Recent developments within the party are worrying, writes Olalekan Adigun

Anything that doesn’t kill, as they say, makes you stronger. So when circumstances befall us mortals, most of the time it’s how we react or react that matters. This seems to be the situation with the ruling party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC), today.

Since its historic victory in the 2015 presidential election, the APC does not seem to have mastered the art of managing victories. For the most part, it still looks or behaves like an opposition party. I have never seen a ruling party in Africa more intimidated than the APC. In some cases, APC members feel helpless, unhappy and abandoned.

Besides basking in the glory of being in power, APC members don’t really feel it. In June 2020, in a meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) dissolved its National Working Committee (NWC). One might have expected this to have been a once-and-for-all solution to the ongoing litigation and many crises facing the party. It was not to be. Even though the NEC has set up an Interim and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) with only one job – to inaugurate the newly elected party leaders, the team led by Mai Mala Buni has yet to deliver two years later. So we wonder why? Is the APC under some sort of spiritual spell? Are they deliberately on their way to implosion?

Noticing some dangerous political games on the part of some members of the CECPC, the governors elected on the party platform quickly warned the president and leader. The team led by Buni seems compromised. The constant attempts to prevent the convention from taking place have become suspect – and for good reason. Weren’t they just going to have the convention by December 2020? How many months will they need if six months is not enough to hold a convention? The team led by Buni began importing ultra-progressive elements, including the irascible Femi Fani-Kayode. A committee that had only one job description – ushering in a new group of party cadres – quickly began finding new jobs to extend their stay in office. They have started signing up new members: a waste of time and resources, if you ask me. They did everything to save time.

Although it was clear that the CECPC’s continued stay at Muhammadu Buhari’s house portends further danger, APC members claim that all is well with the party. While some APC members can fake it, others still live with the horror of Zamfara and Rivers recurring. If it happened again, it would be the opposition’s biggest win. These fears are justified because the alarm, this time, came earlier. The first time might be considered stupid, but the second time will be a disaster!

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) issued a timely warning recently when its spokesperson, Debo Ologunagba, told us that the APC is “not a political party under our laws, but a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which became legally inoperative when, on December 8, 2020, it dissolved its national, state and local government structures and handed over its affairs to a team of “political undertakers” known as the CECPC . The PDP statement went further by stating that APC operates without NWC, NEC or Board of Directors (BoT), meaning the party is “beset by confusion and fierce infighting from its various warlords with two national presidents, several factions in the states, and a national secretariat now taken over by the security agencies”.

While one can easily dismiss the PDP’s statement as alarmist, the APC has so much to worry about, and for good reason. The PDP technically didn’t lose power or its old tricks. Old habits die hard. We saw it on full display in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa states in the 2019 elections. The PDP is not ready to campaign or win people’s votes in 2023. This is me brutally honest. It is only a question of betting on errors, errors of judgment or certain legal “technicalities” of APC. The party also expects the APC to implode. Most (if not all) of those “imported” into the party from the PDP are cancer cells with sinister intentions to destroy or weaken the party from within. Like the hyena, the PDP is only prepared to be a scavenger instead of a hunter. While there’s nothing wrong with cleaning, feeding on the hard work of others is a huge problem. The APC would be deeply deluded to think that the PDP is interested in winning the 2023 elections by votes. The PDP expects Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa to all repeat across the board in 2023, leaving APC in tears!

Even though a party with 23 state governors may seem too big to fall, the PDP seems to be leaving no stone unturned in its ambition to “take over” in 2023. After losing two consecutive elections, the PDP has come to realize that t is always easier to take a ‘big drop’ from power than to get back to the top. The Mexican example Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI), which held power for 71 years continuously from 1929 to 2000, winning all presidential elections, suffices here. Although he lost power peacefully in 2000, he had to wait another 12 years to return to power nationally in 2012. So the idea that APC may be too big to take such a big downfall has may have been moved.

Recent developments within the party and the behavior of some APC leaders should be cause for concern. The frequent postponement of the extraordinary convention shows that something is wrong. At this point, the party must take decisive action against people who attempt to sacrifice the party for their immediate political ambitions. Things like this should never be tolerated. I support all the actions taken in recent days to eliminate the subversive elements of the party. Since the party was formed some eight years ago, it has not undergone a major purge. The APC is now at the moment of truth. Most (if not all) ruling parties face the challenge of managing internal conflicts of interest. But, what usually happens is that they either come out stronger or implode altogether. The APC will have to make this firm decision no later than March 26, 2022!

Adigun writes from Lagos

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