A power struggle within the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has been going on for quite long. The Oshiomhole-Obaseki rift was just a peak of APC internal strife which became rife in March this year when a Federal High Court in Abuja suspended the party national chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Some view Oshiomhole’s removal as the national chairman as the obstacle to their 2023 political ambition.
Now, Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC has been dissolved. The party’s former national secretary and governor of Yobe state Mai Mala Buni was named Chairman Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Committee. Even though he has insider experience, the tasks ahead of him are now more challenging than when he left the national secretariat in 2019. The tasks ahead of the Buni committee are bigger because different camps feel alienated by the manner the former NWC was handling their grievances with impunity.
Therefore, the Buni committee is facing the very serious challenge in uniting the party which requires firm and clear decisions that will be in the best interest of the party. There is need for the caretaker committee to restore party discipline and respect of the party constitution. This will stem the drift and internal wrangling within the party before the mini convention, otherwise the party may witness more crises. You and your committee can restore the lost fortune of the governing party that was plunged into a leadership crisis.
The APC Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Committee should chart a new course with renewed commitment and dedication for the party to be more strong with the emblem of internal democracy and mutual understanding among leaders and other stakeholders. There is the dire need to achieve these tasks because finding lasting solutions to the party lingering crisis before the mini convention will write the name of your committee in gold in the annal of history.
A great and effective party is built on merit, true democratic principles and responsiveness to public concerns. APC still has the chance to become one. However, the committee should adhere to its terms of reference in bringing back peace to the party.
Issues that need urgent attention:
1. The Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Committee has the responsibility to instill discipline in the party and ensure strict adherence to APC Article 2: Supremacy of the party constitution. The Article provides that subject to the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and any other laws for the time being in force in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the provisions of this constitution shall be supreme, provided that where any rule, regulation or any other enactment shall, to the extent of its inconsistency, be null and void and of no effect whatsoever. This document leaves no room for any form of aberration or brigandage.
2. Article 20, subsection 10 of the party’s constitution, offences against it include: Filing an action in a court of law against the party or any of its officers on any matter relating to the discharge of the duties of the party without first exhausting all avenues for redress provided for in its constitution; need to use diplomatic approach in handling these issues to woo aggrieved members to take full advantage of the reconciliation committees the party has just put in place; need for aggrieved members to withdraw all court cases with a view to resolving any outstanding disputes. The Buni committee should understand that as a progressive party that needs to operate on the principle of change, the committee should keep to the rules in discharging its assignment.
3. The Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Committee needs to change one of the party’s greatest challenges which the former national executive committee did not strictly follow as the constitution of the party stipulates a mandatory meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) every three months (Article 25 B (i) of the APC constitution as amended.). Regular meetings are not only targeted at keeping the members abreast of developments, but also ensuring collective responsibility of decisions taken by the combined effect of the above provision and Article 18 of the APC Constitution, as amended.
4. The committee knows that from 2015 to 2019 the strength of the party in controlling state governments is weakening as the party lost more states than adding state in its fold of APC’s governors. it is obvious that the fortunes of the party are currently in jeopardy as the party lost control of Sokoto, Benue, Adamawa, Bauchi, Zamfara and now Edo to PDP.
The committee must understand the tasks ahead are tedious and diplomatic approaches are needed. Therefore, the test is to restore the party’s image among Nigerians to make the party wax stronger again; reconcile aggrieved party members; make APC win Edo and Ondo states’ forthcoming gubernatorial elections; ensure party unity; and organise transparent convention acceptable to all. Importantly, the APC committee must obey simple rules as contained in the party constitution and the caretaker members should avoid impunity and arrogance that brought APC to its present quagmire. 5. Mai Mala Buni led APC caretaker committee will face a huge test in the days ahead which will be of interest to many political observers, thus the pioneer party secretary needs to engage other party members. APC is a merger of four former parties plus a breakaway of the PDP. Therefore, there’s the need for urgent engagement with all aggrieved members from former parties. National leaders like Chief Bisi Akande, John Oyegun and Tinubu should be fully engaged. It is no exaggeration to suggest that it is a threat to the survival of the party if it does not fully co-opt party leaders and members.
Finally, Nigerians expects you and other members to be a team player and not to allow certain individual interests to supersede the well being of the party. As you said, you and your members are there to manage crisis because if not managed, crisis will manage your works as without justice there will be no peace. So, your committee needs to do justice to every APC member. Ordinarily, party members cast fear that certain party leaders that have made great sacrifices are likely to be frustrated. Nevertheless, APC as a governing party faces its greatest trying moments as result of its dwindling popularity. The committee should move quickly to put its house in order and get its acts together. Party discipline, party loyalty, and party cohesion should be sacrosanct and imbibed by members both high and low.
Dukawa writes from Kano via [email protected]