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Post Primaries: Between APC Leadership And Aggrieved Stalwarts



In this report, MUYIWA OYINLOLA writes that unless the post-primaries elections crises of the ruling APC is hurriedly nipped in the bud, it may spell doom for the party in the February general elections.

Without any doubt, the greatest task before the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) today is how to return to power after the February 2019 general elections.

This is noticeable because in every public forum, President Muhammadu Buhari and his ministers do not miss the opportunity to market their party, rubbish the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and make the public see why APC should be re-elected.

However, unlike the euphoria that ushered in the ruling party at its formation in February 2013, which culminated in its electoral victory in the 2019 general elections,  there are indications that the party may need to work harder if it must return to power next year.

Apart from the fact that the PDP has found its voice and cleaned the bruise it sustained in 2015 (preparatory to the forthcoming polls), the brewing crisis within the APC, if not quickly nipped in the bud might be its abattrois.

Recall that the APC was formed in February 2013 as a result of an alliance of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and nPDP.

The pre and post-primaries crises of the APC are gradually snowballing into a full blown conflagration that is threatening its unity and prospect in the forthcoming polls. 

The bad blood generated as a result of the outcome of the primaries is threatening an implosion in the party with many of the stalwarts, including governors and senators who lost out at the polls either threatening to leave the party or work for another party at the general elections.

The stalwarts are angry that they are not rewarded despite their commitment and loyalty to the party.

A former governor of Yobe and incumbent Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, is one of those aggrieved members who lost out of power equation in his state and he has predicted that the outcome of the primaries of which a good number of party stalwarts are angry about, may spell doom for the party in the next general elections.

Speaking at the weekend in Abuja,  the former ANPP stalwart said: “Without mincing words, as an elder statesman, I must say that my dreams and hopes have been dashed. We have certainly not done what I dreamed we will do and in many ways we are no better than the PDP that we sought to displace.”

Speaking further about his frustration, he disclosed that: “As we move towards the elections, I have to give a dire warning to the APC. Things are no longer the way they were in 2015 when we rode to power on a cloud of euphoria believing that things will change.

“Simply put, things have not changed and many things are worse and the people are bitter. We should not assume that we can win even with massive rigging.”

Apart from Ibrahim, Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, is also unhappy with the party and his inability to get his preferred candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, emerge as the party’s candidate in the state.

He has however accused the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of working against his interests leading to the emergence of Dapo Abiodun as the party’s candidate.

“The President already knows there was no election in Ogun State. He knows that they just went to Lagos, write all results, and that what they did is fraud”, he said stated.

In Zamfara State, the party has yet to submit the name of its governorship candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The state governor, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Yari is having running battle with eight governorship aspirants in the state over the conduct of direct primaries.

The governorship primaries in the state was however cancelled by the party’s national secretariat.

While speaking on the development, Yari disclosed that: “It was very unfortunate that the committee canceled the election.

“We heard that the National Working Committee had dissolved the APC executive in the state and also sent the same committee to Zamfara to repeat the exercise.

“I want to call on the national headquarters of the party that we will not accept the decision and we are not satisfied with the committee, we don’t have confidence in that committee.

“I am warning members of that committee that they should never come to Zamfara, they should never put their legs in this state, and anything that happens to them, Adams Oshiomhole should be held responsible.

“We will continue with this decision until the national leadership of the party are ready to do justice,” he stressed.

In the same vein, outspoken Senator Shehu Sani also lost the APC ticket for Kaduna Central Senatorial District after the primaries conducted by delegates from the zone in which he garnered only 15 votes but he had earlier indicated that he would not participate in what he called a “Kangaroo election organised by the Kaduna State Government.’’

He has however defected to the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).

While taking a cursory look at the challenges before the party, pundits are of the view that the APC may meet its Waterloo in the next general elections, considering the array of challenges before her unless it puts house in order quickly.

The party according to analysts pays lip service to loyalty and patriotism.

Both Amosun and Yari are sitting governors and foundation members of the party. 

Recall that it was the same way Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, a founding member of the party and one of its major financiers was maltreated and forced to leave the party.

While in the party, Saraki according to sources, produced ingenuous ideas, brought in a lot of goodwill, lured several governors and National Assembly members to APC. He was also sais to have held the NASS together to ensure all President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministers were cleared and other proposals were approved. The Senate President threw in the towel and returned to the PDP at the peak of his travails, both with the state and the party.

According to pundits, Saraki has perhaps suffered more antagonism than many politicians in the current political dispensation.

Shortly after his emergence as Senate President in June 2015, against the wish of some stalwarts of the party, but by the wish of the lawmakers, he was slammed with a case of none declaration of assets before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. The case later got to the Supreme Court and he won.

It was gathered that the development swung people’s sympathy to his side, making some lawmakers to defect to the PDP along with him.

With the present development, the preponderance of opinion is that Saraki is now the victor as those who abused him when he lost are now gasping for breath.

However, barely four months to the general elections and with the windows of defection and possibility of aggrieved politicians working against the APC, the party leaders would do well to put their house in order as one enemy is too many in politics.