Governors of the All Progressives Congress met recently and admitted their party was on the verge of collapse. But they might have admitted late, writes Chuks Okocha
The All Progressives Congress (APC) is behaving like Emperor Nero, who was feasting while Rome was on fire. The party is embroiled in many crises and it kept denying and acting as though all was well. It only took the state chairmen of the party and recently, the governors elected on the platform of the party to know that APC was riddled with crisis.
The most pronounced crisis is the fight between the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki, over who controls the Edo state House of Assembly. The fight is over the next governorship election in the state. Obaseki is seeking a second term in office, while the body language of the National Chairman seems to want to stop him.
Rivers State is also not left out as two chieftains of the party, Senator Magnus Abe and the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi are daggers drawn in battle over, who controls the party executive in the state.
This fight had already cost APC the governorship election in the just concluded general election in the country. Yet, the war between two of the chieftains is not yet over. The party is heading to another fight as state congresses in the state draw nearer. Abe has gone to court to challenge coming state congress.
Closely related to the Rivers crisis is the situation in Zamfara State. It was this crisis between the former governor, Andullaziz Yari and the leadership of APC. This caused the ruling party all elective offices as the Supreme Court voided all elections in the state, because the state executive of the party was not properly constituted.
Then come the big masquerades from the states. The APC states’ chairmen are currently threatening a showdown with the national leadership of the party over recent appointments at the federal and state levels. They claimed monkeys could not work for baboons to ‘chop’.
It is already in the news that the state chairmen were becoming frustrated over the failure of the leadership of the party to reward loyal party members with appointments. Thus, the party chairmen and the governors had warned that the internal crisis in the APC has the capacity to destroy the party and the political process.
The states chairmen had earlier given a 10-day ultimatum to the National Working Committee of the party under the leadership of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. Some of the grievances of the chairmen include the failure to secure appointments for party loyalists and fill vacant leadership seats in the party.
The office of the National Secretary had become vacant following the swearing-in of the last occupant, Mai Mala Buni, as Governor of Yobe State. Also, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, was recently appointed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The APC chairmen claimed that they were being treated as outsiders in the party they toiled day and night to lead to success during the last general election while those who worked against the party were being rewarded. The ultimatum has expired without the chairmen getting any concrete response from the party national leadership.
One of the aggrieved chairman said the state chairmen were angry, because their concerns had not been addressed despite the letter to the national leadership.
“It is unfortunate our efforts are not being recognised by the party we have all laboured for while those that did nothing were getting rewarded, because of their closeness to some powerful forces in government. There is a limit to everything, because we are fast losing grip of our members at states, who feel the party is not carrying them along.”
Another APC state chairman from the north reportedly said, “The situation is getting critical and our members are becoming disenchanted and losing faith in us for something that it is not our fault. We don’t know what to tell them again, because it is getting to a stage they can no longer understand the direction of the party.”
Chairman of APC chairmen’s forum, Dr Ben Nwoye, who is also the chairman of PDP in Enugu State, told newsmen that they were not stopping at anything to get their demands attended to.
Nwoye said: “There is no response yet, but when it is time you will hear from us. You will hear from the party faithful; those who believed they worked hard for the party and have been left behind and out of the system while those who worked against the government and the party have been rewarded.
“You will hear from those who participated in putting the government in place in various states and have been abandoned,” Nwoye said, adding that the state chairmen would meet in the next few days to review the development.
Continuing, he said, “The chairmen are speaking the minds of the people, those who sacrificed, worked hard and promoted the cause of the party but have been left behind.
“We are speaking the minds of the contestants, who have promoted the image of the party and have been neglected. The minds of the people, who nurtured the party in the non-APC states but have been left behind while the PDP people are rewarded.”
The APC National Vice Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Eta, who confirmed the grievances of the state chairmen, said the concerns raised by the party leaders at the state level were being looked into.
Apart from the grievances of the state chairmen, there is also the issue of Senator Lawal Shuaibu, and the letter he wrote to the party. There is also the case of our National Vice-Chairman (North-West), Inuwa Abdulkadir, who has gone to court.
There is crisis in Kasina State. This crisis is part of what led to split judgment in the governorship election tribunal. A son of one the chieftains of APC is leading the onslaught against the governor.
A source said one of the children of Isa Funtua is leading the campaign against Governor Aminu Masari in Katsina State. He is challenging Masari’s educational qualifications, thus funding the anti governor’s sentiments in the state.
The nail was eventually hit on the head when members of the APC Governors’ forum during a courtesy call on the leadership of the 9th National Assembly in Abuja on last week lamented the lack of cooperation between elected members of the executive arm of government and the legislature.
Details of the crisis rocking the party became more topical, when Governor Atiku Bagudu, of Kebbi State, who is also the chairman of APC Governors’ Forum, met with the leadership of National Assembly, led by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Bagudu told Lawan and Gbajabiamila that they were at the National Assembly to present the report of the forum’s sub-committee on Legislative Matters, chaired by the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari. But inside details of the meeting showed that they came to complain of the crisis in the party.
Masari, who addressed the press after their meeting, complained of lack and absence of coordination between Executive and legislative arms of governor, though both of them are controlled by APC.
According to Masari, “The absence of coordination (between the executive and the legislature) has produced crisis of trust, which if care is not taken could destroy our party and the political process.
“So as leaders, we need to make amends especially in the area of management of political relations among all the party stakeholders. We need not remind ourselves of what happened between 2015 and 2019.
“The Progressive Governors Forum has a standing subcommittee on legislative matters that started in the last Assembly. Unfortunately, no success came out for obvious reasons.
“So we thought that we should contact you (National Assembly) early enough so that we put machinery in motion in making sure that this time round, we are on the same page, that is, the Progressive Governors’ Forum and the National Assembly.
“In doing so, we want to use this opportunity to address some fundamental issues that do not only affect the APC as a political party but the whole nation. We have itemised some areas, which we want to discuss for the purpose of this courtesy call. The details will come when your subcommittee and our subcommittee meet and discuss in detail”.
This has come to show how APC has been pretending like Nero that all was well, despite the fact that the party is gradually inching towards implosion. When the PDP was in power, despite all the crises, the presidency was able to control all the forces. So, it is worrisome that APC is in such a crisis, when President Muhammadu Buhari is still in power.
Pundits are asking, what will happen to the ruling party when the nation moves closer to 2023? Dr. Ezekiel Ezeama said, “It would be a fight to the finish.” The basic question, therefore is, can the APC survive the coming implosion?
Former Imo State governor, Senator Rocha’s Okorocha had already predicted that the party might not survive its present crisis and that it will be destroyed by 2023. How true could this be is a question, whose answer is in the belly of time.