The visibly unfolding crises within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is nothing but an offshoot of unrestrained dangerous underground power play by some political gladiators within the party in a bid to outwit one another ahead of 2023 presidential election.
Put in the simplest of terms, such selfish and egoistic showmanship and brinkmanship brazenly displayed by the political actors is not only self-destructive, it is self-effacing, and if not quickly checked may constitute the unassuming albatross of APC lurking in the wings.
We have once witnessed how similar power tuzzle sent the PDP, a one time self acclaimed ‘largest political party in Africa’ down the ladder of political relevance in the country.
The shocking and embarrassing loss of APC to opposition PDP in recently concluded Edo governorship election is another omen in this direction.
Last Friday, another tsunami hit the country’s political landscape when a factional State Executive Committee, SEC, of APC in Ekiti State announced the suspension of Governor Kayode Fayemi from the Party.
This quickly sent a shockwave across the media space, for many reasons, as men and women of the pen and paper profession braced up for yet another brewing showdown within the ruling party, perhaps similar to one that ousted the dissolved National Working Committee, NWC, led by erstwhile national chairman, Adams Oshiomole.
Fayemi’s suspension came less than twenty-four hours after another faction of State executives of the party purpotedly loyal to governor Fayemi suspended Senator Babafemi Ojodu and nine others believed to be loyalists of the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with whom the governor is estranged.
Instructively, this scenario appears similar to the suspension of former National Chair of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by his ward Executives in Edo State, a development that was initially trivialised but which later became one of the grounds on which the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, which he chaired, was dissolved.
According to a statement released by the faction which called itself the authentic executives of EKiti APC on Friday, the governor was suspended due to “his numerous anti-party activities, especially his role in the recently concluded governorship election in Edo State which is contrary to the provisions of Article 21 (A) (ii) of the APC Constitution.”
The ‘Excos’ claimed that five days before the Edo Election, Gov Fayemi hosted PDP big wig in the person of Mr Femi Fani- Kayode in the Government House in Ado Ekiti and planned a coup against Edo APC.
Another allegation leveled against Governor Fayemi by the party was that he played a role in the gubernatorial election in Oyo State and supported the PDP candidate to defeat the APC candidate.
In what appeared like a reprisal, the group which is loyal to Sen. Babafemi Ojudu said it also suspended the State APC Executive led by its Chairman, Paul Omotoso, for being allegedly brought into office by Fayemi via illegal means.
The suspension of Fayemi and the State APC exco was communicated in a statement titled, “Gov. Kayode Fayemi and his Anti-party Activities’ made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti.
The statement was signed by Sen. Tony Adeniyi, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, Sen. Dayo Adeyeye, Bimbo Daramola and Robinson Ajiboye.
Others are, Oyetunji Ojo, Dr Adewale Omirin, former Speaker Ekiti House of Assembly, and Femi Adeleye, all former lawmakers.
The factional group, however, elected a former National Assembly member, Sen. Tony Adeniyi, as the Acting Chairman of the SEC pending when a validly-elected body would be put in place.
The allegations against governor Fayemi included the fact that:
“Fayemi manipulated the congress that brought Omotoso and members of the State Working Committee into their respective offices.
“Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti is hereby suspended from the Party in view of his numerous anti-Party activities especially his role in the recently concluded governorship election in Edo which is contrary to the provisions of Article 21 (A) (ii) of the APC Constitution.
“Five days prior to the Edo elections Fayemi hosted Mr Femi Fani-Kayode in the government house in Ado-Ekiti. It was there they perfected the coup against our party in Edo State.
“That the Paul Omotosho-led faction of APC Executive in the State is hereby declared illegal and suspended from the Party for failure to emerge in accordance with the Constitution of the Party.”
According to analysts, this current crisis in Ekiti chapter of the APC was ignited by the perceived war of attrition between Fayemi and Tinubu over differences or clash of interests in 2023 presidential race.
Though the national secretariat of the party quickly stepped in by nullifying the purported suspensions from both warring factions, it is obvious that there is ongoing war in Ekiti APC as the State Executives of the party is balkanized into two factions, one loyal to the governor and another loyal to Asiwaju.
In a swift reaction to the crisis, the National Caretaker Committee of All Progressives Congress, APC, led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, has nullified the suspension of Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi.
The National Secretariat of APC said the purported and widely-reported “suspension” of the Fayemi as well as an earlier reported “indefinite suspension” of seven other party members in the state is a nullity as the Party’s National Secretariat is yet to receive communication from the state chapter on the purported “suspensions”.
Party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena in a statement said Governor Kayode Fayemi remains the leader of the party in Ekiti State, and that the Architect Paul Omotosho-chaired APC Ekiti State Working Committee is the authentic, valid and duly recognised Executive as no factions or divisions exist in the State Chapter.
Even though some political watchers argued that the national caretaker committee showed some level of bias in favour of Fayemi since they refused to react when the faction loyal to him suspended Ojodu and nine others a day earlier.
Others are of the opinion that that is however to be expected as it is natural that the governor would naturally enjoy the sympathy of his colleagues being the chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum. It is therefore not surprising that Buni-led committee were in support of Fayemi he was a critical part of the power bloc that midwifed the emergence of Buni committee.
Come to think of it, if the national secretariat had not stepped in to douse the tension, and if the action of the ‘excos’ in suspending the governor had succeded, what would have been the implications for the party?
Perhaps, it would have thrown the APC into another chaotic situation that may eventually snowball into a full blown crisis that might consume the party in its biggest stronghold of Southwest.
Worst still, what would have possibly be the implication of suspending a sitting governor, more so that Fayemi is not just a sitting governor, but the chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF?
Does the fact that the factional ‘excos’ that suspended Ekiti governor is believed to be loyal to former Lagos governor, Tinubu suggested that Asiwaju’s camp might have woken up from its reverie and decided to fight back after being smacked with its back to the ground by forces orchestrated by Fayemi on many occasions? Another begging question is why did the Tinubu camp left it so late?
Many are of the view that most of the embarrassing humiliatons Tinubu suffered outside wouldn’t have been possible if there were no accomplices within, and for this, all fingers point in the direction of Fayemi.
This is coming on the heel of yet another humiliating defeat to Asiwaju’s political interest in the just concluded Edo governorship election.
Tinubu, had in a viral video declared an open support for the candidate of APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu while condemning incumbent governor Godwin Obaseki of PDP.
Expectedly, the Lagos politician received a lot of knocks for the video and for his unwarranted involvement in Edo politics prompting the coining of the popular cliche ‘Edo no be Lagos’ meaning Edo is not Lagos. Worst still, he and his ally, Oshiomole lost and were left to lick their wounds.
Again, Fayemi’s hand was fingered as unconfirmed report has it that the Ekiti governor together with governors of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, Jigawa, Abubakar Badaru and Plateau, Solomon Lalong raised a whooping sum of N1.4bn for the successful campaign of Obaseki.
Many of the setbacks to Asiwaju’s political fortune orchestrated by Fayemi didn’t start today. It was believed, Fayemi was the one who led the gang up that executed the coup APC that resulted in the dissolution of the NWC chaired by Oshiomole, who is an ally of Tinubu. That was the beginning of removal and dismantling of Asiwaju’s structure in the APC. That, many believed was done to wittle down the influence of Asiwaju/Oshiomole and remove them from the political permutations ahead of 2023 election.
Retrosoectively however, the relationship between Tinubu and Fayemi started to deteriorate after President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated in 2015. The real issue was the decision of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed to bypass Dr Fayemi and nominate Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, as his choice ministerial nominee for Ekiti state to Muhammadu Buhari. Dr Fayemi saw that as a betrayal of their alliance, and joined forces to another camp within the southwest wing of APC to frustrate the nomination of Mr Falana, and nominate himself instead as ministerial nominee for Ekiti state. Fortunately, Fayemi’s camp became the camp that enjoyed more patronage from President Buhari, and he was subsequently appointed minister.
Both men also found themselves in opposing camps in 2016 during the APC gubernatorial primary election in the state. Before that election, Asiwaju Tinubu anointed Mr Segun Abraham as his preferred candidate for APC, but Kayode Fayemi camp preferred Chief Rotimi Akeredolu as the party’s candidate, and declared for showdown with Asiwaju Tinubu. At the conclusion of the primary election that was televised live, Chief Akeredolu, the candidate of Dr Fayemi, narrowly defeated Mr Segun Abraham, the anointed candidate of Asiwaju Tinubu.
Despite their working relationship between 2018 governorship election and 2019 general election, the two fell out again shortly after the election. The reason for their fallout is not known but many suspect that is connected to the politics of 2023 presidential election, where both men are said to be interested in the race. Some political pundits alleged that the battle for Ekiti state 2022 gubernatorial election might the reason behind the rivalry.
With this back and forth between two power forces in the Southwest, the implication on the 2023 permutations, according to analysts, is such that will affect the prospect of the Yorubas from unifiedly fielding a viable and formidable candidate to successfully contest the 2023 presidential election as there are fears that the northern bloc might take advantage of this disunity and rather pitch tent with the southeast to clinch the 2023 presidency.
Another fear is that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, might take advantage of these crises to outs the ruling party come 2023.
The attitude and body language of President Muhammadu Buhari is another course for worry for the APC as the President had at no time showed any form of serious concern for the sustainability of the futbeyond the party beyons his tenure. This has led many to predict the timely extinction of APC immediately after the tenure of Buhari.
With the opposition party PDP, waxing stronger by the day by clinching more States that were hitherto led by APC, it is high time the ruling party put its house in order and mend all broken fences if it were to put doubters wrong that it has the prospect to live beyond 2023.
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