The year 2017 will undoubtedly go down in the annals of the nation’s history as one of the defining years for the governing All Progressives Congress (APC). ANDREW ESSIEN in this piece, highlights some of the major events that shaped the party.
Monday, 29th May, 2015, will ever remain a defining point in Nigeria’s political history as it witnessed the historic transition of government at the center, from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) which now had the rate privilege of unseating a ruling party and form its own government for the next four years; truly, a history was made.
Sadly however, the party has been plagued by one form of crisis or another so much so that analyst posit that if not checked, the issues may lead its exit from power sooner that expected. This position though, has been challenged by party stalwarts and supporters.
At the beginning of the year, Nigerians home and abroad were full of expectations for the fulfilment of many promises made by APC during 2015 electioneering. They had hoped that the government had now settled down to the task of providing leadership and the much needed dividends of democracy for which they honestly yearn.
The citizens being more politically enlightened and emboldened, were readily engaging their leaders by asking questions when it is necessary to do so even as they expected a robust interplay of deft political calculations given that the former opposition party is the one on the saddle and the new opposition party was once in government.
Down the line of governance, the APC may have had more internal problems to deal with than even as it has, at some point, threatened to overheat the polity. This however has not been to the nation’s interest even as the party that ought to play the opposition has also had its hands full rather than become a “check” to a government that drove it from power.
Some of the most important events that marked the APC’s political landscape include but not limited to the following:
Within the period under review, one of the serious issues that the party had to contain the party violated an important provision of its own constitution with regards to holding its national convention to appraise its state of affairs and make necessary adjustments even after it eventually set a date of April 29, 2017. Since the last convention of the party held in October 2014, same should have been convened in 2016.
Article 25 (A)(i) of the APC constitution stipulates that the National Convention of the Party shall be held once in two (2) years at a date, venue and time to be recommended by the National Working Committee and approved by the National Executive Committee subject to the giving of the statutory notices to the Independent National Electoral Commission and at least fourteen (14) days notice given to members eligible to attend.
This is in spite of the constitutional provision, there is also a caveat stating that the National Executive Committee may summon an emergency National Convention at any time provided at least seven (7) days notice of the meeting shall be given to all members eligible to attend.
The Great Crossover
One of the events that shook the APC’s political firmament was the expected defection of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
After months of speculation, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, resigned from the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), further fueling speculations that he may return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which had propelled him to the Vice Presidency in the Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration in 1999.
The Wazirin Adamawa while siting reasons for his resignation, accused the APC of adopting and even surpassing the same “draconian practices” that made him defect from the PDP adding that it has instituted “a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced.”
In its separate reaction, the APC said it was surprised at the resignation though it has not received a formal notification beyond what was in circulation at the social media even as it stated that Alh Atiku was at liberty to pitch his political interests elsewhere.
The PDP on the other hand welcomed the news of the resignation, adding that the move gave credence to the party’s hitherto stance on the APC, insisting however, that the former Vice President will have to contest the presidential ticket with others.
This, undoubtedly had a tornado effect on the party as it however struggled to sweep the matter under the carpet.
APC-PDP’s Frosty Relationship
Certainly, it is expected that the two dominant parties will not see eye to eye on almost any issue of national interest especially as regards the way and manner of governance.
2017 has seen both parties at each other’s throats with each move from the other being suspected even as accusations and counter accusations rain like bombs from both camps. It even went up a notch with both parties have spokespersons who are out to assert their party’s narratives on the political space.
This beckering has no doubt, been the hallmark of both parties on almost every national issue. From accusations to Counter accusations, attacks and counter attacks, wild goose conspiracy theories and the likes, the two parties were at each other’s throats as if they wanted to chock the life out of each other.
From the budgets presented in the last two years, to the several elections held within the period under review, from the remote and immediate cause of the country’s slip into recession to the handling of the economy, from the administration’s fight against corruption to even inter and intra party politics within both parties, APC and PDP has slugged it out on almost everything. As 2019 approaches, there may be more of these heated debates between them.
Crisis Across APC States
From the South to the North, from the West across the East, the party in the last two years have seven its “brigades” (party structures) across the states, battling with so many issues with political analysts fearing that these crisis, if not checked timely, may significantly weakend the overall fighting power is the party in the fast approaching 2019 general elections and indeed, any other election that may come up in between at state and local government levels.
From faraway Bayelsa to the distant Kano, across to Gombe then Kaduna, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Yobe and the list goes on, the APC chapters in these states erupted in one form of crisis or the other. The leadership at the center, added to the issues it was dealing with, had to intervene in all these troubled spots but surprisingly went on to win elections conducted in some of these places.
To this end, the leadership of the party has been bedeviled with inaugurating and dispatching teams to these troubled areas with the hopes of keeping the state of the union strong and stable even though the desires and aspirations of some have nonetheless been threatening the delicate peace path being put in place at every level.
PMB’s Health Challenges
President Muhammadu Buhari’s health challenges earlier in the year had significantly slowed down the activities of the party.
Expectedly, the party had to put up several defenses on why certain things were either done or left undone. Several party issues that needed the president’s express input, were suspended or shelved completely.
This generated a state of unease within the rank and file of the party’s leadership and followership within the space of time that the President was away.
One major issue that plagued the party a considerable drop in terms of the revenue that has had to come in post elections. Tension and subdued anger has, at some point, played out at the national secretariat even as the current economic crunch takes a toll on the ruling party, no thanks to the policy of government not to fund its activities
The resultant effect has been in part, officials and staff of the party spending more time in darkness as a result of faulty generator, members of the National Working Committee (NWC) no longer execute projects due to lack of funds, adverts running into millions not being settled, amongst other pressing party issues.
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