In the aftermath of its congresses and National Convention, the crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC became so pronounced, leading to the formation of the Reformed APC, and the defections in the Federal Parliament earlier this week.
On a general note, the party has embarked on several meetings with some of the aggrieved members with a view to resolving all gray areas.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi had said the series of meetings being held with such stakeholders by the leadership of the party including President Muhammadu Buhari were an indication of the desire of the party to keep its house intact.
“I am sure you are aware of all the efforts being made including at the level of Mr President. All these are indications of what is going on. So, the idea now is for everybody to rally as much as possible to prevent any defection.
Meetings are going on and we believe that at the end of the day, we will be able to persuade everybody to have faith in the party and to know that their interests will best be protected within the party. So, for us, we believe it is in our interest to keep as many people together as possible within the party. You also know that the national chairman met with the former Governor of Kano state, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso. We believe that all these efforts that are being made will in the end save the day for us”, he said.
In spite of the above, the nation had witnessed the defection of Sen. Kwankwaso and others this week. So, what are the practical measures being put in place by the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led APC to keep the broom together as one bunch ahead of the next general elections?
The first is the effort of the party to make concessions to many of those who lost out in the last Wards, Local Governments and States Congresses. Some stakeholders could not get their protégés to be part of the party executives that were formed at those levels, but the party leadership has proposed to drop some of the elected executive members and replace them with people from other political tendencies so as to have an executive that is fairly reflective of the various tendencies in such states. While this could throw up legal issues for the party, the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee NWC seem very determined to see the proposal through.
The test-run of of the proposal is to begin with Delta state where there seems to be no love most between the Olorogun O’rtega Emerhor group and the Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege / Chief Great Ogboru groups. while the former initially produced the chairman after the last congresses, the latter won its case via the judiciary. And so, at the swearing in of Prophet Jones Ode Erie as the new state chairman, Oshiomhole said; “In a democracy, you will be useful according to the amount of peace and unity you are able to help build in Delta state.
Given the overall circumstances that led to where we are, I will advise, and on a future date we will meet along with other stakeholders in Delta and without questioning the legal status of putting in place a functional state executive in Delta state…It will require that we make sacrifices where necessary, persuading people who, even in the eyes of the law are properly in office but in the spirit of give and take will be ready to offer to vacate so that we can co-opt other persons in a way that gives every stakeholder a sense of ownership and a sense of belonging. I believe we need that.
“I am very pleased to find that there are a number of leaders who have followed you here, but I also can see that these leaders are from a particular tendency. There are other tendencies there. We need to take affirmative action to be able to incorporate those who really are genuinely interested in seeing to the unity of the party and committed to replacing Gov. Okowa of the PDP with one of our APC members next year and ensuring that we have more senators, House of Representatives members and state lawmakers”, he added.
The main poser is the practicability of this proposal. Is the APC leadership going to, by way of a fiat, upturn some of the results of the last congresses? Is the party going to coerce or persuade “validly elected” officials to forgo their mandates?
While the party ruled out the possibility of offering second term “automatic tickets” to some of the aggrieved officials, it in the same breathe promised to do everything possible to retain those who remain very popular in their constituencies.
“Somebody asked if we are going to counter the PDP by offering automatic ticket and I asked, did we serve anybody a departure ticket? If we did not give you a departure ticket, how did the issue of return ticket arise? For me, we are clear that every legislator who has value and is at home with his people and not with the godfathers’s in their communities, that legislator is an asset to our party and this party will do everything possible to retain them”, Oshiomhole said.
Only yesterday, I said to the caucus of the Senate that my hope is that once we clean up the system and we are able to distinguish our left from the right and can now see clearly as people who believe in particular set of idea, our party must consciously work to achieve a situation where Nigeria will produce seasoned legislators and congressmen like we have in the US where a Senator McCain will speak and even a mad President listens. We must get there. But if it takes them 100 years to get there, we don’t have to wait that long. We don’t have to reinvent the will because we copy what is attractive and discard what is not.
The next measure is to wade into the disputes in the states.
He said; “My own findings arising from interactions is that it is true that there are a number of legislators who have some issues with their local forces in their respective states and not arising from the federal executives.
Those issues are local and because every politics is local, every solution to political problem should necessarily be local. The important thing is to identify the source of those problems, the parties involved in it, bring to the table and remind them of what bind the house together.
“So, if there are issues between anyone of our members and leaders with local forces across the 36 states, we have a duty to they and ensure that spark is properly extinguished. The good news is that no single persons that I have spoken to and share our core value of progressive politics that has no, let the fire burn. As a matter of fact, just with a phone call, a number of issues have been addressed and people are at peace and we will do more of that”, he said.
Party Discipline and Justice
The next thing is to ensure party discipline. According to the party chairman, in other to send clear signals out so that no one person or group can hold the system to ransom. “We have tried to revisit our constitution and activate all the clauses that will help us to maintain unity and harmony within the house. I have said that for us to have peace and unity, we must fight for justice and fairness because peace and unity is an outcome of justice and fairness. If you do not address justice, we cannot preach peace because peace cannot be decreed, but the outcome of a process”.
Direct or Indirect Primaries: Which way forward, APC?
The ruling APC recently adopted Direct Primaries for its just concluded governorship primary election in Osun state. The issue has generated fierce debates within its own rank.
While the party is trying to keep itself united, this is one issue that is capable of derailing her reelection campaigns. Does the APC only use direct or indirect system when it favours the power that be.
While the system was used in Osun, the recent APC primary election for the Lokoja/Koton Karfe federal constituency saw less than 1, 000 voters, implying that the indirect primary system was used.
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