By Edwin Ikinmwin
ON August 27, the news media widely published the press statement issued by Chief Tom Ikimi announcing his resignation from the All Progressives Congress, APC. In the statement, Chief Ikimi chronicled his stewardship in the APC and his hard work towards the formation of the party. He further discussed his ambition to be the chairman of the party and the reasons he failed.
In the process, he accused the governors of the APC, prominent members of the party and its current chairman, Chief Oyegun of conspiracy to thwart his ambition to become the chairman of the party. He further accused the party elders of being cowards in not being able to confront Asiwaju Tinubu over his so – called domineering posture in the party.
It should be conceded that Chief Ikimi has the right to aspire to any office in the land especially when in his opinion he has worked hard for it. Furthermore, he has a right to be frustrated and to express such frustration in whatever way he liked for failing to achieve his objective.
However, he does not have the right to discredit respectable Nigerians just because he could not achieve his ambition.
Ikimi’s letter is a validation of why he could not be elected chairman of the APC despite his supposed hard work. An examination of the contents of the letter may reveal the reasons Ikimi could not become chairman of the APC in a free and fair election devoid of imposition. Reading from Ikimi’s letter and an unbiased review of the membership structure of the APC, one can identify at least five power centres; the Buhari bloc, Atiku bloc, Tinubu bloc, the Governors’ bloc and others. None of these voting blocs in the party, acting alone, has the capacity to dominate the others.
Decisions like the appointment/election of the party chairman and other party executives will require the consent of all the voting blocs or majority of them to be successful. In the absence of executive presidential powers as in the PDP, Tinubu has to be a superman/magician to be able to coerce the other four voting blocs to impose any candidate or decision on the party.
It is therefore self evident that the victory of Chief Oyegun and other members of his executive committee could only have derived from their popularity and acceptance by all or majority of the stakeholder groups of the APC.
Party politics and election usually involve negotiations and horse trading. This is a legitimate component of the political process and to characterize such as conspiracy against an aspirant to any office is suggestive of ignorance of the political process and tyrannical arrogance by Chief Ikimi. It ought to be recalled that Chief Ikimi has not won any electoral contest since the beginning of the current civilian democratic dispensation. His appointment as the chairman of the NRC during the military transition programme could be attributed to the influence of his high military contacts at the time.
Chief Tom Ikimi has by his own admission accepted that he has a personality trait that others perceive as arrogance which consequently repels people from him. If he knows this about himself, then he should work to change that perception rather than attribute his failure in an electoral contest to a phantom conspiracy theory.
He might be a very successful worker but he needs to be popular to be accepted by voters whether in a general election or party election. It does not require a seer to know that in a political contest between Chief Oyegun and Tom Ikimi the victor will be Oyegun because Oyegun has a more amiable personality. A historical match up of the past electoral contest between Oyegun and Ikimi shows Oyegun to be the better of the two. Oyegun as the gubernatorial candidate of the SDP defeated Ikimi locally in Edo State and also beat Ikimi nationally when Oyegun’s candidate MKO Abiola won the presidential election by beating Ikimi’s NRC.
Chief Oyegun and Ikimi are both independent and objective in their views but while Ikimi is militant and combative tending towards arrogance, Oyegun is persuasive and amiable.
It is a sad commentary on the Nigerian political elite that Chief Ikimi is leaving APC not because of any major ideological or policy disagreement but rather because he did not emerge as chairman of the party. What a myopic arrogant and selfish proposition.
In the course of his lengthy letter Chief Ikimi exhibited deliberate amnesia or propagated unqualified falsehood when he stated that he had been in the ACN, AC, and APC for 13 years struggling to form a credible opposition platform.
·Mr. Edwin Ikhinmwin, a public commentator wrote from Lagos