The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, seems not to be nearing an end soon.
President Muhammadu Buhari had a few days ago reportedly approved the removal of Mai Mala Buni as the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and ordered Governor Bello Sani of Niger State to take over the affairs of the party.
The decision of the President to intervene in the affairs of the party has set off reactions that threaten the planned national convention.
Rather than members of the party to close ranks, the tussle within the party has intensified. Last week, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State called some APC governors “yahoo yahoo”, while Buni and Bello have been engaging in power tussles.
Governor Nasir El-rufai had also claimed that the President had approved the removal of Buni and alleged that the Yobe State governor was a victim of certain persons within the party.
El-rufai, while speaking on Politics Today on Channels TV, said the Buni-led committee had received a court order barring it from carrying out the convention but refused to make the order public.
Further, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had rejected the notice of NEC meeting of the party, unless Buni signs the letter of notification.
El-rufai also claimed the President had given the governors the name of the preferred candidate for the position of National Chairman and the man is from North Central. According to several sources, the former Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu is the preferred choice of the President.
Tanko Almakura, also a former governor of Nasarawa State, and a contender for the position of National Chairman, has refused to back down for Buhari’s choice.
In the midst of this crisis, President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, stirred the nest, when he said the APC is drifting towards the path of the PDP, a party he said failed for 16years and also failed in opposition.
Austin Okai, a member of the PDP, flayed the President for the comment, noting that the PDP has been able to always resolve its crisis because it has an internal conflict resolution mechanism.
Okai said: “The man (Buhari) is clueless about the situation in the country. What is the direction for that statement? We have been able to manage our crisis. We have held several conventions. Is the President not aware that Buni is receiving salaries as Governor and party head? Your ability to manage misunderstandings is what distinguishes you.”
How PDP has been able to deal with its crisis and the approach of the APC in conflict resolution:
The PDP has had 16 National Chairpersons between 1998 till date. While in power, the party had 10 chairmen in 17years (1998 when the party was formed to 2015 when it lost out).
During PDP’s stay in power, presidents played prominent roles in the appointment and removal of Chairmen from office. Audu Ogbe was reported to have been asked to resign by President Obasanjo. In all, Obasanjo used 4 chairpersons in 8years.
The tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan witnessed the unprecedented turnover of Chairmen; Vincent Ogbulafor, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Haliru Mohammed, Bamangar Tukur, and Adamu Muazu.
While the APC in 8years of existence has had five National Chairmen, Bisi Akande, John Oyegun, Adams Oshiomole, Buni, and Bello. All were forced out, except Bisi Akande.
Recent internal strife in both parties…
Since becoming the opposition party in 2015, the PDP has had two major crises at the national level: Ali Modu Sheriff and Uche Secondus.
The brief stint of former governor Sheriff almost caused the party to disintegrate in the aftermath of the 2015 election.
Sheriff, who was invited by the PDP to help rebuild the party after the defeat at the poll in 2015, soon had a fallout with the PDP governors.
It took the verdict of the Supreme Court in 2017 to finally remove Sheriff as the Chairman of the Party. He had approached the court to ask that Sen Ahmed Makarfi’s election at the Port Harcourt convention be nullified.
Another crisis that rocked the party was on the part of Uche Secondus. The former Chairman had a fallout with his erstwhile benefactor, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
After his (Secondus) suspension by his ward, the party was engulfed in crisis, and legal action threatened the planned convention of the party.
The governors of the party had to unite to conduct a convention. Many have hailed the PDP’s ability to resolve internal strife, an ability the APC seems to lack
APC and reluctant Buhari
The first substantive chairman of the APC, John Oyegun was forced out of the party after falling out with Bola Tinubu over the governorship primaries that produced Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
In a strongly-worded statement, Tinubu said “Oyegun and his ilk turn out to be gangsters adorned in the tunic of party authority.”
He accused Oyegun of planning to return the APC to the trenches.
Although he stayed till the end of his tenure in 2018, he could not seek re-election and was subsequently replaced by Adams Oshiomhole.
Mr. Oshimhole had a turbulent time as the Chairman of the Party. In the 2019 general election, he lost 4 states to the PDP, Oyo, Adamawa, Bauchi, and Zamfara State. The court barred the APC from contesting in Rivers State.
The former Edo State governor was at loggerheads with Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Abdulaziz Yari, and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, all had plans to replace themselves with anointed successors.
Oshiomole met his waterloo when he attempted to prevent his State Governor, Godwin Obaseki from getting a second term ticket.
He was suspended by his ward, therefore, forced out of the Chair. President Buhari’s intervention produced Buni.
Mr. Buni was given the mandate to hold a convention 6 months after his appointment; 2years after, he has been unable to do so.
The inability of the President to react swiftly enough has been blamed for the state of affairs of the party.
The question that remains: will the president be able to call members of his party to order amidst the ambitions of major members of the party?