Monday, 25 April 2016

APC and risk of implosion - Willy Eya

APC and risk of implosion -
Willy Eya

Editor’s note: The All Progressives Congress
(APC) has hardly earned its victory in the last
year general election. However, the crisis may
not be averted as the situation is not stable in
the ruling arty. Willy Eya examines factors
contributed to the situation in the APC today.
APC’s major challenge is how to marry all
the interests of the contending power
brokers that formed the party ahead of the
last general election.
For those who understand the dynamics of
politics in Nigeria, one fundamental question
that flashes through their minds is: how can
the All Progressives Congress (APC) keep its
house in order until the 2019 general
election. Such a question naturally may not
be unconnected with events in the ruling
party since it took over power on May 29,
last year.
Of course, it is no more news that the APC
created a precedent in the nation’s political
history by trouncing the then ruling party,
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a general
election that held between March and April
2015. The party not only won at the centre
and in 20 out of the 29 states of the
federation but had majority seats in the
Senate and House of Representatives.
But despite such a clear advantage, many
are tempted to believe that the APC’s major
challenge is how to marry all the interests
of the contending power brokers that formed
the party ahead of the last general election.

Recall that four opposition parties regarded
as legacy parties including the All Nigeria
Peoples Party, (ANPP), the Action Congress
of Nigeria, (ACN), the Congress for
Progressive Change (CPC) and a faction of
the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
— merged to form the APC.
However, even though many had imagined
that the APC would experience such initial
challenges that a new party taking over
power would face but nobody expected that
the problems could blossom and pose a real
threat to the survival of the party almost
one year of its life in power. Political
observers are in agreement that so many
factors contributed to the situation in the
APC today.

The Genesis
The crisis of confidence among major
political gladiators in the party started
immediately after inauguration when
President Muhammadu Buhari announced his
initial appointments. Recall that out of about
30 appointments he made, only five were not
from the Northern part of the country.
Analysts argue that those appointments
considered as the bulk that would form the
kitchen cabinet created the first negative
impression in the minds of many APC
members especially those from the South
West. For the fact that the South West
played a key role in the victory of Buhari in
the 2015 election, many were shocked when
it seemed that the zone was not adequately
compensated in those initial appointments.
But if the South West was not given its due,
it was worse for the South South and South
East who were literally excluded from the
list of the initial appointees by the president.
In many quarters, the argument is that
President Buhari’s actions perceived to
favour the North is one of the reasons for
the cold war among top leaders in the party.
Battle for control of National Assembly
Not long after the inauguration of the
present administration, a major issue that
threatened the peace within the APC was
the battle for the control of the National
Assembly. Many believe that in the build up
to the election of principal officers of the
National Assembly, there was a fierce battle
of influence among power brokers in the
APC. As it seemed then, the three prominent
power blocs were controlled by President
Buhari, former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu
and former vice president Atiku Abubakar.
There was also another bloc of the new PDP
members who defected to the APC. But
events of that era showed that at a point,
both Buhari and Tinubu married their
differences and called for the supremacy of
the party in determining the principal
officers of the National Assembly. In the
public domain, it was common knowledge
that the president and his kitchen cabinet
did not want both Bukola Saraki and Yakubu
Dogara to head the Senate and House of
Representatives respectively. There were
insinuations that his choice for the Senate
president was Ahmed Lawan from Borno
state but he was schemed out of the race
when Saraki played a fast one on him and
aligned with PDP Senators to emerge the
Senate President. Saraki was elected
unopposed by 57 of 108 senators and recall
that many of the APC Senators were still
waiting at the International Conference
Centre for a meeting on the leadership of
the Senate at the time Saraki was declared
Senate president.

A similar scenario played out at the House
of Representatives where the preferred
choice of the APC, Femi Gbajiabimila lost to
Hon Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the
8th House of Representatives. Dogara who
represents Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa- Balewa
federal constituency of Bauchi State
defeated Gbajabiamila who was believed to
have been the anointed candidate of the
APC after scoring 182 votes as against his
opponent’s 174.
What transpired in the election of principal
officers of the National Assembly created a
major crack in the ranks of the APC and
since then, there has been a cold war in the
party. Many believe that the current CCT
trial of the Senate president is not
unconnected with the manner he emerged
against the wish of the party.
The Senate president is currently facing
charges of false asset declaration and
maintaining of offshore account while
serving as governor of Kwara state between
2003 and 2011. The federal government
amended the charges with two others
including allegation that Saraki continued to
receive salaries and emoluments as
governor of Kwara state after the expiration
of his tenure and at the same time, and
from the federal government as a senator
between 2011 and October 2013.
Many argue that a fresh crisis would erupt in
the APC in the event that the Senate
president does not survive the challenges
before him and is forced to resign or is
impeached. Critical observers believe that
Saraki has enjoyed popular support from his
colleagues in the Senate and many of them
would be ready to swim through the
tempestuous ocean of politics with him if
throws in the towel.
The calculation is that he may work at cross
purposes with his party if the APC hierarchy
fails to protect him from the current battle
he is facing at the CCT.
Tinubu factor
One of the permutations is that the former
Lagos state governor is not happy with the
manner he has been treated by the president
since he assumed office. In the estimation
of many, President Buhari has not given
Tinubu his due in the running of the APC led
administration despite his contribution to the
victory of the party in the 2015 poll.
Political observers argue that even though
the former Lagos governor nominated the
Vice President, Prof Osinbajo and may have
also been compensated by the appointment
of some of his loyalists, he is not happy that
some of his political foes are being given
prominence by the Buhari administration. At
the realm of speculation, it is believed that
the former Lagos governor is not happy with
Buhari for appointing the former Ekiti State
governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi as Minister of
Solid Minerals and for making the immediate
past governor of Lagos state, Babatunde
Fashola a super minister. In the estimation
of political observers, Tinubu would have
preferred some other loyalists in place of
Fayemi and Fashola.
What many think is that the APC leader now
applies a ‘siddon look’ approach to the
fortunes of the APC even though he still
carries on as a key member of the party.
Currently, the ruling party is witnessing a
cash crunch and many argue that Tinubu’s
indifference to APC is one of the causes as
he is a good organizer who could not have
allowed the fortunes of the party to go down
if he is happy with the present
The permutation is that if the Tinubu factor
is not managed well, it could put the APC in
a major crisis considering his influence
among members of the party particularly in
the South West zone.
Atiku’s ambition
Among many critical observers, the
consensus of opinion is that former Vice
President Atiku Abubakar is not yet done
with his ambition to become the president of
Nigeria. Not a few think that more than any
other time, 2019 provides probably the best
opportunity for the Turaki Adamawa to
realize his long awaited dream.
Analysts argue that the former vice
president is not happy the way he was
schemed out of the presidential race in 2015
to create way for Buhari to fly the flag of
the APC in that general election. Even
though he has been quiet since Buhari
assumed office, it is believed that he is only
waiting for Buhari to complete four years in
office before he throws his hat to the ring
So, the major challenge facing the APC is
how to contain the presidential ambition of
Atiku. There are even insinuations that the
PDP is wooing him to come back to its fold
to possibly pick the ticket of the party in the
next presidential election.
Influence of new PDP
One power bloc that has remained a major
factor in the APC is the new PDP made up
of those who defected to the ruling party in
the build up to the last general election.
In November 2013, what could be regarded
as a political earthquake occurred when five
state governors from the PDP defected to
the APC. Following the crisis already
brewing in the party, the governors with their
supporters had earlier staged a walk-out at
the PDP special national convention on
August 31, 2013 to form the new PDP. The
governors include Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers),
Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara), Rabiu Musa
Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako
(Adamawa), and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).

But with all the PDP members having
trooped to the APC, the challenge now is
how to manage and accommodate their
interests and ambitions in their new party.
The new PDP defectors command a lot of
influence in the party such that the original
founders of the APC even feel threatened of
being displaced by them.
So, the fear is that with more PDP members
still joining the APC, there is a possibility
that a time would come when they would
dictate the affairs of the party. Worried by
the influx to its fold, some APC members in
what looked like raising the alarm have
suggested that the party should close its
gate to the defectors from PDP and other
So, the question is: how can the APC
manage its hard earned victory in the 2015
general election. Just barely one year down
the line, the party members seem not to be
speaking with one voice just like what
happened to the PDP when its internal crisis
boiled over. So in all of this, the question is:
Will the APC go the way of the PDP by
speaking in discordant tunes? Many pray
that the APC should not witness an
implosion like what happened in the PDP
before it lost power to the main opposition
party. But only time will tell the politics that
would play out in the party ahead of the
next general election.
This article expresses the author’s opinion
only. The views and opinions expressed here at not that of Amusementbugs Admins please