By Kola AMZAT
Smarting from attacks from all angles, following the unsavoury letters from former President Olusegun Obasanjo and ersrwhile military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida, President Muhammadu Buhari has suddenly woken up to commission the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to lead reconciliation efforts in the APC.
As daunting the assignment seems, particularly coming close to electioneering activities ahead of 2009 – party elective convention, primaries and campaigns – we must commend the responsiveness of the president in bowing to popular opinion to return the party to vibrancy. This is the only option if the party must find its bearing and be set, once again, on the path of prosperity. Without mincing words, the key to orderliness in the party couldn’t have been with any other personality, other than the vessel through which the APC came into existence. We have no doubt that Buhari has done the needful by handing over the party to the founder to breath new life into the party and also unlock its potentials for the benefit of members.
Even though the president has played his own part by appointing Asiwaju to drive the rebuilding process, we must recognize the fact that the Jagaban is embarking on the assignment at a time the goodwill of the party has is at its lowest ebb. Of course, in the last two years, public opinion about the party and government is nothing to write home about. The APC, under the leadership of Chief John Odigie, couldn’t just manage its success. Immediately after the historic victory of the party in the 2015 presidential polls, the Edo chief practically went to sleep, thus leaving the party firmly in the hands of some young turks.
The first blow was the hijacking of the leadership of the National Assembly. And since that tragedy of June 9, 2015 at the National Assembly, the centre has never held, as the executive and legislative arms of government have operated like cat and mouse,with the latest face-off being the re-ordering of the 2019 elections schedule by the lawmakers to counter the one prepared by INEC, presumably, to suit their purpose and spite the president. The lawmakers have even threatened to pass the schedule reordering into law if the president vetoes what they have done. There are many other areas the lawmakers have needlessly remained confrontational to the president on issues, which ordinarily should have been resolved by the APC. Suffice to say that party discipline and respect for leadership which are the hallmarks of a progressive party have been thrown overboard.
It’s also important to mention that the president himself has not assisted the party, particularly with the many unilateral decisions he has taken in connivance with what has been described as a cabal within Aso Villa, especially in the area of appointments believed to have been skewed in favour of the North, with the North-West, the zone of Buhari, being the biggest beneficiary; the total neglect of the party and government’s poor response to the human carnage perpetrated by herdsmen across the country. It’s also generally perceived that the president has been very partial in his relationship with the component units of the nation. For instance, Buhari has not visited Lagos, Rivers, Oyo, Anambra, Borno and other strategic states in the country since his assumption of office. It is not the same relationship he has maintained with Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara and other states in the North-West.There are also pockets of discontentment amongst party members bordering on the treatment meted to them in form of abandonment, after they had deployed their resources to ensure the victory of the party in the 2015 general elections.
Presently, the governors of about eight states and their ministers and other prominent party members are at war. In Kano, Governor Ganduje is at daggers drawn with Senator Kwankwanso over the control of the party. Kaduna is torn between Mallam El-Rufai and Senator Sani over who should be in charge of the party. The situation is the same in Zamfara with Governor Yari and Senator Kabir Marafa who do not see eye to eye. Kogi is another battle front, where Senator Dino Melaye is fighting the battle of his life with Governor Yayaha Bello. In Oyo, the unpopular and ambitious Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, is dragging the machinery of government with Governor Abiola Ajimobi. And in Rivers, Mr Rotimi Ameachi and Senator Magnus Abe have been at daggers drawn over the last two years with the bone of contention being who Ameachi will endorse for the 2019 governorship race. These are myriads of issues Tinubu’s reconciliation committee is expected to battle with. As earlier mentioned, the challenges are daunting and onerous, considering the caliber of personalities involved and their individual egos, diverse ethnic backgrounds, beliefs and established traditions in each climes, the desire of the national assembly members to assert their independence not minding the fact that, party supremacy is paramount and essentially, president’s cabal to totally submit to the committee.
But in Asiwaju Tinubu we trust for the renaissance and placing the party back on the path of prosperity. Several years after he served as Lagos governor, he continues to flourish and blossom in the midst of established and very strong political dynasties that include the Dosunmus, the Akereles, the Adeniji Adeles, the Ogunlewes, the Adeniran Ogunsanyas, the Bensons, the Ajose Adeoguns, the Okunnus, the Gbajabiamilas, the Amzats, theOjoras, the Okoyas, the Agbajes, the Olusis, the Folawiyos and the Majekodunmis.
If peace and orderliness could prevail in Lagos political landscape over the years, the Jagaban has the capacity to replicate the Lagos model in the APC across the nation.
*AMZAT(FCA,FCIB,ACS,ACTIN,MBA) is CEO, WKA Consulting Ltd.