Daunting tasks are before the newly inaugurated National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the leadership of a former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Daily Trust reports.
Reports from our reporters in states show that the Adamu-led NWC will have to contend with the crisis rocking the party in at least 10 states.
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This is even as checks by this paper indicate that numerous litigations arising from disputes among chieftains of the party are pending in courts across the country.
Party stakeholders, especially aggrieved chieftains and aspirants for the presidential ticket, are looking up to the Adamu-led NWC to set in motion machinery to address the challenges and commence the process for the presidential race.
Chieftains of the party including a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State; Senator Rochas Okorocha; Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, among others have declared for the presidency.
While the APC is yet to commence the sale of forms for aspiring candidates, the leading opposition party—Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), started last month.
Adamu, who was the chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee of the APC formally took over the affairs of the ruling party on Wednesday from the Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, who reigned for 21 months.
While handing over to Adamu, Buni alluded to the fact that there are big tasks ahead of his successor pointing to “ Herculean tasks” before the new NWC.
Daily Trust reports that while the crisis in the states linger, aggrieved stalwarts of the party including former governors Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Akinwumi Ambode (Lagos), minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, among others are weighing options.
It was gathered that the chieftains who have been edged out in the schemes of things in their states by the governors are looking at the possibility of dumping the ruling party.
There are about 20 suits against the APC at different levels.
Findings by this paper showed that some of the cases were filed challenging some actions of the Buni-led committee. Although the APC has directed its members to withdraw all pending cases in court, some of the cases were filed in 2021.
For instance, the PDP filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking the nullification of the APC national convention and the deregistration of the political party.
The PDP is contending that the APC as a political party failed to meet the requirements of sections 222(a), 223(b), and 225 of the Nigerian Constitution.
Also, the PDP filed at least five suits against three governors of the APC, and lawmakers from the states and National Assembly, who defected from its party. The suits were brought against governors Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); Bello Matawalle (Zamfara); and Ben Ayade (Cross River).
In Kano, the appeal by the APC faction of Ibrahim Shekarau in Kano State over the ward and local government congresses against Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is pending before the Supreme Court after the appellate court upheld the Ganduje-led exco.
Similarly, the factions of ex-governor Aliyu Wamakko and Senator Abubakar Gada in Sokoto State are facing a Supreme Court date after the Court of Appeal upheld the Wammako-led executive.
In July, a chieftain of the party, Okosisi Emeka Ngwu approached an FCT High Court seeking an order stopping the ward, local government and state congresses of the party in Imo State. The case is yet to be discharged.
Many other suits against the outcome of state congresses of the party are laying before various courts.
These contentions led to the party deciding to only allow statutory delegates to participate in the national convention to avert possible legal catastrophe.
Crises rock party in Kano, Kwara, Osun, Rivers, 6 others
Despite the intervention of the party’s reconciliation committee then headed by Senator Adamu, reports from our correspondents showed that the ruling party is still enmeshed in crisis in at least 10 states.
The major challenge before the party has been and remained the crisis between the Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje leadership and that of the G-7 led by a former governor of the state, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau. Members of the G-7 include Senator Barau Jibrin and Hon Shaaban Sharada.
While the matter has defied all administrative attempts to resolve it, all hope is now with the Supreme Court to finally put the matter to rest.
But as with many incidents of legal solution to political crisis, the solution might turn out to be the beginning of a new crisis, analysts observed.
It was observed that should the G-7 lose at the apex court, it will be a daunting challenge for the governor and the APC national leadership to convince the aggrieved members to remain as “losers” in the party, especially as six of the seven chieftains making up the G-7 are believed to be nursing personal ambitions needing the party’s umbrella to fulfill.
On the other hand, should the Governor Ganduje-endorsed executive lose the battle at the apex court, observers have asked if this also will not mean a major exodus from the ruling party.
With the political weight of a sitting governor in any election, this may be a path the APC’s NWC will try to avoid at almost any cost.
However, this will not be the first time a sitting governor is dumping his party before an election in Kano as former Governor Kwankwaso toed this path in 2014 when he left the PDP for the newly formed APC.
Since either outcome at the Supreme Court presents more problems for the party, political analysts have suggested that the best solution remains resolving the impasse administratively before the apex court hears and determines the issue one way or the other.
It will appear that the legal tussle involving the factions of the APC in Sokoto State was laid to rest following the swearing in of Isa Sadiq Achida as the substantive chairman of the party in the state at the national secretariat of APC last weekend.
The inauguration followed the judgement of the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja which set aside the earlier judgement of the lower court over lack of jurisdiction.
Daily Trust reported that the party in the state was factionalized after the last state congresses conducted by the ruling party threw up two executive committees.
One of the committees was backed by the former governor of the state, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko while the other one enjoyed the backing of Senator Abubakar Gada.
But even with the appellate court’s judgement, the storm seems not to be over as the Gada faction has insisted that it is the legitimate faction.
In Benue State, APC would face the challenge of reconciling aggrieved members of the party following the outcome of its last year’s state congress which did not go down well with those who felt zoning of positions were not properly done.
Already, a section of such aggrieved members has defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) to take their chances in the forthcoming general election as the APC works towards reclaiming power in the state next year.
Denen Achussa, a political observer, thinks that with the election of the party’s new leadership – from council wards, local government, state and ultimately, emergence of a national chairman – a new dawn into the 2023 general elections as a united APC cannot be overemphasized as he stressed the need for the party to adhere to zoning and to pick a quality gubernatorial candidate.
Other stakeholders opined that the party in the state must deviate from one-man ownership by evolving true internal democracy to give everyone a sense of belonging.
The endless leadership crisis in the Rivers State chapter of the APC seems to have defied all known solutions.
Senator Magnus Ngei Abe has been at loggerheads with the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi over irreconcilable political differences.
The latest in the endless feud between the two political gladiators was the failure of Abe’s camp to deliver its candidate, Barrister Worgu Boms, as National Vice Chairman, South-south of APC at the just concluded national convention.
Boms suffered a humiliating defeat from Amaechi’s candidate, Victor Giadom, in the election. Boms scored only 3 votes in the election.
Abe had earlier accused Amaechi of plot to stop his preferred candidate from winning the election.
But despite Abe’s accusations Giadom defeated his candidate by a landslide.
In Gombe State, the battle over the control of the APC machinery between Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya and Senator Muhammad Danjuma Goje is very much alive.
The relationship between the erstwhile godfather and godson went sour during the last state congress of the party that ushered in the new state executives.
While Goje accused Governor Yahaya of removing executives loyal to him from across wards, local and state level, especially from Akko and Yamaltu/Deba LGAs of the state, the governor’s camp accused Goje of attempt to hijack the party.
The moves by Senator Adamu, while he was chairing the party’s reconciliation committee, have collapsed.
In a statement by his media office signed by Ahmed Isa, Goje lamented that the reconciliation moves of the party in Gombe have been jettisoned, which he said led to mass defection from the APC to the opposition parties.
However, in a terse statement from the Gombe chapter of the APC, Yahaya’s camp claimed that the reconciliation committee had concluded its assignment.
The statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Moses Kyari, accused Goje’s camp of sabotaging the process, in order to pave way for him to defect to the PDP.
In Lagos for instance, there is uneasy calm among aggrieved stakeholders and members of the party who felt excluded by the leadership of the party in the state after the various congresses last year.
It would be recalled that at the ward, local government and state congresses, parallel elections were held even as another group within the party took the APC to court challenging the outcome of the state congress.
A bloc within the party under the aegis of the Lagos APC Democrats led by Mr. Fouad Oki took the party to court, challenging the conduct of congresses in 57 LGs and LCDAs instead of the constitutionally recognised 20 LGs.
Up till now, the group has vowed to continue with the case despite the reconciliatory move by the APC leadership and the overtures by the new state working committee chaired by Cornelius Ojelabi.
Apart from the Lagos Democrats, the Conscience Forum led by the former PDP Chairman who defected to the party, Hon. Mashood Salvador, is also yet to be pacified after the inauguration of the state executive.
It would be recalled that Salvador Group also conducted a parallel state congress and members of the group said their grievances have been ignored by the leadership of the party.
A source in the group said members of the party are considering another alternative plan which might be made known anytime soon.
A member who spoke on the condition of anonymity said aggrieved members might soon declare for other parties in weeks to come.
Our correspondent in Kwara reports that while the party may have disappointed the opposition with the conduct of the national convention, it has birthed a new chapter in the lingering ‘disagreement’ among the key players and gladiators in the Kwara State Chapter of the APC.
For Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Abuja convention presents contrasting fortunes in their vehement quest to control the structure of the party in the state.
While the minister and his group which comprise of the bulk of aggrieved leaders in the state have consistently boasted of their “political sophistication” against the governor, events of the last three years have shown that Abdulrazaq has successfully snatched the structure of the party from his ‘political masters’.
Some political observers in the state have however interrogated the implication and relevance of Lai Mohammed’s attendance of the convention in the context of the event back home.
According to them, the embattled minister is playing out a script which will be fully unveiled in the days leading to the 2023 election in the fight for relevance.
Although Lai attended the convention, more than 90 per cent, if not all, of his supporters boycotted the exercise after announcing their pull out from the party, raising questions about what the minister and his group are up to.
In Ogun State, the two major factions, one led by Governor Dapo Abiodun and another by his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun have failed to sheath their swords despite several interventions.
Our correspondent in Abeokuta reports that Governor Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Senator Amosun, who are at loggerheads over APC’s structure in the state, had last year conducted parallel congresses from wards up to the state levels.
While Abiodun’s group elected Yemi Sanusi as its chairman, Amosun’s faction backed Derin Adebiyi as the state chairman. The two camps are still laying claims to the leadership of the party in the state.
It’s battle between Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu’s camp and that of a former governor of the state, Adamu Aliero.
Despite the coming into office of a new National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party’s crisis in Kebbi State is far from over as Senator Adamu Aliero’s faction is not ready to sheath sword unless their demand is met.
Crisis erupted in the party following disagreement between Bagudu’s faction and that of Aliero.
The party became factionalized in the state after Aliero’s side accused Bagudu’s faction of unfairness by removing those loyal to Aliero in the leadership hierarchy of the party during the last wards, local government and state congresses.
In Akwa Ibom, the party has always been struggling to survive, especially when put side by side with the all-towering PDP.
Even the defection of former Governor Godswill Akpabio to the APC which was heralded as a positive sign to the party, as he was expected to bring his towering political acumen and grit to help the party take over governance of the state, has not helped the party to succeed.
Unfortunately, this may never happen as the APC is already divided against itself due to its leadership crisis.
While some party members want Senator Akpabio to take over the leadership of the party, others prefer the immediate past APC National Caretaker Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, who has always headed the party.
Adamu’s management of primaries will determine APC’s survival – Kari
An associate professor of Political Sociology at the University of Abuja, Dr Abubakar Umar Kari, said the main challenge before the Adamu-led NWC was how to create a real party.
In an interview, Kari told this paper that the new NWC must work hard to address the crises tearing its state chapters.
“The new APC national leadership is, as expected, wholly comprised of the anointed of the godfathers, and that’s the first challenge facing them: they come from and represent several and different tendencies and groups and interests. Trying to crystallize and forge a common front and agenda may not be easy.
“More than eight years after its emergence as a fusion of the so-called legacy parties, APC is still a shaky collection of disparate groups, each with its distinct identity, antecedent and objectives, which often contrasts or even contradicts those of others,” he said.
The university don said the inability of the various tendencies to fusion into one was responsible for the endless and intractable bickering, division and crises within the party, particularly in state chapters.
“Each of the groups is jostling to dominate its rivals and control the party machinery for its benefit, especially with 2023 polls looming.
“A huge challenge facing the new leadership is how to create a real party out of the existing amalgam, and resolve the problems tearing the chapters apart.
“But by far the biggest challenge Abdullahi Adamu and others will face sooner than later is the forthcoming party primaries – particularly the presidential primaries.
“The smooth and successful conduct of the primaries – or otherwise – may largely determine the fate and future of the party in 2023 and beyond,” he said.
He added that the new leadership must manage the primaries well, especially its outcome and aftermath, otherwise the party risks imploding.
By Ismail Mudashir, John Chuks Azu (Abuja), Clement A. Oloyede (Kano), Abubakar Auwal (Sokoto), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Haruna Gimba Yaya (Gombe), Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Mumini AbdulKareem (Ilorin), Peter Moses (Abeokuta), Aliyu M. Hamagam (Birnin Kebbi) & Iniabasi Umo (Uyo)