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APC’s Shocking Naivety

Interestingly, while APC cried foul over the outcome of its naivety, President Buhari was quick to state, through Femi Adeshina, that the elections were constitutional

ACHILLEUS-CHUD UCHEGBU                         e-mail: achilleus.uchegbu@theunion.com.ng

I had always thought that APC was adept at its game. Now, I know better. It was shocking how a party that had such a number power, could so hopelessly manage its success so as to fail woefully before PDP’s superior brinksmanship. With the election of Sen. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as senate president and speaker respectively, APC showed quite clearly that it lacked capacity to manage success.

By scheduling a party meeting with its NASS members at 9am, on a day when the legislature was supposed to inaugurate at 10am, APC showed lack of tact and high level strategy deficiency. I am sure APC is aware that it deliberately handed PDP a strategic place of importance in the government. It may pay dearly for this. APC has been arrogant in victory. It had shown this by underestimating the power of PDP.

No doubt PDP is in the opposition, but by playing its cards badly, PDP was handed a vital hold on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. And with a Saraki, who in 2010 aspired to be president, as Senate President, APC ought to now know that its brand of imposition, via a contrived mock election, was classic error. APC contrived a primary election which now hunts it.

It will hurt it for a long time. However, what happened at NASS two days ago, does not appear simply as a revolt spurred by the moment. It was a continuation of a tactical de-linking of the Bola Tinubu holding on the party and its officers. The difference between PDP and APC, which makes PDP most preferred, is fact that PDP, unlike APC, is not personally owned. It is no one’s private garden. In APC, it is about the desires of the owner, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Everyone, even the north, is openly aware of this. They are also aware of Tinubu’s overbearing politics.

However, in electing to seek return of the presidency to the north, northern elites and politicians embraced APC, not for its ideological superiority over PDP, or its general acceptability and open processes; rather, it needed the platform as a special purpose vehicle to deliver the goods. The north chose APC having seen the presidential ticket of PDP locked out. Now, with the goods cleverly delivered, even in the midst of accepted irregularities, the process of gradually cutting APC’s owner to size began.

The process found expression in President Muhammadu Buhari’s position of belonging to no one and belonging to everyone. Those who are gifted in lip reading, knew exactly that with the declaration, the stage was set for a quick process of keeping Tinubu at bay. Here, Buhari gets the accolade for laying the foundation. He did not want anyone to see his administration as tied to the umbilical cord of Tinubu like Raji Fashola’s administration was, and Akinwumi Ambode’s will. Buhari would follow up on his promise of being for all, by openly declaring that he was not interested in who became senate president and speaker.

Classically, he pulled wool over Tinubu’s eyes; refusing to get involved in the clueless pursuit to install a national assembly leadership that would be tied to the cords of greatest political strategist that ever came out of southwest Nigeria after the discovery of the word, politics. APC acted foolish and refused to read the handwriting on the wall.

After severally denying, and telling lies, about not working to impose Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila through a contrived mock, it publicly declared on Tuesday, that Saraki and Dogara were not its candidates. It stated openly that Lawan and Gbajabiamila were. So, why the tour of lies since Saturday? Why hide under the façade of ruling party to force members into an uncomfortable bargain? PDP paid dearly for doing that.

So, why was APC unable to learn? Interestingly, while APC cried foul over the outcome of its naivety, President Buhari was quick to state, through Femi Adeshina, that the elections were constitutional. Buhari also tried a make-feel-good on APC when he said it would have been nice if the party’s position was upheld. Sure, it would have been nice just so as to help the party save itself. But having chosen to grow in lies, and seeking to create an administration that would operate from Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, the party shot itself badly.

For now, the NASS leadership is constituted. There is nothing APC can do about it. But they have an option –to use the Lawan group, with its touted number of loyal supporters, to frustrate Saraki and Dogara. If that comes in as option, then, APC would have effectively grounded itself and may go down in history as the most short-lived ruling party.

If it decides to expel Saraki, PDP is natural home. And that would mean a whole lot in the gradual eclipse of the party. So, without expecting it, APC is being retrieved from Tinubu. And that is important if it must deliver on the promises it made to Nigerians.

In the days ahead, Tinubu’s growing unpopularity within the APC north-led government would become more evident. This may lead to the gradual ostracism of the Vice President, who was a commissioner while Saraki was governor. The Vice President may end up just occupying office in fulfillment of a bargain because Buhari is most likely to defer to Senate President Saraki, than he would his deputy. I fear Prof may end up as errand boy. Saraki has experience as governor.

Remember, he was also chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum. So, his experience here would be needed by Buhari in managing that group of 36 men who have the potential to cause trouble, unsettle the federal government or even rule the federal government while refusing to govern their states. His experience in the national assembly will also be vital for Buhari much more than the vice President’s experience as Attorney General of a state.

If Buhari tilts more towards Saraki, it would come home as part of recommendations by elite northern leaders, who, it was alleged, had urged Buhari to offload Tinubu and ensure he does not appear as the face of his administration because of the some connotations that come with his image. However, the Tinubu decimation plot will not go so easily.

He will fight back. Fighting back will however be meaningless because nothing stops a mass defection. This is Nigeria. We had established a political culture of defecting with your office. So, if APC makes too much noise or worries Buhari too much, resurrecting CPC may be welcome. If the President decides to move to another party, it will be welcome. It will still be democracy at work. It will be victory for democracy. But, we haven’t gotten to that stage yet.

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