By Magnus Onyibe –
There is a buzz about the internal strife that has recently been hunting Aso Rock villa like a ghost.
It is based on the belief that there are numerous pockets of power in the presidency, which like a constellation of stars revolving around the moon seeking to overshadow one another, have in the process created chaos, serious enough to trigger the leadership cataclysm currently besetting Nigeria.
By tugging at each other’s throats, the different power blocks in the presidency are believed to be working at cross purposes and for selfish interests which does not augur well for effective governance.
The recent incidents of the security agencies that have direct reporting lines to president Muhamadu Buhari being at daggers drawn, affirms that there is trouble in Nigerian seat of power.
Take for instance, the fact that the Directorate of State Services, DSS, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,National Intelligence Agency, NIA, are investigating each other and presenting damning reports against one another to both mr president and the National Assembly, NASS which are very disturbing and ominous trend of events.
Amongst other concerns, the frosty relationship between the security agencies clearly reflect and reinforce the wise crack “ A house divided cannot stand”.
A fall out of the Aso Rock Villa ‘internecine war’ is the much awaited confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC which is still in abeyance.
Conventionally, all state security agencies are supposed to be polling resources (men and materials) together towards achieving a common objective of promoting national security, strengthening stability internally, while projecting strength externally.
But evidence in the public arena indicates that the nation’s security apparatchik may be working at cross purposes as it is deeply fractured.
Until the public spat between the three crime prevention and management agencies erupted, nobody really knew how disjointed command and control had become in the presidency which the average Nigerian regard as paradise where nothing goes wrong .
After president Buhari was sworn into office on May 29th 2015, the next line of action which was the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, NASS provided the opportunity to cascade political power down the ladder.
Being a party that is formed by five distinctive parties with diametrically opposing philosophies which were subsumed by the common goal of supplanting the PDP and particularly then president Goodluck Jonathan, it’s not surprising that APC has become a cauldron of sorts.
Against the grain of thought of the party leadership , Bukola Saraki became the senate president in what can best be described as a coup d’etat of some sort in the Red chamber , just as against the run of play, Yakubu Dogara also assumed the speakership position in the Green chamber in a putsch similar to the one in the senate.
But suffice it to say that trying to reverse the decision of the legislators who exercised their free will to choose their leaders is an equivalent of the grave mistake which the former ruling party, the PDP made when it recognized then plateau state Governor Jonah Jang who garnered less votes than Rotimi Amaechi, then governor of Rivers state, when both contested for the chairmanship of Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF.
As soon as Saraki outwitted the APC leadership by defeating the party’s anointed candidate as senate president, he became marked down for political assassination. But being a man with uncanny mettle, Saraki survived the multiple charges of corruption levelled against him.
That the political actors who appeared to have looked on with askance or even tacitly or openly supported the pummelling of Saraki by the powers that be, are today victims of similar political chicanery, is remarkably a veritable case study for students of politics.
As 2019 circle of elections ramps up and more politicians throw their hats into the ring, would the current cat fights not degenerate?
The ruling party deliberately avoided the very critical Storming stage which could have provided the true test of the cohesiveness or otherwise of the amalgamated parties.
This stems from the fact that it is at the Storming stage that the real interests of the collaborating parties ACN, CPC, and ANPP and PDP factions which formed the APC union, could have been pushed.
And where else to engage in such political horse trading than the party convention which is a veritable platform?
For instance, two years after key aspects of the convention were suspended, party executive offices such as board of trustees, BOT post etc have remained vacant.
But clearly, the legacy parties that dissolved into the APC which were ordinarily strange bed fellows, preferred to unite against Goodluck Jonathan and PDP by deciding to suspend the projection of their narrow ethnic and religious agendas, just to upend PDP’s trenchant control of government at the centre for uninterrupted sixteen years.
The closest the APC will be to its day of reckoning, which got frozen in time in excess of two years, would be next Wednesday, November 1, 2017 when the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC meeting would be holding in Aso Rock villa , Abuja.
Mr President does not need a soothsayer to alert him to the fact that the motivational zeal of 2015, which was to first and foremost kick out Goodluck Jonathan and PDP and then share power later, has now evaporated.
A recent comment by ACN former chairman and ex interim chairman of APC, Bisi Akande that the presidential ticket for the party is open for contest in 2019 and the counter statements from notable northern leaders and Buharists might be foreshadowing the storm ahead.
Unless some fundamental decisions, like taking a clear position on the need to restructure the political architecture of the nation or devolution of more power to the states are made unequivocally; and definite efforts to shorn the presidency of the cloak of corruption with which it is currently draped is made and seen to have been made fairly and justly, the APC may be heading for its Waterloo in 2019.
Today, things have changed a bit because instead of the Itse Sagay led presidential committee on anti-corruption, which seem to have the mindset that all Nigerians are corrupt until proven innocent, (an attitude that has tarnished Nigeria’s image gravely) a robust economic team led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been inaugurated and taken the centre stage . And fittingly, strengthening the economy has taken pre-eminence as President Buhari’s development agenda with bountiful results.
Owing to the new approach, apart from corruption allegations becoming muter, numerous executive orders including ease of doing business and promotion of local content in procurements, are being signed into law by president Buhari. As a result, the hitherto ailing economy which was in intensive care unit, lCU is now in the recovery room as Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, NBS is now reporting modest positive growth of 1.5per cent in the past three quarters of the year.
Going by the hard stance taken in the past by president Buhari, and how he has become more accommodating as catalogued above, it may be safe to conclude that he is really not as unbending as most people are wont to believe.
He probably needs to be persuaded or convinced more with superior argument before he can endorse a recommended policy initiative, and that is a question of style.
Arising from the foregoing, l am willing to wager a bet that president Buhari who wields the uncanny power to surprise his antagonists and protagonists alike, may pull a hat trick at the forthcoming APC NEC meeting and the national convention coming up subsequently, by doing the needful and thus steer APC away from potential shipwreck.