Stakeholders in the Northwest have applauded the adoption of ‘Consensus’ approach by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in electing its officials, saying other options would have led to internal wrangling over authenticity of results.
Expressing their feelings during separate interviews with Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina and Birnin Kebbi, most of them were of the opinion that the exercise would have positive impact on future elections.
Others, however, expressed their reservations about the possible gains of adopting the Consensus option, citing instances of irregularities in some states, resulting in the conduct of parallel Congresses.
They argued that the ‘carry-over’ of internal wrangling occasioned by the exercise, to the time of conduct of elections, might not augur well for the country.
Mr Alexander Aya, former Interim Management Council (IMC) Chairman of Kaura Local Government Council in Kaduna State, said in spite of all challenges, the All Progressives Congress (APC) would overcome its internal squabbles.
He said like every other political party, APC had its peculiar challenges, which bordered on individual or group interests, and that such development would not have any negative effect on future elections in the country.
“Alleged irregularities associated with the party’s Local Government Congresses, is not peculiar to APC.
“Internal crisis in APC is as a result of interests certain individuals want to protect, but with the ongoing mediation, the party would surmount the challenges,” Aya added.
He said the party was magnanimous enough to have exempted Kaduna State from the conduct of the Local Government Congresses to allow the State concentrate on the Council Polls held on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Meanwhile, residents in parts of Kaduna metropolis, have expressed mixed reaction over alleged irregularities during the conduct of Saturday’s APC Local Government Congresses nationwide.
One of them, Ibrahim Yakubu, applauded the leadership role of the party, saying that decisions reached was for the benefit of members.
“If the leadership at the National Headquarters feels consensus approach of electing party leaders is the best option, I believe it is for the good of all,” he said.
On his part, Audi Adamu, an Educationist, urged party officials to ensure they involved members, especially at the grassroots so as to carry everyone along.
“There is always bound to be problems when a few individuals decide the fate of majority.
“Although the polity is heated, party stakeholders should endeavor it address its internal crisis in the best interest of the country,” Adamu said.
However, Biatrice Mathew, a Legal Practitioner, expressed reservations over the suitability of the ‘Consensus’ option, describing it as a gesture that had created room for distrust amongst members.
“If the party is to be fair to all, then, it must abide by known democratic principles that will ensure equity, and by so doing, build confidence in party faithfuls,” she opined.
In Katsina State, APC Members and other stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the Congresses, saying it started and ended without any controversy.
One of the stakeholders, who is also the Minister of Aviation, Alhaji Hadi Sirika, attributed the success to the adoption of Consensus options, adding that doing otherwise would have resulted in fall-outs capable of affecting unity among members.
“Choosing the Consensus option is a clear demonstration that the party members belong to one family, with one destiny.
“Everything went smoothly throughout the state, without any rancour or acrimony among our party members” he said.
Also speaking, a Chieftain of APC in Ingawa Local Government Area of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Suleiman, said that the outcome of the Congresses was heartwarming.
He said this was an indication that such approach, if adopted by other political parties, could minimise acrimony in selection of party leaders, thereby enhancing the gains of democracy in the country.
Also,Malam Sambo Danchadi, Publicity Secretary of the APC in Sokoto State believed the Consensus option had made the party stronger than it was.
“As a party, we accepted consensus option in Sokoto State to strengthen our unity, and the goal seems to have been achieved,” he said.
According to him, the claim of alleged irregularities are figment of imagination of some people, adding that no single petition was filed by any member.
“It is natural that the political party cannot satisfy the need of every member and you cannot stop anybody from expressing his or her mind,” he said.
On his part, Malam Abdullah Muhammad, a Political Analyst, said that the Consensus option adopted by APC in some states, if conducted transparently, could strengthen the party and impart positively on the forthcoming general future elections.
“This is because genuine Consensus option will avert future crises as members will be united, as such there will be no division within the party.
“The reverse will be the case if the exercise is fraudulent, which can lead to crisis and emergence of factions, and the infighting can linger up to the time of the 2023 general election,” he said.
In Kebbi State, Chairman of the State Organising Committee of APC, Alhaji Abubakar Chika-Ladan, told NAN that the Congress would have positive impact on upcoming elections as the option adopted relatively withered away rancour and disgruntlement.
However, a Political Analyst in Kebbi, Alhaji Sadisu Muhammad, thought otherwise, arguing that irregularities that featured in some states, had jeopardised credibility and fairness expected from the exercise.
“ The party Local Government Congresses is an avenue where three elected delegates from each of the 774 local government areas in the country, will in turn, elect the presidential candidate of the party.
“The irregularities in the country now have shown that already, before the National Convention of the party, the delegates will dance to the tune of their godfathers.
“Therefore, all the delegates that will elect the presidential candidate of their party, must be subservient to their godfathers, and will go for their interest, thereby negating the norms and principles of democracy.
“In essence, those who may emerge at the National Convention, have already being predetermined,” he explained.
Muhammad also opined that the irregularities might result in litigations, which would be inimical to the smooth conduct of the convention and its subsequent outcome.
“The success of the 2023 elections solidly depends on the successful outcome of the political parties’ conventions, because its time bound,” the analyst said.
On his part, Dr Mukhtar Bashir from the Department of Political Science, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, averred that party leadership had always dominated affairs of the party.
“Wherever you see a political party, no matter the democratic instrument that is in place, there is certain oligarchical tendency in such political party.
“In most cases, party leadership always dominates the affairs of the party, to the detriment of the majority faithful.
“This has, therefore, been applicable to the Nigerian context as regards to the application of ‘Consensus’ in selecting party leaders in the country,” he said.
According to him, wherever there is lack of internal democracy in any political party, at the end of the day, there will be cross-carpeting of aggrieved members during upcoming elections.
Bashir also opined that the aggrieved members would likely defect to parties they would get similar positions they were denied in their party.
“This sort of development could affect the party, just as witnessed in Zamfara state in 2019, where APC lost all political positions to opposition party that had the second highest number of votes,” Bashir noted.
In his contribution, Malam Yahaya Muhammad, a political commentator , stated that intra-party crises might eventually lead to a situation where courts, rather than votes, would determine winners of elections.
He said this was what obtained in 2019 governorship election in Zamfara State, when the court upturned the electoral mandate of the APC, to the advantage of PDP, which had second highest counted votes.
Meanwhile, residents of Kano metropolis and party stakeholders have expressed divergent opinion over the Local Government Congress held in the state.
Some of them who spoke to NAN on Thursday in Kano said that the exercise was marred by irregularities, while others commended the conduct.
A resident, Idi Ali, told NAN that conduct of the exercise in some wards, was satisfactory, while in others, the exercise was not transparent, with only few people participating.
A party member, Labaran Sani, said that most members of the party who had trooped out with high expectations, were left disappointed as the party agreed on Consensus.
“The consensus adopted left many of us disappointed because some of the Party Executives are not living up to our expectations and we need change,” he said.
But a party stakeholder, Abubakar Bala, insisted that the Congress went on peacefully across the state, adding that the option was decided by party stakeholders.
Alhassan Dawakin-Tofa, APC stalwart, who conducted parallel Congress in the state, however lamented that internal wrangling might affect the party’s chances in 2023.
A Political Scientist, Annur Sadik, however, said that inter and intra party feud were normal and integral part of politics, but advised the major political parties in the country, to provide level playing-ground to its members, irrespective of who they supported.
He said such a measure would enable the seamless conduct of feature elections, devoid of hiccups, thereby enhancing the credibility of results.