Issues As PMB Tasks Tinubu On APC Reconciliation
The appointment of former governor of Lagos State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, by President Muhammadu Buhari, to resolve the lingering crisis within the party has heightened the political intrigues in the ruling party and the entire polity. ANDREW ESSIEN, examines the issues arising therein. Without gainsaying, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has been evolving from one crisis to another. From the national level to the various states where the party holds sway, there have been in-fightings and rumors of fighting, a situation which has left many analysts wondering what lies ahead for the APC in the 2019 general elections. So far, some of the states engulfed in internal crisis include Kano, Cross Rivers, Kogi, Bauchi, Oyo, Kaduna and Lagos States. In Kano State, the face-off between the incumbent and immediate past APC governors, Abdullahi Ganduje and Sen Musa Kwankwaso, appears intractable. Both political titans have been going at each other and their supporters have been stoking the embers of political war. Consequently, the party is split down the line between supporters of both men. This has considerably dulled the appeal of the party and weakened its support base in the state even as the opposition parties have become bolder. The recent planned visit of the former governor was called off at the last minute following concerns that there may be break down of law and order in the state on the day the state government was also set to hold its event. The presidency had to intervene. On account of the differences, Kwankwaso has mostly stayed away from the state even though he continues to monitor activities closely through proxies. In Lagos, a meeting of APC stakeholders, including Tinubu, the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and other party leaders, to address teething issues within the party did not see the light of day. The issues plaguing the party in the state is traceable to the recent local government elections Buhari Tinubu which saw party candidates emerge outside what political analysts say are undemocratic procedures. On the flip side, beneficiaries of the alleged flawed process, saw nothing wrong with the exercise which they interpreted as indirect primaries which was allowed by their constitution. This has pitched some of the party’s bigwigs at the federal level against those in the state. The APC national legal adviser, Mr Muiz Banire, was suspended by the Mushin chapter of the party while former governor and minister of power, works and housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, was conspicuously missing during the programmes that marked the state’s 50th anniversary earlier in the year. In Ondo State, the crisis in the party has led to the suspension of the Chairman of the state executive, Mr. Isaac Kekemeke. Kekemeke, during the governorship primaries in the stated did not hide his preference for Olusegun Abraham, an associate of Tinubu. Rotimi Akeredolu, who was considered an outsider during the primaries, however, beat the odds and emerged the candidate over Tinubu’s choice in the primaries and eventually won the governorship election which took place last year. As he settled down in office after his inauguration, Kekemeke was increasingly shoved aside from party issues. The crisis got to a head when the party executive met and suspended him from office. The former chairman has consistently fingered the governor as being behind his misfortune. In Kogi State, majority of the National Assembly members have been at loggerheads with Governor Yahaya Bello, whom they accused of nonperformance and anti-party activities. In another development, APC stakeholders in the state have accused the governor of filling his cabinet with PDP members and marginalised members of his own party. The crisis in the state is better imagined with the direct call for the resignation of the governor by some party stakeholders. Still, associates and aides of the governor have not been sleeping either as they are also putting up resistance. In Kaduna State, the festering crisis between Sen Shehu Sani and Governor Nasir el-Rufai turned bloody with media men feeling the brunt of the tussle when the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat in the state capital was attacked by political thugs during a press conference by Sen Sani to protest the alleged marginalisation of party members during the state congress. In several other state chapters of the party, the problem has been about alleged marginalisation of party members from the legacy parties by new entrants. This problem is particularly noted by party leaders in South-South states like Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River among others. Older members of the party claim that after having campaigned for change, they have been sidelined by the party, whereas, members who came into the party after the elections, appear to be getting all the plum positions. The crisis in the APC is compounded by the failure of the national leadership to take charge. The party leadership has sometimes turned away from the alleged manipulation of its constitution. This is illustrated by the failure of the party leadership to hold statutory meetings. The party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) is yet to be formed and inaugurated more than three years after the party came to power. It may have been as a result of all these that the president deemed it fit to takeover reconciliation of the party even as 2019 beckons. In a release signed by his Senior Special Assistant, Media and publicity, Shehu Garba: “As part of on-going efforts to improve cohesion within the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari has designated Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead the consultation, reconciliation and confidence building efforts. “The assignment will involve resolving disagreements among party members, party leadership and political office holders in some states of the Federation.” However, party watchers have questioned why the president should announce reconciliatory moves while the path had similarly set up this committee in time past for which submissions have been made. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has already taken a swipe at the move. On its tweeter handle the party said it “has always stated that the APC led Federal Government of Nigeria is inept and grossly incompetent. “What other proof is required than the announcement by the Presidency of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as Chairman, APC Reconciliation Committee. “Gen. Buhari, Nigeria President is ‘not aware’ that the Federal Government of Nigeria is different from APC and such announcement should be made by the Party, the APC and not the Federal Government of Nigeria.” The choice of Asiwaju has also got many thinking after he had a brush with the national chairman last year. Does this mean the president feels the party leadership as currently constituted cannot bring peace to the troubled party? The days and months ahead will surely be interesting as these issues and intrigues play out.