APC and the other side of merger
The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has not been itself since the inauguration of the 8th Senate about three weeks ago. The election of the new officers of the National Assembly, all of whom were opposed by a section of the party leadership, has thrown the party into a state of turmoil that is now rocking the party to its foundations.
By Jude Opara
Against the position of the party, Senator Bukola Saraki from Kwara State, North Central Nigeria was elected as the Senate President while Rep. Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State, North East Nigeria emerged as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The party wanted Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State, North East Nigeria as the Senate President and Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila from Lagos State, South West Nigeria as the Speaker.
The crisis that rocked the party also cost it the opportunity of producing the Deputy Senate President as Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged in what many analysts say was a direct consequence of the insistence of the APC leadership not to allow the legislators a free way in the election of their principal officers.
APC National Leader Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu discussing with President Muhammadu Buhari and National Chairman of APC Chief John Oyegun during APC Joint Leadership Meeting held in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.
Many critics have also flayed Senator Saraki and Mr. Dogara for what they their aspirations inputting that the two men should have stayed quiet in the face of the seeming bias of the party against the two of them.
The APC is a coalition of four political parties that wanted to wrestle power from the then ruling PDP. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), the New PDP as well as a fraction from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Looking at the major players behind these political parties, one could easily notice that they came to the party with different ideologies and agenda. One could argue that the CPC for instance led by General Muhammadu Buhari accepted to go into that alliance because of the difficulty it had in capturing power using only the celebrated anti-corruption disposition of the general.
The ACN led by former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu was more interested in widening its scope of control outside the South West where it had held sway since the return of the country to democratic governance in 1999. Since it was difficult to be freely accepted outside the zone, the merger was then necessary.
The ANPP which had former Abia State governor, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu as its chairman at the time of the merger was also fast loosing grip of its strongholds including the Northeast where it had earlier controlled with ease. Therefore to remain relevant, it had to accept the merger.
One of the main fragments of the APC actually came from the former members of the PDP who got disenchanted with the way the then ruling party was conducting its affairs. The issue came to a head when five sitting governors from Rivers, Kano, Kwara, Sokoto and Adamawa States stormed out of the PDP’s convention ground to form what became known as the New PDP.
A faction of the APGA led by the politically restive Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha who pulled away to join the merger arrangement.
From what has been playing out lately, it is very clear that the groups that formed the APC which has now captured power at the centre did not sit to discuss how to distribute the offices and positions despite winning the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections, two clear months before the handover of government on May 29.
If they had taken cognizance of the fact that the party was made up of tendencies from different regions of the country and different political blocs they should have painstakingly worked out how to handle the issue also with the spirit of give and take and above all in the overall national interest.
Unfortunately what has been playing out looks like one or two of the different blocs wanting to either take everything or dictate the pace, leading to exchange of blows by party members in the Senate and the House of Representatives last week.
It is thus not surprising that the opposition PDP is now shouting that the APC seems not to know what to do with power claiming that the party just wanted to capture power without really knowing what to do with it.
A PDP chieftain, Chief Chyna Iwanyanwu in a recent interview with Vanguard described what is happening in the APC as what happens when thieves come to share their loot.
There is another school of thought that strongly believes that without President Buhari, the APC will amount to nothing which means that the party may soon lose what they have should they continue to indulge in the unhealthy infighting.
There is a school of thought that also believes that what is happening in the party is a fall out of the presidential primaries as it is alleged that a party chieftain, Atiku Abubakar worked against the interest of Tinubu as a payback for the latter’s refusal to help his own presidential aspiration.
Yes even as the Senate has managed to name other principal officers with Senator Ali Ndume from Borno, North East emerging as the Senate Majority Leader, it is yet to be seen how the House will navigate the landmines when it resumes on July 21.
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