeachment exercise against Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nassarawa State to try to save him from going the way of Nyako.
THISDAY gathered that APC had asked its governors, especially in states where the Assemblies are in turmoil, to be vigilant and try to be on top of happenings in the legislature to prevent PDP from exploiting the situations. It was learnt that the party took particular notice of developments in Rivers and Edo states, where pro-PDP and APC legislators have engaged each other in a supremacy tussle widely believed to be instigated by external forces on purpose to remove the APC governors from office.
In the case of the latest impeachment gale threatening to blow down Al-Makura, THISDAY gathered that the party was reaching out to important stakeholders in the state, including traditional rulers, in a bid to stop his removal. As a follow-up to earlier efforts to woo some moderate elements within the state PDP, the governor’s men were said to have resorted to appealing to his kinsmen for solidarity.
There were signs of major realignments among politicians in the state last week, with some of them already viewing the conflict from tribal perspective.
A source said the recent protests against the impeachment of the Nasarawa State governor had started generating sentiments from among interest groups in the state, especially the Gwandara tribal area, where the governor comes from.
“The sentiments are growing over the matter and some people are calling for the recall of recalcitrant lawmakers who are bent on pushing for the impeachment. Some of legislators are also considering yielding to pressures from their people to back out of the impeachment drive,” source said.
Meanwhile, APC is making serious effort to reverse the advantage gained by PDP following Nyako’s impeachment on July 15.
The party’s national vice chairman for North-east, Babachir David Lawal, who revealed this, said APC had assembled a legal team and readied necessary evidence to commence the legal process.
According to Lawal, the party is adopting a two-pronged approach towards wresting power back from PDP. He said yesterday that APC had put together necessary documentation and assembled a legal team to challenge the impeachment of Nyako in court.
Lawal said the party had commenced the search for a strong and credible candidate ahead of the governorship bye-election in Adamawa State, which is expected to take place within 90 days of the governor’s impeachment in line with the constitution.
The zonal vice chairman said, “The people of Adamawa are agitated and not happy with the turn of things, as the PDP has tried to force out the governor through the impeachment. Our party is aware of the enormous support and goodwill it enjoys among the people of Adamawa State and does not want to take chances over the issue. We are, therefore, ready to go to court and also will take part in any bye-election to make sure that we do not allow the PDP to snatch away the people’s mandate through the back-door.”
On insinuations that APC may have bungled on its initial goodwill in Adamawa State by failing to properly manage the squabbles over control of party structures in the state, resulting in the defection of some stalwarts to PDP, Lawal said none of the defectors could whittle down APC’s influence in the state. He said before the exit of the former members, APC had become so deep-rooted in Adamawa that no single individual could alter the party’s popularity among the people.
He said before the defection of Nyako to APC, the party was already the dominant party in Adamawa State, stressing that during the 2011 general election PDP only narrowly defeated the Action Congress of Nigeria while Congress for Progressive Change came third. ACN and CPC, which are now defunct, were among the major parties that formed the APC merger.
Lawal said, “The defections of Gundiri and Marwa, the 2011 governorship candidates of ACN and CPC, respectively, to PDP has little or no effect on the fortunes of APC. This is because no notable member of the party followed them to PDP. On the contrary, the few rank and file members that followed them are trickling back.”
He maintained that majority of people in Adamawa State were angry with the way Nyako was removed from office by “people they know to possess no morality, who were driven purely by selfish motives and were also sponsored by selfish interests from outside the state.”
He alleged that the impeachment involved serial breaches of the constitution, saying PDP will suffer the backlash during the by-election.
The APC chieftain said the people of Adamawa State were fully aware that Nyako was ousted because of his stance on the failure of President Goodluck Jonathan to secure the people of the North-east against the rampaging Boko Haram insurgency.
“The trigger for this was the letter he wrote to the northern governors and the paper he presented in the USA on the security challenges facing the country. Admiral Nyako said things which every northerner had wanted to say but which no one had the courage to say. But being a general, he took the bull by horns and said it, damning all consequences. The impeachment was the price he had to pay.
“Today, Admiral Nyako is a hero to all northerners and, in particular, the people of Adamawa State. This by-election will be payback time for President Goodluck Jonathan and his minions in the PDP,” Lawal said.