The recent leadership squabbles in the National Assembly have again raised questions about the preparedness of the party to govern the country. Since the inauguration of the two chambers of the National Assembly on June 9 nothing has been achieved despite the fact that the lawmakers have been collecting their jumbo salaries and allowances seamlessly. The two chambers were compelled to adjourn to sort out the internal crisis in APC over the leadership of the two chambers.
Some members of the APC in the Senate and House of Representatives had connived with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to truncate the emergence of those handpicked or imposed by few leaders of APC. Few hours to the June 9 National Assembly election, PDP national leaders had endorsed and encouraged their members to vote for Dr. Bukola Saraki for the Senate President and Hon Yakubu Dogara as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Coincidentally, both Saraki and Dogara were former members of the PDP who defected to the APC less than one year to the general election. The struggle in the National Assembly revived the defunct New PDP, n-PDP which was the platform former aggrieved members of PDP used in defecting to the APC. It is also instructive that most of the APC members that snubbed APC national leaders directives on the leadership of the National Assembly were members of the new-PDP.
Not even the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the national leader of APC, could sway the rebellious APC Senators who quickly filled all the top offices before they resumed this Tuesday. The only face saving measure for APC came from the House of Representatives, where Dogara “tempered justice with mercy” and allowed Hon Femi Gbajabiala and others to emerge as directed in APC letter to the Speaker.
The recalcitrant APC members were emboldened to kick against national leaders of their party because of the unalloyed support they got from PDP. Prior to the Tuesday resumption of the federal lawmakers some die-hard APC senators had vowed that they will remove Dr. Saraki and his deputy, Chief Ike Ekweremadu. But they lost their voice when they entered the upper chamber. Rather than upstage Saraki and Ekweremadu, 82 Senators passed vote of confidence on them to the chagrin of APC national leaders.
With this development in the Senate and House of Representatives, there is very strong probability that Saraki and Dogara will continue to keep their plum positions till 2019 as only two-third members can remove them. With PDP and APC’s new-PDP lawmakers behind them it will be a tall order for anyone to contemplate upstaging them.
It is already being speculated in several quarters that a tsunami will soon hit the APC as the apparent strange bedfellows in APC will soon return to their natural denizens. Founding leaders of APC were warned after the merger of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP and fraction of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, not to open their doors to all comers. But they paid deaf ears to this admonition as they were too desperate to see the back of former President Goodluck Jonathan from the presidential villa. With no clear-cut ideology APC went into the elections with all manners of politicians. They won the war but are already losing the battle.
Already, there is war between some state chapters of the APC which is fallout of the leadership battle in Abuja. For instance, the Kwara and Lagos chapters of the party recently clashed over Saraki after the June 9 National Assembly leadership elections. While the Lagos chapter is fiercely loyal to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Kwara state chapter is controlled by the Senate President and the chapter members will dump APC enmass at the click of a finger by Saraki.
The Lagos chapter fired the first salvo after Tinubu’s plot to foist Senator Ahmed Lawan hit the rocks. Reacting to the emergence of Saraki the Lagos APC Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, condemned the election of Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Yakubu Dogara as House of Representatives Speaker, describing the actions of both men as “treacherous” and asking the APC to sanction them.
The Kwara APC did not take kindly the statement from Lagos APC and the State chapter of the party asked its Lagos chapter to caution its spokesperson. In a statement, Sulyman Buhari, the Publicity Secretary of the Kwara APC, asked the Lagos APC to re-orientate Joe Igbokwe on his responsibilities in order to halt further embarrassment that his divisive commentary magnets to Lagos APC.
According to Mr. Buhari, “this caution is unavoidable to arrest the dangerous trend whereby a spokesman continues to cause damage to the image of the same party he was elected to protect and promote.”
Although the Kwara APC spokesman stated that “what is expected of all APC members is to support the reconciliation efforts of Mr. President and desist from any activity or making comments that tend to ignite more confusion and crises,” he attacked Mr. Igbokwe’s loyalty and commitment to the party, stating that his activities suggest he “is a mole in the APC and/or doing the bidding of some elements outside the APC in order to destabilize the APC.”
“I wish to state without equivocation that no matter what Mr. Igbokwe says or his concerted efforts to twist history, he is not and can never be more APC than the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Honourable Speaker, Yakubu Dogara,” the Kwara APC Spokesman said.
The war is also within some state chapters of APC as those that consider themselves as the “founders and authentic members of APC” have been having running battle with those that later defected to the party, especially the new-PDP defectors.
In Bauchi state, the APC is in crisis and factionalized after they failed to unseat Governor Ibrahim Dankwanbo of the PDP. The party is currently divided into two factions with ex-governor Danjuma Goje leading a faction comprising of the party’s candidate for the April 11 governorship election, Inuwa Yahaya. The other faction is led by former deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and current Senator representing Gombe north, Bayero Nafada. The latter has the state party chairman, Magaji Doho, and some other executive members.
There have been suspensions and counter suspensions by the two APC factions in the state with the Goje group firing the first shot. Goje group had announced the suspension of the state chairman of the party, Doho, and 17 others including, Nafada, a former Minister, Murtala Aliyu, a House of Reps member, Khamisu Mailantarki, and Abubakar Aliyu. According to Umar Saifuddeen, a member of the state executive committee, who announced the suspension at press conference, the chairman and others were suspended for anti-party activities.
The Nafada group promptly responded by expelling Senator Danjuma Goje, from the party. Factional State chairman of the party, Magaji Doho, who announced Goje’s expulsion said the former Gombe governor was expelled with effect from July 1, 2015 for his engagement in anti-party activities.
Doho said, “Having gone through the rigours of campaigns and the 2015 general elections, some of our members, led by Senator Danjuma Goje, have decided to have parallel state executives of the party.
“Secondly, one of our senators representing Gombe-South, Danjuma Goje, is grossly involved in anti-party activities and we have, therefore, decided to expel him from the party from the first day of July, 2015, to instill discipline in our great party.”
“We have expelled Goje from the APC because of his activities, disloyalty and going contrary to the constitution of the party,” the party chairman said.
He further added that some members of the state executive council of the party that decided to support Goje by operating a parallel executive council were relieved of their positions but could remain as members of the party.
In Kano state chapter of APC, there is a suppressed cold war between supporters of former governor of the state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso that defected from PDP last year and core supporters of President Buhari that actually formed the party from the scratch before Kwankwaso supporters joined them. The defection of Kwankwaso to APC did not go down well with founding members of the party in the state, especially the decision of the national leadership of the party to hand over control of the party to Kwankwaso and members of his “Kwankwasiya” political family. Founding members of Kano APC are still licking their wounds after defectors got majority of the party’s ticket for the last general election.
Political pundits are of the view that the marriage of convenience within the APC will not stand the test of time as members of the party continued to keep their separate identities and refuse to be totally assimilated into the party.
According to Chief Chyna Iwuanyanwu, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the coming of APC was never a merger but a conspiracy.
“What they called merger, if they have truly merged, this fragmentation within the party of CPC tendency, new PDP and others which is manifesting now would not have been there.
“So there was a conspiracy and not a merger. If we merge, then the identities of the merging entities will diminish, but that is not the situation now. What we are seeing now, is a contention within APC, to show you that there was no merger. It will take some time before it settles.”
Many political observers are of the view that APC is not a political party but a platform for aggrieved conspirators and hate peddlers. Most of the members of the party are bonded not by ideology but common goal to cut short Jonathan’s dream of having a second term to complete his transformation agenda. With their common enemy out of the radar, the APC members have turned their guns against themselves and scrambling for who gets what. There is fear in several quarters that APC will not survive as an entity till the next general election unless the leaders of the party go back to the drawing board and reconcile the various conflicting interests in the party. The worry of majority of Nigerians is that the rumblings in APC will continue to be a source of unnecessary distractions to President Muhammadu Buhari and this may eventually have a domino effect on the ability of the new administration to deliver on its campaign promises.


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