The crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC has continued unabated despite assurances by the party that it would soon overcome it. The crisis has not only pitched members against each other, but also gradually derailing the vision of the party. Dozie Emmanuel looks at how the crisis has affected the party thus far and why the President and leader of the party should intervene
The crisis currently bedeviling the APC appears to have no end in sight. Sharing of leadership and principal positions in the National Assembly seems to have gotten the better side of the party that promised Nigerians so much change.
Sequel to this crisis situation, the party has found itself in recent times, President Muhammadu Buhari, last Friday, addressed members of the National Executive Committee, NEC of the party in Abuja and urged its leaders to quickly resolve the internal crisis within the party. He said they must avoid disappointing Nigerians, stressing that having won the battle of the last general elections, the APC now runs the risk of losing the war for party unity and internal cohesion. He, however, affirmed his belief in the supremacy of the APC’s change pact with Nigerians over the personal ambitions of its members.
“As human beings, we are not perfect, but let us do our best to eventually win this war so that we can get on with the urgent task of delivering on our electoral promises to the nation,” Buhari stated.
The meeting, earlier scheduled to hold last Tuesday, was shifted to Friday to allow its members to further consult and calm frayed nerves. Before the NEC meeting, President Muhammadu Buhari had met with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; APC’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the Nasarawa State governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, at his private residence in Abuja. This is because some of the party leaders were still aggrieved over the outcome of the National Assembly leadership elections.
Recall that before the National Assembly was inaugurated on June 9, some senators and Houser of Reps members were already angling and jostling for one position or the other. Even when the party finally picked its preferred candidates, these other candidates did not relent. They told who cared to listen that according to their rules; lawmakers in both chambers sit and elect their leaders without any interference.
Unfortunately, the crisis in the party, rather than abating keeps exacerbating. Ranking party members have also indulged in the blame game syndrome, attacking and pointing accusing fingers to one another as the cause of the crisis. Although the party’s spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has come out to say that they would come out of the crisis better and stronger, that is yet to be seen as the crisis gradually escalates.
Recently, the former APC Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, alleged that oil barons, who never liked President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption stance, sponsored the election of the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara respectively in a bid to stifle the new government. Akande also alleged that some splinter groups within the APC were aligning with old and new Peoples Democratic Party forces to relaunch a platform for the 2019 polls.
According to him, “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, large sections 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.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has challenged the Chief Akande to name the oil barons he alleged sponsored his election on June 9.
Reacting to the allegation, the Speaker described the allegations as baseless and lacking in substance and merit. In a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, Dogara said he was disappointed on Akande’s false allegation. He noted that he expected him to play his fatherly role at a period of disputes within the APC’s family by seeking ways to reconcile the factions rather than attacking his person.
Dogara maintained that the allegations only existed in Akande’s imagination and stressed that he won his election based on the support of his colleagues, his competence and capacity to preside over the House as the Speaker. He recalled that the first investigative motion passed by the House after his election was to probe the alleged crude oil swap contracts awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
He noted that it did not make sense for him to back the probe of the same oil sector stakeholders Akande alleged to have sponsored his election.
“It is baseless and lacking in substance and merit and can best be described as figment of Chief Akande’s imagination. I challenge Chief Akande to name the so-called oil barons whom he alleged sponsored my election. In case Chief Akande does not know, the first investigative motion adopted by the 8th House of Representatives under my leadership was to investigate the allegation of fraud in the oil-swap contract awarded by the NNPC.
“A resolution for investigation into the allegation was passed to constitute an ad-hoc committee to investigate the NNPC, as well as its subsidiary, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company over the swap contracts.
“How then can the House under my leadership order investigation into activities of those who allegedly sponsored my election?
“I have on different occasions reiterated my resolve to compliment President Buhari’s anti-corruption stance and I insisted that the present crop of leaders don’t have any excuse to give to Nigerians on the change promised them before and during the election that brought APC into power,” Dogara reiterated.
Therefore, as the President and leader of the party, it is high time Buhari intervened in the crisis rocking the party. He should prevail on the warring parties and see how he, along with other party leaders, can resolve the crisis amicably.
Political analysts are of the view that for the party to make any meaningful progress and bring about the much-needed change in the near future, it must first resolve its internal crisis and give all members sense of belonging.
Currently, the integrity of the party is not only at stake, but also members as well. This is the more reason the President and other party leaders should take a firm, but resolute decision on how it can get out of this current political quagmire it has found itself.