Crisis rocks Niger APC over ministerial nominee

By Ummi Ismaeel,

The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State has taken a new dimension with the screening and endorsement of the state’s Ministerial nominee, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, by the 9th Senate of the federal Republic of Nigeria. The rift began when the Governor, Alhaji Abubarkar Sani Bello, made the first three key appointments –
the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Head of Service and the Chief of Staff of the Government House.
While many celebrated the appointment of the Chief of Staff as a card-carrying member of the APC, the ruling party in Niger State, it was not the same with the appointment of the SSG and Head of Service, both of whom they said were non-card carrying-members of the party.
But the recent screening and endorsement of the state Ministerial nominee, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, whose name was allegedly forwarded by the governor himself is further fuelling the crisis in the party.
Consequently, the state APC has rejected the nomination of Ambassador Zubairu Dada and posited that Governor Bello, who is also the leader of the party in the state, ‘‘acted alone’’ in the submission of the name to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Rising from its stakeholders’ meeting Thursday, the APC in the state insisted that Zubairu Dada was not a card-carrying member of the APC, alleging that he campaigned for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the run up to the last general elections and as such should not have been given the slot.
At the expanded State Working Committee of the party, which took place at the party secretariat in Minna, on Thursday, the party in a statement unanimously agreed that President Muhammad Buhari be asked to drop Ambassador Dada and replace him with a card-carrying member of APC in the state.
The communiqué at the end of the meeting stated: “Many loyal members who felt disappointed by the development have threatened to massively decamp from APC since party loyalty and commitments are no longer rewarded as people from opposition party are given appointments instead of those who laboured for the APC victory”.
The statement signed by the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Idris A. Abini, feared that the party’s chances of remaining a force to reckon with in subsequent elections would be in doubts ‘especially now that local government elections are around the corner’.
“The governor who is the leader of the party, who should constantly consult with the party acted alone against the wish of party members to favour non-party members in his nomination for the federal and state appointments”, the state working committee pointed out.

The State Working Committee also said the situation had been made worse with the realization that the minister designate, “is from the same Local Government Area, Ward and Polling Unit as Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, representing Niger East senatorial zone.
“The same scenario played out in 2015, when the Ministerial nominee and the Governor emerged from the same senatorial zone”, the communiqué pointed out as the members insisted on ensuring that the governor does the party’s biddings in the state.
While asking President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the trend, the communiqué asked the President to, “Use his sense of honesty integrity and desire for justice to immediately remedy the situation and follow APC’s earlier nominations”.
Both the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mary Noel Berje, and
the Ministerial nominee, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, could not react to the story when contacted.
Dada did not pick calls after several times. He later responded to an SMS, ‘‘I will call you back’’; but did not call.

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