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Challenges Ahead of Adamu-led APC Leadership

Challenges Ahead of  Adamu-led APC Leadership


As the new National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, settles down for his huge tasks, his capacity to steer the affairs of a party with many entrenched and conflicting interests, will be tested before and during the party primaries, Iyobosa Uwugiaren writes

Against all hash and rash predictions by some political observers  about the national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party elected its national officers recently after a protracted delay.

The result of the murky process that led to the convention reflected President Muhammadu  Buhari’s earlier submission that his party would disappoint the opposition parties, which have predicted that the ruling party will be enmeshed in serious crisis after its national convention.

Glorifying those behind the success of the convention, the presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said that the product of the convention was a victory for Buhari who had ensured ‘’unity across all party positions, as well as a victory for Nigerians and the electorate’’ who can now be assured of a smooth succession to new leadership in 2023.

Shehu explained that the convention’s outcome demystified “fake news” of division in the party when the hard reality of unity, cohesion, and indeed personal warmth between members of the party’s leaders – incoming and outgoing – was evident for all to see.

“Of course, the blame for this mind-set ought rightly to go to the opposition who in all these years had done the work to only divide the country, leading to all manner of separatist agitations.

“But this is not the wish, nor is it in the character of the citizens, as was clear for everyone to see at the Eagle Square’’, the presidential spokesman said.

He argued that when opposition’s ‘’fake news of disunity’’ was undone by the facts, some in the opposition could not help themselves but take to the newspapers and the airwaves to find another way to shore up their reputations; that some of the APC’s new leadership were once in the opposition.

Shehu asked, “Do the Scriptures not teach us of the virtue of sinners who repent and change their ways? What the scriptures say less is of sinners who repent, change their tune, and then choose to re-sin in full public view by returning to their former ways.

“Given that most important leaders of the opposition PDP first left the party before they returned to it, we might expect the media to ensure criticism of them is damning and absolute. It is incredulous that anyone would consider them trustworthy or acceptable candidates for any public office.’’

Buhari, who congratulated the Adamu-led 78-member National Executive Committee of the APC that emerged at the convention in Abuja, said that the unity of members put on display, puts the party on a firmer footing for victory in next year general elections.

“The APC Convention sets the scene for an APC victory in the presidential and general elections next year. It is a victory over naysayers, who believed the party was divided but are now disappointed,” President Buhari was quoted to have said in a statement by Shehu.

However, amidst celebration and self-praising by Buhari and other leaders of the party, political analysts have continued to postulate that the ruling party’s convention – where majority of the party members were denied the rights to elect their officials, hugely negated the principles of ‘’participatory democracy’’ – in which party members are provided power to make political decisions.

The argument is that the arbitrary sole decision of the president and a few governors throughout the process – in determining who gets what at the national convention, lacked legitimacy in any democratic space.

Indeed, knowledgeable political scientists have consistently argued that the temperament of any political party is that the majority carries the vote. This allows others to make input; and gives room for internal democracy. And the sound argument is that leaving the definitive decision concerning the affairs of the ruling party in the hands of the president and a few governors, gives a precarious sign that the APC, after all, does not care about about democracy.

The choice of the APC’s national officers at the last national convention was through consensus decided solely by President Buhari and the state governors elected on the platform of the ruling party.

Indeed, many aspirants, who picked forms to contest various positions spent their hard-earned resources and visited many states during their campaigns, were eventually forced, intimidated and blackmailed to set down for the ‘’unity list’’ – containing favoured candidates. And at the end of the exercise, the preferred candidates were announced as winners of the ‘’election,’’ with pockets of protest by the aggrieved aspirants.

However, with the national convention now over, many party loyalists believe that the stage is now set for the APC primaries later in the year, when the party’s new flag bearers will emerge.

‘’Now that the national convention has been concluded and a new party executives are in place, our focus is now on the task of putting up a unified and formidable structure ahead of the 2023 election.

 “We believe that this has to be the first step in ensuring that our party counters the threat posed by the PDP and continue our winning streak at the centre, which began in 2015’’, Buhari recently tasked the newly elected executives.

 But analysts and political observers have suggested that the outcome of the convention is a sign of what is to come during the presidential primaries. In other words, the prediction is that the presidential flagbearer will also be picked through consensus , a decision that will, again, be left in the hands of a few leaders of the party.  

The newly elected National Chairman of the APC, Senator Adamu, recently received his staff of office from the outgoing Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja, an indication that the party may have settled down for the challenges ahead of the 2023 general election.

Buni, in his handing over speech, commended APC’s new national and zonal executives as well as Buhari, who, according to him, provided the needed leadership and atmosphere for a ‘’rancour-free convention.’’

The governor of Yobe State, who had come under harsh criticism in the weeks before the convention, explained how his efforts in the last few months helped to reposition the party. He acknowledged there were still a lot to do to consolidate on the success recorded by the party under him.

“First, to sustain the gains and coming at a time when this party will soon start its nomination process, obviously the tasks before you are enormous.

“We have done our best from the registration, to the congresses, the ward, local government, state and up to the convention.  But that cannot be without problems here and there. By and large, we have succeeded’’,  Buni stated.

He admonished that a bigger and larger political party like APC  with ‘’over 41 million memberships’’, will always agree and disagree at some points, adding that human management – the ability to manage the situation, is what will be needed to keep the party ‘’together and stronger again, and again.’’

Apparently ready to hit the ground running, Adamu hinted that his first task in office is to strategise with his team, both at national and zonal levels, on how to win the 2023 general election.

He admitted that in spite of the fruitful outcome of the convention, enormous tasks remained ahead.

According to him, ‘‘I want to say on behalf of the new NWC that it is not going to be an easy time for us. We have a major event that is going to test the water, but how stable are we as a party now that the general election is coming?

“For me, by the time we start working, our main task will be how we handle the elections as a party. How will we win the general election? People are talking, saying the APC does not have an incumbent on the ticket.

“We will have the honour and the integrity and the legacy of the current president on the ticket. We will work day and night. We have less than 12 months to face the general election. So, everybody should buckle up.”

Adamu vowed to preserve the “APC’s winning streak’’; while appealing for openness and cooperation from the NWC and other leadership structures of the party. “Don’t begrudge me. If there is any issue, let me know”, he appealed to members of the NWC.

Like many party’s members, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said that Adamu’s emergence as the new national chairman of the APC, was a testimony to the tremendous respect that he enjoys across the polity for his integrity, experience and leadership capacity.

“The unanimous affirmation of Senator Adamu’s candidature at the convention is a testimony to the tremendous respect that he enjoys across the polity for his integrity, experience and leadership capacity.

“I share this common belief in his suitability for piloting the affairs of our great party from this very important juncture’’, Lawan stated.

However, Adamu’s capacity for his new role will be tested before and during the party primaries, and ultimately during the general election.

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