APC: All Eyes on Bisi Akande’s Committee

Bisi Akande

The Chief Bisi Akande-led APC Reconciliation Committee has commenced work on how to put the party back together again, but certain critical issues will determine the success or failure of its mission, writes Chuks Okocha

Following the various crises rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the national leadership of the party, late last year, set up a reconciliation committee to resolve some of the issues aggravating the malcontents.

There are two main issues in the APC crisis and they are Edo state and States. The reasons for this are not far-fetched. It is simply the forthcoming governorship elections in the two states later in the year. The crisis in Edo State is much more pronounced, because the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole is from the state and is an interested person.

The first committee that was dissolved had 10 members and was headed by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
The main term of reference assigned to the committee was to address and resolve the crises within the party and bring about unity ahead of the 2023 general elections. But that didn’t quite work out hence the setting up of another committee.

According to the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the committee has 10 members and is headed by the president of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan. He said the move was sequel to the resolution of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

Other members of the committee are Chief Bisi Akande (vice-chairman); deputy speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase; Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura; Senator Kashim Shettima; Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; Alhaji Nasiru Aliko Koki; Senator Khairat Gwadabe-Abdulrazak; Senator Binta Garba and Senator John Enoh (secretary).

But the Lawan did not last following protest from some members of the party from Edo State against the senate president and in response to their prayer, the party dropped Laawan and a member of the reconciliation committee. He was however replaced by Akande in the reconstituted committee.

The terms of reference were still the same. It is to address the grievances of party members across the country and resolve existing conflicts, all with a view to fostering oneness, strengthen the party for better governance and ensure unity of purpose within the party.

Announcing Akande’s committee, the APC spokesperson said, “President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have reviewed the membership of the party’s National Reconciliation Committee,” adding that the 12-member committee would be chaired by Akande, while Senator John Enoh would serve as the Secretary.

Other members are Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello; Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola; Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Wase; Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura; Senator Kashim Shettima; Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor; Alhaji Nasiru Aliko Koki; Senator Khairat Gwadabe-Abdulrazak and Senator Binta Garba.

The committee has so far kicked off with its reconciliation duties, by meeting last week to strategise on how to execute its mandate.

According to Enoh, “The national reconciliation committee has received about 150 memoranda… After that meeting, I believe we are going to have a chance to roll out what and how we are going to go about the work.”

As the committee was preparing to get to work, one of the factions in the crisis in Edo State opened a factional office. This, to many, was an obstacle to the reconciliations. Even the secretary noted that the opening of a factional secretariat of the party in Edo has made the job of the committee more difficult.

“If there is anybody or any group of people that opened up another secretariat and all that, in the meantime, it just brings to greater focus the great need for the work of the committee; that is what I can say. It makes the work of the committee more and more imperative.”

Asked which of the factions or state committee that his committee was going to begin its reconciliatory moves with, Enoh said, “That is what I am telling you. I said we are having a meeting on the 24th and all these issues are likely to be attended to at that meeting. We haven’t set out any procedure yet. The much we’ve done was to call for memoranda from the public.”

But the reconciliation committee has the force of the APC governors’ forum to contend with. Already, it is being said that the governors elected on the platform of the party are asking that both the Edo governor and his Ondo State counterpart be given the right of first refusal to contest in the elections coming up later in the year. How the Akande committee will handle this is yet to be determined.

Also, one of the terms of reconciliations in the crisis was that Oshiomhole should reconcile with the Edo governor, Godwin Obaseki. How this would be resolved is yet to be seen also.

This is because the forces lined up against him have not sheathed their swords yet. Also, Oshiomhole has not helped himself in this quagmire that he finds himself. What will he do to the ambitions of Pastor Ize Iyamu, who defected from his party, the PDP to APC?

What is the future of the ongoing reconciliations? But the future of the APC is in perilous hands and can only be resolved in the interest of the incumbent governor, Obaseki, when he is given a second term ticket.
How possible is that? Will Ize-Iyamu and his supporters give up without a fight? This battle for APC governorship ticket will determine whether the national chairman has survived.

Though the governors of the party were not in unison to remove Oshiomhole, certainly they will not support him to stop Obaseki from contesting for a second term. This is because the broom they support now could as well be used to sweep some of them out during their own days of trial with a political godfather.

The governors are still there. They operate like a cult. Will they allow one of their own to be humiliated out of office in Edo state? What would become the terms of reconciliations?

Although one of the conditions given to Oshiomhole is to reconcile with the governor, Obaseki, what is not clear is how that would be done. Some of his associates, like Ize-Iyamu have crossed the line of no return.

It was gathered that the embattled national chairman might not be averse to the reconciliation, but what would happen to his hardline supporters? What becomes of their political future? This will be a very hard nut for Oshiomhole and it will form part of his deciding points, going forward.

The big question, therefore, is: will Oshiomhole sacrifice them for his political interest or would he go down with them? What will happen to them? The jury is still out.