Abuja - The wrangling within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi state assumed a worrisome dimension on Wednesday when two groups clashed at its National Secretariat, Abuja.
A group of members of the party from the state believed to be loyalists of Speaker Yakubu Dogara had arrived at the secretariat, protesting the handling of affairs by the governor, Mohammed Abubakar.
The leader of the group, Galadima Abba, said to be youth leader in the state, said that the governor had failed in his duties.
Amid chanting against the governor, Abba said the group was at the secretariat to draw attention of the party to its imminent collapse in the state due to poor handling of affairs by the governor.
”Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, has failed; he cannot pay salary of workers and is unable to pay pensioners.
”Most of his appointments are to PDP members while the APC appointees are being removed; we are calling on the national leadership to act fast by intervening in order to save Bauchi state from this debacle,” he said.
However, in a twist of events, some of the anti-governor protesters suddenly changed stance and started chanting slogans in his favour.
Umar Saleh, a leader who emerged among the “changed’’ protesters, said “the governor has done nothing wrong. Those that want to remove him have something to hide”.
”He is doing well and we support him. Allegations that he is owing workers their salaries for months is untrue and complaints about unending verification is to totally rid the state of ghost workers,” he said.
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At that point, the atmosphere became charged and the groups engaged themselves in altercations and fisticuffs, almost leading to a free-for-all.
The situation was, however, checked by security men and party staff at the secretariat, and all the members went into a closed-door meeting for about four hours.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, chairman of the party in the state, Uba Nana, said ”APC is one and united in Bauchi state”.
”We are working day-in, day-out to deliver our promises to the electorate. We are addressed as one united party so that anyone who voted for APC will have no cause to regret,” he said.
Nana said that as a family, even when arguments arose, it should be settled amicably through dialogue.
He argued that conflicts must arise in any normal setting, saying, ”whether it’s a civil or international war, nothing can be achieved on the battle field unless by dialogue.
”Many states cannot sustain themselves through internally generated revenue; Bauchi is one of those. We only depend on Federation Account.
”Salaries are still being paid in full in Bauchi; no salary cut like other states. The situation we found ourselves is the bunch of problems we inherited from the previous administration.
”Even if there is a problem, this is something we should sit down and address as one family.
”The governor should be commended not condemned; verification is necessary, only the real staff will be paid.”
Nana also said that APC was not in a fight with anybody and had not disrespected the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, who is an indigene of the state and member of the party, in any way.
On whether the governor would stand another election, he said, ”what is before us is not the question of 2019.
”What is before us is how do to deliver successfully to the electorate. Go to Bauchi and see what is happening, only time will tell.”
It would be recalled that Dogara recently led a delegation of top government functionaries and party members from the state, including the Minister of Education, Prof. Adamu Adamu, to the party national secretariat to report Gov. Abubakar.
They accused the governor of mismanaging the bailout funds given to the state, alleging that he did not pay staff salaries.