The resignation of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Adamu Abdullahi, marked the end of a controversial era in the ruling party which has produced no fewer than four chairmen since its formation in 2013.
Former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, was the founding chairman followed by Chief John Odigie Oyegun; Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State who was caretaker chairman before Adamu’s emergence.
Daily Trust reports that all the chairmen were ousted unceremoniously, and like the historical banana peel, Adamu also left his seat unceremoniously after a series of controversies.
Here is a list of controversies that defined the tenure of Adamu who was elected on March 26, 2022 at the party’s national convention in Abuja spending less than one and half years.
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Clash with Salihu Lukman
The former APC national chairman’s tenure was defined with a protracted war with the national vice-chairman, North West of the party, Mal. Salihu Lukman, who also instituted a suit to oust him. Adamu had barely settled down as chairman when Lukman penned a letter to him, criticising the way he was handling the affairs of the party.
In a letter dated May 27, 2022 addressed to Adamu prior to the conduct of the party’s convention to elect the presidential candidate, Lukman said activities leading to the convention were being handled informally by the former chairman.
In the letter, he said, “The presidential aspirants are yet to be screened. The official explanation is that you are awaiting final consultation with President Buhari. At the risk of sounding agitated, this is unfair to President Buhari because to the best of my understanding, it is an attempt to use the president’s name to give excuses for failure, if it happens, which should not be the case.
“As NWC and as our leader being the national chairman, I want to appeal to you on the need for new initiatives in managing the party. At the rate we are going, we are walking back to the old spot of over-centralised implementation of party decisions around the national chairman.”
Again, the outspoken Lukman wrote another letter in April 2023 accusing Adamu and the party’s national secretary, Iyiola Omisore, of running the party using “discretionary powers.”
He also alleged a lack of financial transparency in the running of the party’s affairs. Until his exit, the relationship between Adamu and Lukman remained sour.
Backing the ‘wrong horse’
Prior to the APC presidential primary to produce the candidate of the party where Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, now President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, emerged, Adamu had stirred up a hornet’s nest; declaring the former Senate president, Senator Ahmed Lawan, as the consensus candidate of the party approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The declaration did not go down well with the majority of party members, especially President Tinubu who was positioned to clinch the party’s ticket in the primary. Tinubu later emerged as the candidate against all odds.
Poor outing at the elections
The former APC chairman was unable to assert his authority as the number one member of the APC in the country during the last presidential election as he lost his polling unit, ward and was unable to deliver his Nasarrawa State for Tinubu.
Adamu who cast his vote at Angwan Rimi Ward, GRA A1-PB Polling Unit, Keffi, Nasarawa State, was defeated in his own PU as the Labour Party’s Peter Obi won with 132 votes while Tinubu of the APC came second with 85 votes. Many APC members had called for his head, saying it was an indication that he did not campaign for Tinubu or the APC for him to have lost his polling unit despite his influence as a former governor, a senator and the party’s national chairman. He also lost his polling unit during the governorship election.
Inability to resolve crises
Also, the former APC national chairman inherited a party that was enmeshed in deep internal crises across all states of the country without a concrete resolution. One of the states which were deeply in crises was Kwara where all party leaders were working at cross purposes. The number of factions in Kwara APC was virtually uncountable and many chieftains of the party were aggrieved with the leadership of the state working committee.
Apart from Kwara, other states where there were pockets of crises emanating from the conduct of congresses at ward, local and state levels include Lagos, Osun, Bayelsa, Rivers, Kano, among others.
Row over national assembly principal officers
After the emergence of principal officers of the National Assembly including the Senate president, Speaker of the House of Representatives, deputy Senate president and deputy speaker, names of other leaders of the two chambers were unveiled by Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Speaker Tajudeen Abbas respectively.
However, the former chairman caused a stir again when he declared that the party was not aware of the list. He said the report of naming the occupants of other leadership positions was a rumour.
Many leaders and chieftains of the party saw the outburst of the chairman as an opposition to the president who was believed to have endorsed the list.
A chieftain of the APC and former publicity secretary of the party in Lagos State, Joe Igbokwe, said Adamu’s time as chairman was up and he should be allowed to step aside.
Absence at class of 99 crucial meeting
The former chairman also allegedly shunned a meeting of former governors who were elected in 1999 with the president. Adamu was a member of that class of governors and despite being the national chairman of the president’s party who is expected to receive his colleagues; he allegedly shunned the meeting attended by about 19 former governors.
Observers say this was a reflection of the deep-seated animosity between him and the president who is expected to be the leader of the party.
Comment on Akeredolu’s health
Although he could have meant well, Adamu’s comment on the health of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State last week drew the ire of some members of the party. Akeredolu is currently being treated for an undisclosed ailment abroad.
At a meeting with chairmen of the APC across the country, Adamu said Akeredolu, who embarked on a 21-day leave on June 7 and was expected to return on July 6, but extended the medical leave was in a state of “extreme incapacity”.
Adamu, however, prayed for the governor’s speedy recovery.
“We regret to announce the extreme incapacity of the governor of Ondo State who we understand has been hospitalised overseas. We wish and pray for him for a speedy recovery,” he had said.
Shortly after Adamu had spoken at the meeting, the Ondo State governor issued a disclaimer against him; saying contrary to his comment, the governor was not incapacitated and was currently recuperating.