By Ibrahim Dan-Halilu
The timely intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari today at the emergency NEC Meeting of the party called up by its ‘Acting National Chairman’, Chief Victor Giadom has saved the ruling party from imminent disintegration but Nigerians are far from witnessing the end of internal crises in the APC that may eventually put the final nail to its coffin before 2023 general election.
In an interview with BBC Hausa Service last week, I gave a clear picture of how APC courted crises by bringing into its fold members of different political parties with one common agenda of taking over power from the then ruling PDP without mapping out a clear power sharing arrangement and national agenda acceptable to the four political parties that merged to form the APC.
In effect, each of those political parties – ANPP, CPC, ACN, and a faction of APGA – had a separate mission that was hinged on supporting Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential aspiration.
Immediately he was announced winner, their conflicting agendas began to surface.
Many political analysts believe that the single uniting factor of the four political parties was Buhari, if he wins, they remain together, if he loses, they return to their cocoons.
Having won the election, President Buhari faced a major challenge of accommodating the aspirations and whims of each of the alliance parties, resulting in the emergence of discordant tunes from some of the leading members like Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and later Bukola Saraki.
It would be naive for President Buhari to think that those political giants would sacrifice their interest for any national interest that was not properly defined.
For instance, while the administration’s war against corruption was being waged against prominent members of previous government, many stalwarts of the APC enjoyed unwritten immunity from investigation and prosecution.
Ironically, the presidential ambition of Ahmed Bola Tinubu who was a leading catalyst to Buhari’s 2015 victory, seems to be another single factor rocking the APC to its roots. Many contenders for the seat have joined forces with detractors to create internal disunity in the APC.
Bola Tinubu himself has not helped matters with his display of enormous powers and ubiquitous influence in the administration that manifests in most of the key decisions taken by the Buhari administration.
The APGA leaders like Rochas Okorocha and several middle belt icons who joined the APC had thought of a truly national government that would reflect their wishes and aspirations of their people but it turned out to be a different stroke as the administration pursued a surreptitious of sensitive positions to the exclusion of northern Christian minorities.
The election of Adams Oshiomole as the National Chairman of the party in 2015 came at a great sacrifice to the ruling partyany of his middle belt has taken. One may not be wrong to say Tinubu commands more influence than Adams Oshiomhole, the erstwhile national chairman of APC.
The party’s crises which climaxed with the dissolution of the NWC of the APC today by the party’s NEC led by President Buhari himself is just a tip of the iceberg. A bigger crisis is well ahead unless some divine intervention the way of the party.
Can Mai Mala Bunu lead the party to reconciliation in the coming months? What would be the fate of Adams Oshiomole who has been suspended from the party and stripped of the national chair? Would he make a comeback as ordinary member or defect to another party? Is the NEC decision binding on the warring factions of the party, considering the argument that the court injunction that gave Giadom the power to act as chair of the APC has been vacated.
There was also the argument that the court that granted him the power acted in error because he resigned his secretary position to contest senatorial election in his home state which he lost.
President Buhari himself might have been wrongly advised to attend the meeting convened by Giadom because the latest Court of Appeal ruling that declared Adams Oshiomole unqualified to occupy the seat of the National Chairman of the party has rendered previous one that installed Giadom as Acting Chairman null and void. Only the NEC can decide who should take over from Oshiomole, as it did today.
However, the NEC decision seems to have overruled the position of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu group that was against Giadom’s move to convene a NEC meeting. It has also put paid to Oshiomole’s grandstanding and political chickenery that robbed APC of victory in Zamfara, Rivers, and now Edo – unless the primaries is transparently repeated.
At least for the mean time, President Buhari has played his expected role of a leader by intervening to resolve the crisis rocking his party. What remains is to see how far this restoration will go, and how the APC trouble will receive it. With the NEC order asking all parties to withdraw court cases, it remains to be seen how the factions will agree to resolve their differences democratically.
Will Tinubu leave APC to form a new party or joined one of the existing ones to fly his presidential ticket? With Buhari out of the equation after 2023, who will serve as a rallying point and as chief Reconciliator of the APC? That’s the crux of the matter that should concern every APC fan. For the opposition, its time to start warming up for another battle to retake power. The PRP in particular has potential to go national and fill the void the APC will leave in 2023 if it fails to put its house in order.
Ibrahim L. Dan-Halilu
Media Consultant and Public Affairs Analyst