The presidency on Sunday said President Muhammadu Buhari played no role in the removal of Umar Doguwa as chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Kano State.
Mr. Doguwa, believed to be a loyalist of a former governor of the state, Rabiu Kwankwaso, was removed as APC chairman and replaced with Abdullahi Abbas, a loyalist of the current governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.
Messrs. Kwankwaso and Ganduje are involved in a political feud for the control of the party in the state. Efforts by the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the crisis have failed.
The feud is also believed to have been responsible for Mr. Abbas’ resignation as chairman on Thursday, after he which he was appointed commissioner by the governor.
The feud also got worse last week when Mr. Ganduje’s deputy, Hafizu Abubakar, said on a radio programme that he may not contest alongside his principal when Mr. Ganduje seeks re-election in 2019 as expected.
Kano, the largest state in Northern Nigeria, is also where President Buhari got his largest votes, almost two million, in the 2015 presidential elections. Mr. Buhari who recently paid a working visit to the state, still enjoys a large support from there. Mr. Kwankwaso, a serving senator, also has a large following in Kano.
The presidency’s statement on the controversy is contained in a statement by Garba Shehu, Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson.
Mr. Shehu said the reaction was in response to claims by a group, Concerned Members of the APC in Kano State, believed to be loyal to Mr. Kwankwaso.
“The Presidency wishes to refute a false accusation that President Muhammadu Buhari was behind the removal of the erstwhile Kano All Progressives Congress, APC chapter chairman Hon Umar Haruna Doguwa,” Mr. Shehu said.
“Let me assure all our party members and the general public alike at no time did the President involve himself in the internal conflict of any APC chapter in the country, and would never do so.”
Mr. Shehu said, “President Buhari would not risk his integrity to support one side against the other in the affairs the APC or any other political party anywhere in the country.
Anybody who knows the president’s principles would not believe any allegations linking Buhari to interference in the election or removal of party leaders across the country.”
The spokesperson made reference to the president’s neutral role in the election that brought Bukola Saraki as the senate president contrary to the stance of the party.
“In fact, it is an irony that President Buhari, who was accused in the past of not taking control of the National Assembly by imposing in the President of the Senate and Speaker, two critical institutions in the running of our democracy, will now be accused of abandoning those principles to order the removal of the chairman of the Kano APC party chapter.
“I am 100 percent convinced that this group, which is being associated with the respected senator representing Kano, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso did not seek his permission or clear their script with him before they dragged the name of the President into this matter. Governor Kwankwaso knows President Buhari too well to reduce him to this level.
“This group is hereby advised to stop belittling the person and office of the President by dragging his name into their local party quarrels. It is unfair to attack President Buhari over an issue he knew nothing about,” Mr. Shehu said.