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Taraba 2023: The All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Confusion

Barr Tukur El-sudi, Ag. Chairman Taraba APC


As the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Taraba state wobbles into the 2023 general election, all eyes are on the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) to see what it could do to capitalise on the situation.

At the moment the PDP is subsumed under Senatorial ambitions of Governor Darius Ishaku which he has made the party's top priority thus switching it into Senatorial mode.

It is quite clear that many folks within the ruling PDP are not happy at the development at the party. Those within the party who nurse ambitions to vie for positions in the party and also for other elective positions are in limbo. Those who are currently holding party posts along with those on elective positions at the local and national levels except a few are feeling distinctly uneasy. Folks like Member representing Takum, Donga, Ussa Federal Constituency, Hon Rima Shawulu, former speakers of the Taraba House of Assembly Mark Useni, Abel Diah, Chief GT Katabs and former state party chairman Victor Bala Kona all of whom once had the Governor's graces are now out on a limb.

For most of them it is a matter of 'siddon look' while holding their cards close to their chests and making underground moves to strategize on the way forward. There are strong indications that some of these folks are contemplating moving en masse to the opposition APC in order to further their political ambitions if the situation in the PDP becomes too unbearable. For some the strategy is to stay within the PDP but work against it from within. For yet others who have felt so hard done by, the desire is to punish Governor Ishaku and destroy the PDP.

From all indications despite all the brave face put by some PDP stalwarts, the party is a seething cauldron of discontent threatening to boil over in the coming months.

The opposition APC should be drooling at the sight of PDP twisting in knots. It should be particularly happy that the PDP in Taraba is teetering towards the brink and that some of its leading lights are making a bee line to it. Many Tarabans are therefore casting their eyes on the APC in anticipation of its moves with regards to these developments.

But to those who know the antecedents of the APC very well there are reasons to be sceptical. The APC has a well-known propensity to snatch defeat from the mouth of victory during elections. This is mainly due to the abiding lack of cohesion and consensus from its leading lights around many crucial issues concerning the party. Many of the political stakeholders in the APC literally don't see eyeball to eyeball.

This often results in the party working against in default where all it needs to do is to rally round and forge ahead in unity.

Although there is something to behold about APC now being the beautiful bride of Taraba politics it must be tempered against the reality of the party being constantly in default mode. In this regard while the party stands to gain from the looming implosion of the ruling PDP, it may also turn out to be an albatross around APC's neck if it does not manage the opportunities that comes its way.

At present the APC in Taraba has within its fold arguably the greatest concentration of political stalwarts than the ruling PDP. The roll call include two former acting Governors of the state Garba Umar UTC and Sani Abubakar Danladi, former Deputy Governors Uba Maigari,  Armiyau  Abubakar, Minister of Power  Engineer Saleh Mamman, Ahmed ''Gamalia'' Yusuf, Senator Abubakar Tutare, Senator Yusuf O. Yusuf, Senator Bashir Marafa, Chief David Sabo Kente DSK, Professor Dalhatu Sangari, Chief Ezekiel Afukonyo, Hon Danjuma Usman Danji SS, Gen. AT Ibrahim, Ishaya Bauka, former Speakers Josiah Kente, Abu Ajiya, Alhaji Ibrahim Tumba, Surveyor Aliyu Umar, Former Head of Service of the Federation Barr Danladi Kifasi and others. The list runs like the who's who in the political establishment of Taraba state. With the expected decampments from PDP, the APC will soon have more of such stalwarts in its fold.

But Tarabans wonder how with the array of such political heavyweights the APC always comes up short at the elections. 

What always transpires is the classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. The heavyweights in the APC have never been known to agree amongst themselves on issues of overall party interest. They have always placed individual personal interests above the interest of the party at all time.

  Invariably when situations arise that requires closing of ranks and reaching a consensus in order to advance the cause of the party it is always difficult to agree to pull together. In most cases the stalwarts work against one another and even team up with the PDP to work against the interest of the party for selfish reasons.

Again the APC has never always had strong and committed leadership to steer it firmly through its internal and external challenges. This may be partly due to the absence of a primus inter pares figure who will be expected to organize the party and dispense with the egos of individuals. This is quite unlike the PDP which has the Governor both as leader of government and party in the state and who can put every party member in his place.

In the present case of the APC its chairman Barr. Tukur Ibrahim el-Sudi hardly commands such authority and influence. Indeed he has increasingly lost the influence he initially wielded in the party as the big wigs in the party seek to pursue their interests without necessarily seeking his stamp of approval. With their power and resources they feel able to defy the chairman and the party hierarchy with impunity. The party decision not to participate in the last local government election has seriously reduced its influence at the grassroot level.

The situation in the APC contrasts sharply with that of the PDP; while the APC suffers and groans under lack of firm and effective control, the PDP on the other hand pines under the suffocating micro management of Governor Ishaku who is also the leader of the party in the state.

With this state of affairs the APC will find it difficult to benefit from the opportunities offered by the incipient rebellion in the PDP as a result of Governor Ishaku's stranglehold on the party and the expected influx of decampees into its ranks. It is still remains a party at odds with itself and making little or no moves to fundamentally repackage and chart a new course away from its current internal contradictions.

For Tarabans the situation can hardly be gloomier politically with no hope for the raise of a third force in the political equation. On the one hand they are saddled with a ruling party that has hardly impacted positively on their lives in its over twenty two years in power and which they can hardly wait to be rid of. On the other, the main opposition party which they look upon as a viable alternative seems not to be ready to step into the void.

It is unfortunate indeed that a state which desperately deserves to be properly led in order to provide it with development is being left in the lurch by the very people it looks on to do the needful.

The APC which most Tarabans expect to save the state from the jaws of PDP misrule does not appear to be ready for this task going by its antecedents and its current state of affairs. Indeed from all indications the APC is likely once again to default at the very moment that it is required to be steady and focussed on the objective. And it is very likely that the PDP will capitalize on this to hand on to power.          


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