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Sunday, 5 November 2017

Tension as Buhari’s support groups battle for supremacy ahead of 2019 election

There is an alleged tension in the political camp of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), over a looming face off among groups of political organisations supporting the president and his administration.

The Nation reports that the Coalition of APC support Groups and a new body, National Committee of Buhari Support Groups, recently put together by Senators Ibrahim Lawal and Habu Ibrahim, are at the centre of the looming crisis.

Sources claimed the president is unaware of the crisis as he is yet to be briefed by those concerned.

But a presidential aide from the southwest, worried over the possible effect of the looming crisis on Buhari's political future, has allegedly sent a report on the matter to the presidency through the usual official channel. "But it is yet to be seen if that too got to the President," a source said.

The Nation gathered that although the issues that led to the current face-off have been on for a while, trouble burst open last week following the hosting of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups in the Villa by President Buhari.

The development, it was gathered, angered the leadership of the Coalition of APC Support Groups, which accused Senator Ibrahim and some presidential aides of trying to supplant the coalition with the new group ahead of the 2019 elections.

It was further gathered that the leadership of the coalition, under Ambassador Lawal Mohammed Munir, Mazi Peter Okorapo and Mallam Danjuma Dattijo, as Chairman, General Secretary and Organising Secretary respectively, had before now, accused some aides of the President of denying the coalition and its members, access to President Buhari, in spite of several efforts made to secure audience with him.

They similarly accused the unnamed presidential aides of conniving with Senators Lawal and Ibrahim to float a rival organisation with the intention of supplanting the coalition with the new outfit.

The Nation learnt the leadership of the coalition, which was inaugurated by the leadership of the APC shortly before the 2015 general election, had on several occasions reported the matters to the national chairman of the party.

"Not only had we reported the activities of the senators and their backers in the presidency to the national chairman of the party, several letters and petitions have been sent to the national Youth leader and national Organising Secretary of the party on the issues.

"But little or nothing was done until we were shocked to see these Senators leading a group of people to Aso villa rock to be introduced to the president as leaders of his support groups.

"That, to us is the climax of all the nocturnal activities we have been complaining about. Our coalition is not just a group of people supporting Mr. President.

It is an accredited and registered organisation put in place and inaugurated by the party leadership itself before the election that brought President Buhari into office. We do not think it is proper for a group of people to just brush that aside and come up with a new one," a leader of the coalition said.

Unable to bear what it interpreted to be an attempt to force it out of the Buhari political camp, the leadership of the coalition, through Dattijo, its Organising Secretary, wrote an open letter to president, detailing the disenchantment of the leadership and members of the various groups that make up the coalition with the turn of events since the APC won the presidential election in 2015.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, the coalition hoped that issues raised would be addressed with mutual understanding for the APC to achieve greater success in governance and of course for the support groups to be given their due recognition.

The coalition cautioned against the ongoing attempt by some presidential aides to subvert its interest
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