By Ogalah Ibrahim
THE last seven years of governance in Katsina State are arguably the most challenging in the history of the state with insecurity and other vices hampering the delivery of good governance.
To make matters worse, the ongoing infighting in the Katsina All Progressives Congress, APC, which has led to some of its key members dumping the party and many more probably planning to do the same, is said to have put the ruling party in a tight corner.
While the immediate past Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Mustapha Muhammed Inuwa, still remains in the APC, it is no longer game as usual for the erstwhile state government scribe, who has been boxed into a corner since the conduct of the party’s governorship primary.
The ex-SGS, who was among the nine aspirants that slugged it out in the governorship primary was said to be coasting to victory when the State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, spearheaded a move that turned the tide against him in the dying minutes.
Ever since, there has been disquiet on his next political move as his fate in the APC has been hanging in the balance.
Though schemed out of the 2023 contest, the Mustapha Inuwa campaign office, which is within a spitting distance from the Umar Dikko Stadium is a beehive of sorts with his associates, supporters trooping in and out to consult with him on the way forward.
Remarkably, while the other seven aspirants have collapsed their structures since failing in the primary, the case is different with the former SGS whose campaign office keeps bubbling with life, thus arousing suspicion that he has an ace up his sleeves.
Considering the numerous challenges that have made the President Muhammadu Buhari APC-led government appear unpopular in the last seven years, pundits are of the view that the 2023 general election is not going to be a walk over for the APC even in the president’s home state.
Feelers from the state dubbed home of hospitality have shown that the ratings of the APC have been on a steady decline.
“APC as a party is already in crisis. If Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa decides to dump the party, APC will run into deeper crisis and it will be very difficult for the ruling party to win in Katsina considering his large number of followers from across the state who will follow him. His departure will create a serious vacuum that will be hard for the APC to fill,” one of the chieftains of Katsina Democratic Front, KDF, Abubakar Sabitu, said.
As part of efforts to swing the balance in their favour, all the leading political parties (PDP, NPP, among others) ahead of the 2023 general elections have made an attempt to woo Inuwa.
Recently, the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Engr Muhammad Nura Khalil, and some top ranking members of the party held a behind closed doors meeting with Dr Inuwa at his campaign office in Katsina metropolis.
Addressing newsmen after the closed door meeting, Engr Khalil, who described Dr Inuwa as the most valuable, dependable and promising politician among his peers in the state said: “We are here to visit our elder in all respects politically, administratively and in all other areas of human endeavours to discuss the way forward for Katsina as a state and its people.”
In acknowledgement of the visit, Inuwa thanked the NNPP delegation for coming to consult with him, noting that “meetings of this nature will go a long way to smoothen our democratic processes if politicians can bury their differences. It will ensure a peaceful political development, particularly during the electioneering campaigns and elections. So, we pledged to continue to discuss and see what is best for the state.”
With the defection of some APC heavyweights like Senator Baba Ahmed Kaita to the PDP coupled with the insecurity and economic downturn experienced under the APC administration, if the former SGS joins the bandwagon, it will further compound the ruling party’s woe in the fast approaching 2023 general election.
Interestingly, the APC on its part is also making frantic effort to see that Inuwa remains in the party which he has helped to build right from its foundation.
Indeed, APC Vice Presidential Candidate, Kashim Shettima, while feigning to be in Katsina State on a social visit, stealthily visited Inuwa for reconciliatory efforts, recently.
In the same vein, barely two days after Dr Inuwa at his campaign office assured the Katsina PDP family that he will consult with his associates and get back to them, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Faruk, paid a late night visit to Inuwa at his GRA residence in Katsina metropolis. Though what transpired at the meeting was not disclosed, insinuations are that it is in connection with his purported plot to dump the party
Similarly, the state is ripe with rumour that Governor Masari, while in Abuja recently, orchestrated a meeting between the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu and the former SGS to persuade him to stay in the party but the meeting was said to have ended in a deadlock.
There are reports that Inuwa and his supporters will defect to the PDP.
Reacting to the report, the Katsina APC governorship candidate, Dikko Radda expressed confidence that Inuwa would not leave APC for the PDP.
“As an elder statesman, a loyal party man and as my elder brother, he will always work by his assurance for the party. It is payback time for him. And I have good respect and highest regard for him. He will never leave a party he has built for over seven and a half years.
“Those wooing him now, he knows them very well, they have said several things about him and all these past speeches are in the public already. The PDP will never change and they will remain the same set of people,” he said.
But here is what the ex-SGS told the Katsina PDP delegation, led by his governorship candidate, Yakubu Lado and Salisu Majigiri, the state party chairman when they paid him a courtesy visit recently to woo him to their camp:
“In politics there are neither permanent friends nor enemies but interest. We are friends because we all belong to one family and mentor, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of blessed memory.
“I remember the cordial relationship we all had then in PDP. I am going to discuss with my associates to know the next line of action. It won’t be long. We will get back to you soon since the campaign will start soon.”
While the PDP awaits Inuwa’s answer to their prayers, Lado said the party will continue its push to see that the APC is completely abandoned in Katsina State before the 2023 general elections.