Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that the fiasco that have the lot of the All Progressives Congress in recent times demands a forthright introspection to avoid a repeat of history.
One of the leading chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Prince Tonye Princewill has aligned himself with those who support that the NEC of the party should go ahead with its scheduled meeting today. An unrepentant ally of the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi in the current political dispensation, Princewill said opposition to the NEC was pointless. He explained, “Only those who are afraid of a discussion will be afraid of the convening of the NEC. As a victim of court rulings, it surprises me how quickly politicians run to the courts, but I guess if you don’t go, others will, so it’s best to go first. All those who want a discussion to take place are saying is, let the NEC meet, discuss the way forward and put the party in line for a mini-convention, where the proper things are done the proper way.”
His optimism may be against a backdrop of difficulties, going back to his home state, Rivers, where the APC continues to swim in troubled waters. There is hardly any state in the entire South-south region that APC’s once robust bunch of broom is not becoming thin by the day, from self-inflicted damage. “I am quite disappointed with the performance of our South-south zone,” he began before giving depth to an answer that can be easily misunderstood. “To be honest, the inability of our leadership to bring the benefits of democracy to our people. If it is not one fight, it’s another.
A struggle for supremacy, a competition for Villa (Presidential) access or key leaders getting in each other’s way. As a result of this, we have suffered a mixture of intra and inter-state disharmony which has left us in one case, without candidates in a whole state, in another – losing a governor-elect; while in Edo state, a National Chairman and a Governor are in open warfare. This alone calls for drastic change at the highest level and for those of us that know who did what and when, the buck stops at the table of the suspended National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. For us to make progress, he has to step aside. Even then, the leaders have to sit down and get their act together. Enough-is-enough. We have a President who can move mountains for us if we sing from the same hymn sheet, but instead we are self-isolating like coronavirus suspects. The rank and file are not happy with the leadership and if it continues like this, they will make life very uncomfortable.”
Since the imminent struggle for the soul of the APC is about those who have queued up behind Oshiomhole and those on the opposing side, Princewill is likely to be on the side of Amaechi, who many see as an anti-Oshiomhole campaigner. While not yielding any ground, he put the relationship between Amaechi and Oshiomhole in perspective. “I wish he knew how much Amaechi has defended him. From the days of Magnus Abe to now, Amaechi has been telling us that he trusts Oshiomhole and that if he has any flaw, being a puppet to another man’s negative agenda is not one of them.”
While he did not say so unambiguously, there was a clear hint from Princewill that Amaechi may be more circumspect in his dealings with Oshiomhole, at the moment. “When people told him Magnus was working with Oshiomhole, he said they were wrong, when they told him Oshiomhole was working with Wike, he told them to relax. That’s how much he tries to stay away now from the politics; especially in the South-south. His influence became a threat to his fellow South-south leaders, so he decided to focus on his ministry and mind his business. Look at the NDDC, the Amnesty Programme and even the issue of National Chairman, he has no interest; until recently when Oshiomhole tried to replace Giadom. Amaechi has learnt that you can struggle to place people somewhere today and those same people will deny you tomorrow, so why make unnecessary enemies? Just live and let live. It’s the rank and file that are not happy.”
Princewill hopes the NEC of the APC will go ahead with its meeting today. For him, it is the only panacea to halt the current slide of the party. “I still feel, we can get beyond this if all sides accept that the status quo won’t work and agree to make changes that reasonable minds can live with, in order to avoid the emergence of a Third Force.”
Like many members of the party, Princewill hopes that President Muhammadu Buhari can remove his infamous toga of aloofness and save the party from disintegration. “Only one person can restore order. If he doesn’t, it will overflow into governance,” he said. By not meddling into the affairs of the party, Buhari may be perceived as weak or selfish by some, but Princewill thinks the President is a victim of his training. He described him as a man who is “a product of a time when power was absolute, so he knows the implications of using it too freely. He is also an extreme democrat.”
For the obvious debacle that have been the lot of the APC in recent times. Princewill thinks the party should look inwards to avoid a repeat of history. The type that happened in Rivers, Bayelsa and Zamfara states. “Edo state is already an APC state, so penetration there is already a concluded affair. What is of concern to us now is returning Obaseki, but we can’t do it if his party is fighting him.”
We have suffered a mixture of intra and inter-state disharmony which has left us in one case, without candidates in a whole state, in another – losing a governor-elect; while in Edo state, a National Chairman and a Governor are in open warfare. This alone calls for drastic change at the highest level and for those of us that know who did what and when, the buck stops at the table of the suspended National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. For us to make progress, he has to step aside. Even then, the leaders have to sit down and get their act together. Enough-is-enough. We have a President who can move mountains for us if we sing from the same hymn sheet, but instead we are self-isolating like coronavirus suspects