Since Dr. Olubukola Saraki emerged as the Senate President on June 9 the Lagos and Kwara States chapters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have been engaged in an endless war of superiority. The leader of APC in Lagos and former governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had positioned one of his acolytes, Senator Femi Gbajabiamila, to ascend the Senate presidency but Dr. Saraki truncated that move with the support of his political soul mates in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Indeed, the PDP played a fast one on the APC prior to the National Assembly leadership election when APC leaders wanted to silence Saraki and impose Gbajabiamila as the Senate President. While the PDP was stealthily working behind the scene to pick a candidate that is acceptable to it, the opposition party sold a dummy to the APC that it has absolutely no interest in who emerges as the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
PDP came out with a shocker in the wee hours of June 9 when it announced through a press statement that it had endorsed Dr. Saraki for the Senate Presidency and Senator Ike Ekweremadu as his deputy.
When it dawned on APC that PDP had played a fast one on it, the party called a meeting for 10:00 a.m. when the National Assembly is supposed to be electing its leaders. The outcome of the ill-fated meeting and the leadership election are now history.
While APC was furious that Saraki defeated Lawan for the coveted seat, the party was scandalised that Saraki allowed Senator Ekweremadu from the opposition PDP to emerge as the Deputy Senate President.
The impact of the emergence of Saraki was a blow below the belt for the Lagos APC as that singular event demystified the godfather of Lagos politics and considerable weakened his hold on the party and the federal legislator. Tinubu was very swift in condemning the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as President of the Senate and vowed never to recognise him as such.
Tinubu’s words, “I will never recognise such a kangaroo arrangement that produced Bukola as the Senate President. Or how do you want me to recognise a man who deliberately defied his own party because of his personal interest? It is not done anywhere.
“Therefore, recognising Bukola as the Senate President after all he had done to our party today, having gone against the wish and pattern of our great party, honestly will amount to endorsing impunity, and which you should all know I will not”, Tinubu said.
He added, “For me to recognise Senator Bukola as the Senate President, he must show remorse for today’s action. He had earlier promised to defy the party and the deed has been done. You do not do that in politics.
“Personal interests must not override that of the party that beget you. It is a spoken and silent rule of the game, which all and sundry must abide by.
“I’m not God, but as far as this party is concerned, I’m a leader and I know what is good for the party at the appropriate time. Speaking now is not for the party, but for myself. I cannot recognise Bukola as the Senate President,” Tinubu maintained.
Lagos state chapter of APC followed this up by demanding for sanction against Saraki for “betraying” the party.
According to a statement by its publicity secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, the chapter said, “The purported election of Senator Saraki and Dogara as the Senate President and Speaker respectively is a clear transgression of both the tenets of democracy and party politics. At this early stage, the APC must come down strongly to mete out sanctions and punishments against treacherous members that perpetrated this ugly charade at this early stage of the party’s life and history.
“As a party and given the circumstances of our present politics, the APC stands no risk of being eroded by this treachery. Rather, we see the clear road to enforce discipline in the treacherous conduct of some members of the National Assembly.
“We see the need for the party to wield the big stick now to send a message that treachery will not profit those who might want to cash in on similar circumstances to spite the party and cash personal benefits in the end. It is certain that these betrayers are not members of the APC and we feel the party must weigh in now and discipline these betrayers.”
Kwara APC, did not take the assault on Saraki lightly and demanded that its Lagos chapter caution its spokesperson. Sulyman Buhari, the Publicity Secretary of the Kwara APC, asked the Lagos APC to “reorientate” 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.
“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 official said.
The rivalry between Lagos and Kwara APC was rekindled last this week with the assets declaration saga when, again Lagos APC went on the offensive again against Saraki saying he deserves the travails he is going through.
Reacting to the Saraki assets declaration saga Joe Igbokwe said on behalf of Lagos APC, “What Senator Saraki did is unheard of in the history of Party politics. Saraki made the world to believe that APC leaders are unprepared for the task of governing this country.
“Saraki’s inordinate ambition at once put a question mark on the capacity of leaders of APC to drive leadership in Nigeria. Saraki tried to prove to the whole world that he is smarter than all the leaders of APC put together. Saraki ignored 51 APC Senators who were in a meeting and went to do business with 49 PDP Senators, a party APC just defeated after 16 years bloody struggle. Senator Saraki bribed his way to the clerk of the Senate and cajoled him to proclaim a Senate that is incomplete. Saraki and Ekweremadu criminally changed the Senate rules in order to carry out the open robbery we saw in the hallowed Chamber of the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Saraki and his gang of 40 thieves devastated the master plan of our great party to choose the right people to serve as the Principal Officers in the National Assembly. Senator Saraki has remained adamant to disobey the Party’s directives and step aside rather he has continued to run from pillar to post to sustain a stolen seat. The lust for power, rapacious greed, avaricious tendency, and slave to public office have pushed Bukola Saraki to continue to work with PDP in order to weaken APC.
“APC does not want Bukola Saraki as the Senate President and neither does APC want Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President. Saraki has caused enough implosions within the party. He has brought public opprobrium to the party, he has slowed down the Party’s machinery from taking off smoothly, he has portrayed us as a weak party. Now is the time for him to go. Saraki has no choice than to go otherwise he will have himself to blame.
Again, if Bukola Saraki feels his hands are tightly glued to the exalted seat of the Senate Presidency and therefore cannot be removed, APC may be compelled to tear or cut his hands off, so that the National Assembly can move forward. No man is an island, and none can claim that he is the final word in APC,” he said.
Responding to the latest onslaught from Lagos the Kwara State chapter of the APC, in a statement by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, described the Lagos APC Spokesman, Joe Igbokwe as an impersonator on a mission to cause confusion within the APC family in the country.
Alhaji Sulyman Buhari said, “The attention of the APC in Kwara State has been drawn to a recent press statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of the Lagos State chapter of our party, Joe Igbokwe, wherein he claimed ‘APC does not want Bukola Saraki as the Senate President’, made litany of disjointed and false views and other unacceptable comments that are too awful to be quoted.”
“‎We wish to strongly condemn the statement as unacceptable and a clear act of impersonation. It should also be noted that Mr Igbokwe’s statement does not represent the views of members of our party across the country. What Mr Igbokwe has exhibited is a clear act of impersonation. Is he the Chairman or National Publicity Secretary of our party?
“For anyone who was tempted to doubt our claim that the case against the Senate President is not an anti-corruption driven case but a politically-motivated prosecution aimed at undermining the person and the office of the Senate President, it is now clearer. Mr Igbokwe’s recent vituperation against the person and the office of the Senate President is part of the script designed by desperate politicians to pull down the Senate President at all costs.
“Again, we wish to unequivocally and categorically condemn, reject and dismiss the call for the resignation of Senate President Bukola Saraki by sponsored faceless groups and bought souls as out of place and politically-sponsored.
“Kwara APC also reiterates that with the collective resolve of Nigerians for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria with utmost regard for principles of separation of powers and the independence of the legislature coupled with the uprightness of the judicial system, this satanic plot against the Senate President is doomed to fail,” the Kwara APC statement read.
As the war of words between Lagos and Kwara APC, political pundits are of the view that the two chapters of the ruling party are only compounding the rift with the party. The APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had serially accused the PDP of distracting President Muhammadu Buhari with their incessant press statement, but he was silent on the impact of the war between two chapters of the party on the Buhari’s inability to hit the ground running. Lai Mohammed, though an indigene of Kwara state, is known to be on the side of his political godfather in Lagos and this explains why he has not called for truce.
APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun also appears to be helpless in resolving the rift between two chapters of the party. His failure to rein in warring members of his party may be the genesis of the disintegration of the party on his watch. PDP is watching the entire drama from the sideline hoping to harvest from the fallout if the APC leaders allow the rift to persist.
As the APC chieftains continue to wash their dirty underwear in public, the PDP is being armed with ammunition to hit the party at the appropriate time. For instance, Lagos APC has now openly admitted that some of their own members are also corrupt, all in their desperation to rubbish their fellow party members.
Prior to now APC had given impression that all the corrupt politicians are under the PDP umbrella. If only the APC monitors the reactions of Nigerians in the social media, they will realise what incurable damage they are doing to their own party with their hate messages.
The honeymoon between Nigerians and APC may be over sooner over its complete failure to manage its internal crisis.

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