Can APC survive internal bleeding?

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[FILE]President @MBuhari at the State House meeting with the APC Governors Forum, led by Forum Chairman, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State #AsoVillaTodayPhoto: Twitter/NGRPresident

The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the method to adopt for its party primaries shows that nothing has changed in the way politicians carry themselves. The old political culture is still looming large. Rigging is still believed to be a potent way to gain political power. Money is still at the centre of political maneuvering and upsetting the apple chart.

But one thing that is obvious, which cannot be denied is that Nigerians are wiser now. The days of playing on people’s intelligence are over. Those who think money is the instrument for conquering can bring the money – people will take it and still vote them out. This is the new enlightenment.

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It is disheartening how the mild disagreement in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over how to conduct party primaries has degenerated into a full blown malady that could truncate whatever plans the party has for the 2019 general elections. True to the manner of political insubordination in Nigeria, the diehards within the APC may have ruptured the party’s jugular. There is serious internal bleeding and urgent emergency treatment is needed to save the APC before it slides into coma. That would be unprecedented for a ruling party in Nigeria.

Those responsible for the rupture seem to be oblivious of the consequences. Or, somehow, they are fully aware of where they are dragging the party. For as moles they don’t care. We are dealing with a political culture that lacks integrity. What matters is the upper hand one gains in terms of wealth and power.

In this battle of wits, fingers are pointing to the new party Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, as the architect of the crisis. But in all honesty, Oshiomhole has not done anything to warrant being accused and blackmailed. One thing is that he is used to leading labour men and women who could obey him, but not used to leading politicians who don’t take instructions and don’t obey. Comrades and politicians are totally different. Oshiomhole may be at loss as to what to do. The opposing politicians are ready to slug it out with him so long as they get what they want. They don’t care about his threats.

While both President Muhammadu Buhari and Adams Oshiomhole are more interested in instilling discipline in the party by way of curbing corruption in choosing candidates for their party, the party men, who were bred in money politics and know how to buy delegates to vote for them or their cronies are vehemently opposed to anything that would truncate their already hatched plans. They are ready to sink the boat rather than let that happen. That is the dilemma of the APC that has slated its primaries between September 15 and October 6, 2018. So, where is APC going from here?

The past week was awash with news of different states deciding to use indirect primaries in choosing candidates for the elections. It all began the earlier week after the National Executive Council (NEC) of the APC at its meeting adopted direct primaries for the president and indirect method and consensus for governors, state Assembly, House of Assembly and Senate.

Barely 24 hours thereafter, the acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, countered the NEC resolution and stated that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had that all primaries must be by the direct method.

In a sharp reaction, the chairmen of all the 36 state chapters and FCT rejected Nabena’s announcement and even threatened to pass a vote of no confidence in what they called Oshiomhole-led NWC over its decision to adopt direct primaries in all the states. They accused Oshiomhole of running the party like a cabal. If the party is supreme, its decision should be binding on all members including governors.

With the die cast, no state seems to buy the idea of adopting direct primaries. Each state has gone ahead to make unilateral decision to adopt the indirect primaries, which favours the governors in particular.Many states across Nigeria have held stakeholders meetings and adopted the indirect primaries (using apparently compromised delegates), in total disregard and contravention of the decision of the national leadership of the party. Some of the states include Kano, Adamawa, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Ondo, Imo, among others.

What is playing out is total anarchy within the APC. It is a spat on the face of the APC leadership, which seems to have lost control of its members. The party has no cohesion. Every state is doing what it likes. This is dangerous for a party that is fighting a battle of survival given the disenchantment among the people. How could APC contest in the elections with so much division? The question being asked is whether or not the APC leadership is going to succumb to the whims and caprices of the governors.

As a party, the APC has goals and objectives it is pursuing. Those goals and objectives cannot be realised except the party has unity of purpose. Among the goals is for President Buhari to win reelection. There is strong opposition against Buhari coming back in 2019. The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) of which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is at the forefront is a formidable force that cannot be ignored. The same PDP has some political heavyweights out to dislodge Buhari and the APC.

It is discomfiting that the APC leadership and its associated state chapters led by the governors are working at cross purposes. Could this be a predetermined path to oblivion for a party that so much raised the hope of Nigerians in 2015 but turned out to preside over pain, hunger, poverty, deaths and insecurity that have hobbled Nigerians?

Indications that the decision to adopt direct primaries is from President Buhari, to weed out corruption, has not helped matters. The mere fact that the dissidents are not afraid of Buhari, who presides over the party, says much about how far the fear of Buhari has waned even among his party men. Prior to 2015, the mention of Buhari as a potential president sent shivers in people’s spines. That no longer is the case. How else do we know a party heading to the edge given the myriads of problems facing it?

It is baffling how the APC is descending to point of no return. For not even the PDP at the peak of its implosion in the run up to the 2015 elections, was so divided. The PDP was able to present a common front in 2015 but lost due to mass discontent and mass defections of its henchmen.If the APC fails to unite in its primary elections, there would be parallel elections in most states that would drag the opposing members to court while the other parties focus on the election proper. I am afraid that the APC would not be able to come off it before the people vote the parties of their choice in 2019.