Emmanuel Ani in Ado Ekiti and Francis Moses in Lagos look into the issues polarising APC further since the NASS induced party crisis
The growing crisis in the All Progressives Congress, APC, took a cancerous dimension during the week with the Southwest wing of the party drawing faulted the appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari, calling them ethnic- based. Throwing the barbs are the chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) South West states, who in a statement expressed their displeasure with the pattern of appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Though Spokesman of the Lagos Chapter of the party, Mr Joe Igbokwe denied the reported press statement credited to the chairmen form the zone to the effect that all of the appointments made by President Buhari had an ethnic slant, as they have all been from the core North and all of them northern Muslims except his spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, all is not well with the party. The UNION has learnt that the reported release was a true reflection of the feelings in the party in the zone soon after the letter of the same slant came from former Chairman Bisi Akande rattled the leadership of the party and set the zone against the entire north. In the said joint statement issued during the week, the Chairmen vowed to resist any attempt by what they referred to as some elements in the party to humiliate the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The group also vowed not recognise the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate President, and Yakubu Dogara as Speaker of the House of Representatives, until the party resolves the crisis in the National Assembly until the duo apologise to Tinubu. Chief Henry Ajomale (Lagos), Prince Gboyega Famoodun (Osun), Alhaji Roqeeb Adeniji (Ogun), Chief Akin Oke of Oyo State, Chief Olajide Awe (Ekiti) and Mr. Isaac Kekemeke, (Ondo) reportedly signed the letter.
Tinubu had rejected the emergence of Saraki, insisting that the Senate President should apologise to him for the ‘Senate coup’, before the issue and solution to it can be discussed. But Tinubu, who controls the party in the South-West, seems to be alone on this matter as President Buhari and key APC officials had accepted Saraki and Dogara as NASS leaders. This has further infuriated party laeders in the Soutthwest, all baying for Saraki’s blood.
Echoing a similar hardline on Channels TV during the week, Lagos Spokesman of the local party, Joe Igbokwe said the Southwest wing would do all in its powers to remove Saraki from office. When his interviewer drew his attention to the Constitutional provision that say members and not the party shall on the floor of the National Assembly elect their officers , Igbokwe dismissed the question by saying the Nigerian reality dictates that elected and appointed members respect party position on all matters. Not many are amused by the stance of the Southwest wing of the party.
They are trying to prevent what they so far term an attempt to humiliate their leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. In another development the Ekiti State chapter of the Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation, a political group of the National leader of the APC, Senator Tinubu has restated that the principle of ‘party supremacy’ must not be compromised in settling the National Assembly leadership brouhaha.
ANF also advised the Chief John Odigie- Oyegun-led National Working Committee to quickly come up with modalities that would curtail desperate individuals within APC from subverting the principle for egocentric motives, with presumption that such could have a pernicious effect on the party in future polls.
A statement in Ado Ekiti recently by its State Coordinator, Mr. Adeleye Akintola, the group had hailed the position canvassed by President Buhari that party superiority over any member takes preeminence in the party to arrest any drift in APC, as happened to PDP. The group further stressed that the current crisis rocking the National Assembly through the elections of Senator Saraki and Hon Dogara as President of the Senate and Speaker, House of Representatives, respectively, would have been avoided, if the party supremacy principle was strictly adhered to.
It will be recalled that the APC Governors’ Forum, had mandated Governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo States to mediate in the bedlam rocking the National Assembly between Saraki/ Dogara and Senator Ahmed Lawan / Femi Gbajabiamila groups.
The group stated that the inability of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party to enforce the principle led to its abysmal failure during the 2015 presidential elections and that such would not be tolerated in APC. “All over the world, party’s supremacy is taken as the bedrock of democratic development. It does not only allow for the deepening the democratic culture, it helps in instilling discipline, coherence and stability in the system for the elected officials on such platform to be able to meet the expectations of the populace, particularly in a country like Nigeria that is facing multifaceted challenges.
“It is not gainsaying the fact that the APC leaders like President Buhari, Asiwaju Tinubu, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Owelle Rocha Okorocha and many others exhibited unwavering zeal during the electioneering campaign to turn around the fortunes of this country for good.
“Their glowing determination, coupled with the self –dignity and spartan lifestyle of President Buhari brought about the landmark record-breaking achievement in the history of our nation, where a powerful and seemingly indomitable sitting President was defeated by opposition party. “We believe that the members of the National Assembly would have created a solid platform through which President Buhari can hit the ground running, rather than resorting to personality clashes and ethnic cleansing in a bid to rubbish certain figures in the party and rob them of the fruits of labour”.
The body, which warned some members of the Southwest caucus against being used by desperate politicians against their leader, said since Nigeria’s pre-independence political era, the Southwest had been known to always submit to leadership. • Otunba Henry Ajomale • Prince Gboyega Famoodun • Alhaji Roqeeb Adeniji “The late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo held the political leadership of the zone for decades. This tremendously helped in launching the zone to reckoning and built a united front through which they successfully fought for their rights despite being in the opposition.
As Yoruba is presently constituted, Asiwaju Tinubu remains the natural leader of the APC in the Southwest and also highly placed among the ranks of respected leaders at the national level. This he had displayed from the time of Alliance for Democracy to Action Congress of Nigeria and to the present APC, when he was the rallying point for the progressives in the zone. “Asiwaju Tinubu has done so much for the progressives in the Southwest.
He has paid his dues and deserves to be protected at all times. History we never forget his role in the making of ex-governor Kayode Fayemi and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the governors of Ekiti and Osun States, respectively. “His enormous political astuteness and sagacity brought about the reclamations of Ogun and Oyo from the PDP. His role in maintaining the Lagos State for the progressives in spite of the onslaught of the PDP and the inroad the party is making into Ondo State , have also been incredible.
“But we are assuaged by the fact that Leaders from the zone like: Governors Rauf Aregbesola, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajimobi, Opeyemi Bamidele, Dele Alake, Olorunnibe Mamora, Ikuforiji Adeyemi, and others too numerous to mention are still showing loyalty top this great man of our time”, it concluded. It should be noted that so far, Buhari since being inaugurated on May 29, has made 11 appointments, out of which only one is from the South West.