Once again we congratulate former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who took over from Chief John Odigie-Oyegun as the National Chairman of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The June 23 APC convention that produced Oshiomhole, a sole candidate, as the party’s national chairman came after much pressure from a section of the party. A situation which almost snowballed into a full blown crisis and also pitted President Muhammadu Buhari against another section of the party and the National Working Committee (NWC) which favoured continuity of the Oyegun-led exco but for the proper management of the situation by the presidency and important stakeholders. No doubt, a lot of bad blood was drawn. It was the first elective congress of the party since its coming to being almost six years ago.
Now, that the former Comrade-Governor has taken over the reins of leadership of the ruling party, it will not be out of place to say that he has some very important tasks to perform.
First on the list for the trade unionist turned politician is the reconciliation of the political gladiators and warring factions from the ward to the national level. The process that led to the June 23 convention of the party was fraught with crises which practically threatened the essence, existence and survival of the APC. From the ward level through the local government, state and even to the national, there had been parallel congresses and officers. The ugly development went all the way to the national convention where a so-called “Unity List” was said to have existed. The festering sore left by these crises must be treated and treated well as soon as possible. Healing balm should be applied on the bruises and probably injuries suffered by all sides. Wounded egos should be massaged and grievances addressed by the new party echelon. Actors in this near-macabre dance should be called to a round table and reconciled.
The reconciliation will be incomplete if the warring factions in states like Oyo, Imo, Delta, Lagos and others are not pacified and reconciled.
Still on reconciliation, the matter of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his supposed marginalisation should be visited and treated. It is a known fact that the massive support base Tinubu enjoys in the South-West geo-political zone played no mean role in ensuring victory for the party in the 2015 election. The former Lagos State governor’s near-cultic followership and contribution have largely yet to be acknowledged and rewarded according to his followers. Again, Oshiomhole is not unaware of this matter. And so he should do the needful.
While Tinubu led his now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria to the union which eventually produced the APC, the breakaway members of the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who christened themselves the New PDP, also formed a bloc in the formation of the APC. While the Tinubu group is claiming to be marginalised, the nPDP members are also crying foul over the level of (non)recognition accorded them by the party they helped form. They said they had been side-tracked.
Another task the new helmsman of the APC cannot wish away is that of assuaging the angst and anger of many Nigerians. A lot of Nigerians are displeased with the ruling party based on the allegation that the party has yet to fulfil most, if not all, of its campaign promises.
Perhaps the greatest threat to the ruling party’s returning to office next year is insecurity wearing the face of farmers/ herdsmen clash. For a government which rode to power on the crest of commitment to security and which had degraded the dreaded Boko Haram sect, the incessant killings perpetrated in most parts of the country by suspected killer-herdsmen is putting a heavy question mark on the administration’s will to fight terrorism and its associated acts. The onus now lies on the new chairman to help his party muster enough political will, which critics claim the APC lacks, to fight the marauders and by so doing restore the confidence of Nigerians, especially those of the Middle Belt extraction, in the party to fight a disturbing situation which if not properly handled will become a major campaign issue in the election year.
Since 2019 is an election year, it would do the new APC leadership a lot of good if it could get its house in order and get its acts right. The trade unionist in the new helmsman will, to say the least, go a long way in aiding him to execute successfully the Herculean tasks.
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