Two years after the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has been in government after upstaging the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the government at the center and indeed, from most states of the federation, ANDREW ESSIEN writes that the party is between the rock and the hard place
It is no longer news that when the situation demanded, men with common purpose ( to sack the then PDP-led administration) came together to form a united front (APC), in a history-making general elections that saw a sitting President (Dr Goodluck Jonathan) defeated by the candidacy of General Muhammadu Buhari even as Jonathan, in a rear display of sportsmanship, congratulated the winner of Presidential race even before formal announcement of the winner by the nation’s elctoral umpire.
Thereafter, the nation witnessed historic transition of government at the center, from the then ruling party in government to the opposition party that were supposed to form government and lead for the next four years; this history was made on 29th May, 2015.
Nigerians home and abroad were full of expectations for the fulfilment of many promises made by APC during 2015 electioneering. The citizens are more enlightened and are ready to engage 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 an opposition party was on the saddle and the new opposition party was once in government.
Two years down the line, 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.
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. The past 2 years has seen both parties on each other’s throats with each move from the other being suspected even as accusations and counter accusations rain like bombs from both camps.
This beckering has no doubt, beeven 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.
Understandably so because the PDP was, for 17 years, the ruling party that prophesied its ‘divine mandate’ to rule the country for several years. The Umbrella however, caved in to the vicious wind of Change that was blowing across the land, hence, it was just natural for the parties to be at loggerheads with 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, they may be more of this mud slinging between them.
The Great Crossovers
The last two years have witnessed the swelling of the “rank and file” for the APC, a massive harvest for the party in terms of some very “big fish” flocking, in their droves to the party as it were. Persons who hitherto had sworn to see the annihilation of the party, had suddenly thought it wise to “abandon ship” hangout with new friends even as they refer to the party as the best place to be. The party in turn, opened its arms to the various brides that were flocking to it. With the most recent being a political colossus in her own right, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, the list is endless as notable names from the South, North and West continue to come with their supporters, into this embrace of the APC.
This “harvest of souls” as it were, has not escape the attention of cynics who have alluded that the party may be turning to a “safe haven” for politicians who have skeletons to hide from the antigraft agencies even as analysts are describing it as a “food-is-ready” arrangement for some political gladiators.
To this the national Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun says: “I know that those who don’t wish us well often tend to misinterpret some of these happenings as running away thinking that they would have protection from the EFCC. Of course, I am not aware in your case that anybody is harassing you with the EFCC. In any case, it is obvious and played out today that we do not offer sanctuary to anybody running from the arms of the law. The evidence is all over the place.”
However, with these high profile defections, the party is swelling its defence mechanism ahead of the 2019 election which promises to be very defining for the country even as it redraws the political map of the nation to its advantage.
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 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.
One major issue the party has faced over the period is a nosedive in terms of the revenue that has had to come in for the party 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.
Within the period under review, 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.