A Fractured And Bleeding APC – My Earlier Predictions -By Chief Mike A. A. Ozekhome, SAN
Events currently happening within the APC which suggest a political implosion have now forced me to recall my Nostradamic prophetic periscope of the APC as far back as 30thMay, 2015, a day after President Buhari’s government was inaugurated. I followed this up in June, 2015. In all, I predicted the present schism within the party; some even before the elections, upon its formation. I did some in Sunday Telegraph; some in Wednesday Sun, wherein I maintain weekly columns. Kindly read with me:
On 30thMay, 2015, a day after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President, I wrote the following piece:
“ERA OF DECAMPMENT
THE MANY REASONS ADDUCED BY POLITICIANS
“To justify, or give some form of moral authority for their defection from one party to the other, Nigerian politicians (sorry, politricians), have serially advanced various and varied reasons for crossing the carpet. Some of these reasons are weird, outrageous, and inane. Some are banal, others altruistic. Yet, some are selfish, egotistic, opportunistic, nonsensical, or simply stupid and idiotic. Let us look at some of the reasons adduced by some political decampees and leave the world to judge where they place in history…
“PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI
The bug of decampment also nested on the bed of President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari was the CPC Presidential candidate in the 16thApril, 2011 general election, running against ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, of the PDP, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of the ACN, and Ibrahim Shekarau of the ANPP. They were the major contenders among 20 contestants. In February, 2013, at the merger of parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC), Buhari brought in his CPC, and gave his reasons for accepting the merger of his CPC, with ACN, ANPP and a splinter group of APGA, as follows:
“We must explore every opportunity to save our country. This is a historic moment when several different political parties have resolved to come together to change Nigeria for the better.We must seize this moment that calls for patriotism and sacrifice; it is time to sacrifice everything such as time, resources, ambition and ego for greater tomorrow.”
“Good talk. The merger did excellently well. But, it is doubtful if Buhari would have remained in APC, had the presidential ticket been won by Atiku, Kwakwanso, Ndah-Isiah, or Okorocha. One thing I admire about him, though: he is focused, with his eyes ever on the ball, like Abraham Lincoln, who failed in life serially, but later emerged one of America’s greatest Presidents. Buhari wanted to be President, not just the Head of State he was between 1983 and 1985. He fought for it. He worked. He sweated. He persevered. He failed in 2003, 2007 and 2011, challenging his losses up to the Supreme Court, on each occasion. He even wept publicly. He later vowed never to contest again. But, like the proverbial phoenix, he contested again and rose from his ashes of serial political losses, to defeat GEJ, an incumbent President. His mantra is “change”. Change means to become different. Can he effect it? Will he? Dare he? Only time and his actions will tell.”
“THE POLITICAL RUMBLE IN THE LEGISLATIVE JUNGLE
OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
On 28thJune, 2015, I wrote:
“Tuesday, June 9, 2015, witnessed an earth-shaking rumble in the parliamentary jungle of Nigeria’s National Assembly. Nigeria was kept in a state of suspended animation. There was tension, palpable tension. The rippling effects were later to snowball into fisticuffs and pugilism, the type that certainly made Ali and Foreman’s “rumble in the jungle” pale to near insignificance. What went wrong? How did Nigeria find herself in this wanton exhibition of legislative rascality, adult delinquency and signs of democratic hara-kiri?
“The June 9-event promptly instigated party realignment, demystified some towering APC tin gods, oxygenated an otherwise gasping and prostrate PDP, that was already haemorrhaging from self-inflicted wounds. It altered the delicate political equation of the PDP and APC, and sent the right seering signals of the real “change” Nigerians expect from President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB)’s nascent Government. This incident and subsequent developments constitute an acid test of party supremacy and legislative independence.
“Baba Sala and his Alawadakerikeri troupe would have been green with envy at the histrionics and melodramatics of the events that played out. The Kings danced naked in the village square. The “egugun” masquerades were publicly derobed and the so-called doctrine of party supremacy (which ought to really work in a Parliamentary system), was shredded to smithereens, and shown for the myth which it is.
“FACTORS THAT THREW UP SARAKI AND DOGARA
EXISTENCE OF TOO MANY TENDENCIES
“The current challenges bedeviling the still inchoate and embryonically fragile APC can be located squarely within the orbit and matrix of its very conception, gestation and deliverance. The party is not the usual run-of-the-mill political party that sprang straight from the bowels of Section 229 of the 1999 Constitution. No. The party is an amalgam, a pot pouri, of variegated parties and individuals, that have tons of deferent political tendencies, cravings, ambitions, beliefs, idiosyncrasies and philosophy.
“The APC even harbours some entrenched caucuses within its fold. The defunct ACN led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, CPC led by Buhari, ANPP directed by Ogbonayo Onu, and a splinter group of APGA, led by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, pioneered this amorphous party. They were later joined by some very angry and frustrated PDP elements, who rebelled against the status quo that had denied them the joy of internal democracy within the then ruling PDP. This breakaway faction, otherwise called the “new PDP”, led by Abubakar KawuBaraje, had powerful and influential Governors like Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), RabiuKwankwanso (Kano), and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara). They came in to APC with their full arsenal of structures, supporters, hangers-on, opportunists, patriots, visions, missions, deep purses, organograms, influence, reach and goals. The cake was generously iced with the poaching of maverick and former Vice President, political titan, Atiku Abubakar, described by the BBC analyst, Aliyu Tanko, as the biggest catch of them all. The stage was therefore set for ego display and supremacy test. To be or not to be, became the question. The chicken and the egg, which came first, became the puzzle.
“It was only a matter of time before these deep internal contradictions sign-posted by a marriage of strange bedfellows and birds of different plummages, ato manifest and boil over. It will require careful political engineering, maturity, patience, forbearance, self-denial and interment of personal ambitions, before APC can settle down and match the cohesiveness and homogeneity of the PDP that managed to hold on to power for 16 years. Remember they had beaten their chest and boasted they would rule Nigeria for 60 years. The arrogance of power and internal schisms, and perhaps, “deux ex machina”, prevented this sit-tightism and imperial disposition.
“Another factor that threw up Saraki and Dogora is that some members of the APC deeply resent what they regard as “Tinubuasation” of APC. They argue that the “Lion of Bourdillion” (give him some credit and thumbs up for cobbling together these disparate groups), having pocketed the governors of Lagos, Osun, Oyo and Ogun States, thrown up the Vice president, professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and having also thrown up Chief John Odigie – Oyegun, as Chairman of APC, forcing Tom Ikimi’s angry exit, cannot again be allowed to quarantine off the 3rd and 4th positions in Nigeria. There was therefore an obvious gang up to decapitate his rising (some say, very overbearing), influence.
“THE DEADLY SPILL – OVER EFFECTS
Let it be noted, for the records, that much of the present near mortal injuries bedeviling the APC party are self-inflicted. APC must be very careful not to self destruct or self-immolate. The collateral damage will inexorably ricochet to Nigeria and her hapless citizens. This means that it must, whether it likes it or not, sleep on the same political bed with PDP to actualize its “change” mantra. What is more, neither Saraki nor Dogara can be wishfully removed by a wave of the hand, as they require a humongous two third majority votes of members of each House to do so (Section 50 (2) (c) of the 1999 Constitution). Let me emphasize also, that, except the unthinkable happens, the APC can never achieve this, as its Legislators are equally divided along the two lines of “Like Minds” and “Unity Forum”.
“The APC is currently boiling over. Its admirers are getting worried and ashamed of its inability to put its house in order. But, can APC really do this, when, inspite of its pretensions that PMB is the “unquestionable National leader” of the APC (Garba Shehu, SSA, media and publicity to PMB), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu actually looms large as the “National leader” of the party?
“It is clearly a case of two captains in a boat. It will rock and capsize. That the APC has lost its moral compass and regimentalising leadership influence over its representatives, played out with more force on Thursday, 26thJune, 2015, when both the Senate and the House engaged themselves in a game of musical chairs and a scandalous show of shame over leadership positions, not about re-engineering comatose Nigeria.
“…It appears that the APC party promoters had merely come together to uproot a common enemy (PDP), from power, without actually preparing for power itself. It is akin to board room gurus with the same mission to remove some board members, and having succeeded, turn the heat on each other, as regards sharing of positions. Sure, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and my enemy’s friend is my enemy.”
DRAWING THE CURTAINS
Fellow countrymen, to think that the above pieces were written over five years ago, with virtually everything therein having happened or now happening, is simply amazing, if not incredible. It shows that one does not need to be a Seer, Clairvoyant, Pastor, Imam, or an Oraculist to predict the political future of Nigeria. You only need to be a patriot; a fearless, conscientious, courageous, unbiased and uncompromised analyst and social critic. Almighty God, I thank you for depositing these qualities in humble me[To be continued]. Next week, we will look at “Tinubu’s mount Everest task of reconciling a fractured APC”, a piece I wrote on 14thFebruary, 2018 (almost two and a half years ago).
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
Fellow Nigerians, let us continue the unending national conversation with me here, next week, on “The Nigerian Project”, by Chief Mike A. A. Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FRIArb, Ph.D, LL.D.
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