Why ordinary APC supporters are hopeful of early resolution of the crisis bogging the party down, the leaders seem not be ready to end what can be rightly described as an internecine feud threatening the electoral victory of the party writes EMMA ALOZIE
To outsiders, the crisis the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC is going through is normal and will soon come to pass, at least that is the impression some of the leaders are creating. However, this scenario is far from the reality on ground. The crisis rocking the party is far more serious and deeper than any outsider can see through.
But the most worrisome thing to all APC supporters and sympathisers is that while the party is burning, many of the leaders seem not to be doing anything to put out the fire. It is more of a case of leaders of the party digging while already in a hole. Conventional wisdom demands that one stops digging once in a hole, but the conducts and comments of many APC leaders have shown that the party leaders are busy digging when they already in a hole.
While many of the party’s sympathizers and supporters are praying for early resolution of the debilitating crisis, the contending forces are not making any appreciable efforts to see to the end of the crisis and save the party from an implosion long foretold.
The war of words among the party leaders has become worrisome and has equally opened the flank of the party to more crises. Recently, former governor of Osun state and the ex-interim national chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande accused some northern elite, corrupt businessmen and subsidy ‘thieves’ as being behind the rebellion in the National Assembly.
He went further to say that the north seems to have ganged up against the Yoruba and doubted the ability of the party win elections in 2019. According to Chief Akande, “Numerous among those calling themselves businessmen in Nigeria are like leaches, sucking from the nation’s blood largely through various governments and particularly through the Nigerian Federal Government. While all these schisms were going on in the APC, those who were jittery of Buhari’s constant threat of anti-corruption’s battle began to encourage and finance rebellions against the APC democratic positions which led to the emergence of Senator Saraki as the candidate of the PDP tendencies inside and outside APC.
“Before the party knew it, the process had been hijacked by polluted interests who saw the inordinate contests as a loop-hole for stifling APC governments’ efforts in its desire to fight corruption.
“Most Northern elite, the Nigerian oil subsidy barons and other business cartels, who never liked Buhari’s anti-corruption political stance, are quickly backing-up the rebellion against APC with strong support. While other position seekers are waiting in the wings until Buhari’s ministers are announced, a large section of the South West see the rebellion as a conspiracy of the North against the Yoruba.
“What began as political patronages to be shared into APC membership-spreads among ethnic zones, religious faiths and political rankings and experiences have now become so complicated that the sharing has to be done by and among PDP leadership together with cohorts of former new-PDP affiliations in the APC, by and among gangs of past anti-Buhari’s Presidency, and certain APC legislators and party members who dance round the crisis arena to pick some crumbs.
“Now that the whole conspiracy has blown open, it is doubtful if the present institutions of party leadership can muster the required capacity to arrest the drift. It is my opinion that President Buhari, and the APC governors should now see APC as a wrecking platform that may not be strong enough again to carry them to political victory in 2019 and they should quickly begin a joint damage control effort to reconstruct the party in its claim to bring about the promised change before the party’s shortcomings begin to aggravate the challenges of governance in their hands.”
However, in a swift reaction to the salvo fired by Chief Akande, another chieftain of the party who is loyal to Saraki, Alhaji Kawu Baraje described Akande as a liar and a hypocrite.
“I do not know where Chief Akande and his cohorts are getting this unsubstantiated information they are circulating. We challenge them to provide proof and let Nigerians make their judgment.
“Akande and co believe that they have exclusive right to determine who occupies what position in today’s Nigeria and whoever tries to challenge their position must be subjected to savage attack in the media. That tactic is definitely undemocratic.
“I have known Chief Akande to be an honest man. I got the shock of my life when he alleged that I had a meeting in my house with ‘some old and new PDP members with a view to hijacking the National Assembly’ through the aspiration of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President.
“I have been quiet as a leader so as to not to be seen as taking sides because of my closeness to Dr. Saraki, else people will read meaning into it.
“Akande has been playing a role which I admire. He will recall that he met some actors, with a governor from the North-West and a leader of the party from the South-West, where the leader from the South-West was cautioned to be reasonable in this crisis.
“He (Akande) supported the view of the governor from the North-West that the particular leader from the South-West should be admonished for his action. It is therefore surprising that Akande is now being economical with the truth and painting a picture that exists only in his imagination,” Baraje fired back.
The crisis in the party is spiraling out of hand and Nigerians are worried it may affect the delivery of the lofty campaign promises made by the party in the build to the 2015 general elections. Chief Audu Ogbe, a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and now a chieftain of the APC has squarely blamed the crisis on lack of tact on the leaders of the party and the inability of the party to do the needful, especially in terms of zoning principal offices.
“We have our constitution; we have a certain understanding among ourselves about what we should do and shouldn’t do. I think there are some managerial lapses somewhere. Some mistakes have been made…. This whole business of no zoning is a political fallacy that can’t work in Nigeria. The democratic system of Nigeria as it is today cannot function without certain sensitivity to the interests of sections of the society. We are Africans; we are very sentimental people and highly emotional.
“When it suits us, we say zoning is nonsense, let’s get the best. Is it true? You have to zone. Are you going to have a President in Nigeria some day from the South-West, Vice President South-West, Senate President South West and Nigerians will accept it? Or the North brings President, Vice President, Speaker, Majority Leader and people will accept it? You can’t do that. Or the East produces President, Vice President…? It’s not feasible. The point is that something got a little weak within the party structure that allowed this situation to come about and we should learn from it,” Ogbe said.
He also confirmed what has substantially gone on as rumour that the struggle within the party is between Tinubu’s loyalists on one hand and Atiku’s loyalists on the other hand. “There may be some credence to that but if we had a better structure and a better national vision these struggles will pale into insignificance. We’ve always had this country torn apart by these vested little individual interests diminishing the national interest. Where would any of us be if this Nigeria wasn’t functioning? That’s the big question,” he said.
Who then can tell the party leaders to sheath their sword and bury the hatchet in order to save the soul of the party?