By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Not since November,2014, when Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC had the political leaders who formed the party fawned around their man as they did last Monday. The occasion was the launch of the book: ‘Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria,’ a case study of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
The book was written by Professor John Paden, an American, who ironically is almost universally acclaimed as the greatest authority on the life of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the man who is today revered as one of the greatest political operators to have held sway under democratic means.
It is thus noteworthy that it has also fallen on Paden to articulate the pace and pattern of the country’s latest political power monger. For leaders of the APC, it would have been an opportunity to celebrate the successes and strides of the change government.However, that expectation was rudely overshadowed by the increasing disdain many of them are looking at the party platform.
Indeed, that the picture of the day for the newspapers was the handshake between the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu underlines the scepticism with which the world is now viewing the party.
That both men shook hands and subsequently avoided contact for the rest of the function despite sitting beside one another would underline the mutual hurt or sense of betrayal they may feel towards each other.
The Odigie-Oyegun–Tinubu face off, in any event, is only one of several fractures that are now testing the resilience of the ruling party. Though he was thrown up to the office of national chairman by the Tinubu tendency, there is no doubt as to which side of the power equation that the national chairman has now gravitated to.
The gravitation towards the increasingly powerful Buhari tendency may be at the heart of squabbles state chapters and power blocs, but it is certainly not the only reason. It was remarkable that party leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, in his
address at the Buhari book launch called for the reintroduction of history in the curriculum of schools. The call by Asiwaju which has been applauded, would also in the mind of some, be a reminder to all to remember how the ruling party was formed.
The history of APC, as one party insider told this correspondent, was laced in much sacrifice and stratagems by some of Nigeria’s leading political gods who resolved to do the unthinkable: unseat a sitting government.
From Sokoto toLagos, the political gods resolved to project Buhari who in three previous instances had failed in his presidential aspiration.
The god in Sokoto was Aliyu Wamakko, in Kano was Rabiu Kwankwanso; in the North-Central wasBukola Saraki, in the Southwest was Tinubu, in the NorthEast was Atiku Abubakar and so on. The meeting of minds of these men was what paved the way for the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the 2015 presidential election. It is not as if the gods were any way perfect, they all had their own deficiencies, but for once, they put aside their narrow interests for a collective one which ordinarily should have benefited Nigeria.
However, following their collective success and the inauguration of the new government, it remains an irony that most of the gods who facilitated the victory are muttering to have been left out of the power equation. For many of them, it has now become a linear equation; them and us.
Despite the reported withdrawal on Thursday of the Federal Government’s charges of forgery against him, would Saraki who was instrumental to swinging the tide to the APC in much of the North-Central not believe that he erred?
Atiku was not at the Monday book launch and explained his absence to the late arrival of his invitation, pointing out in a statement that he received his invitation about the moment the programme had already commenced.