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APC – A house divided against itself

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APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole addressing pressmen on Ekiti State Election while Deputy National South , Otunba Niyi Adebayo at the Party Secretariat in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

By Mazi Sam-Ohuabunwa

IN Nigeria there are many prophets, mostly false prophets. But the effervescent dynamics of Nigerian political environment often gives them the opportunity to brag.

I asked one of such ‘prophets’a few weeks ago, who would win the World Cup and he told me it was going to be either Germany, Spain or Portugal. When these three teams got eliminated early in the tournament, I called this ‘prophet’ friend of mine to ask ‘how come?’and he told me that the Octopus on which he depended disappointed him. But this my friend called me last week and sounded triumphant and announced to me that his prophesy about APC splitting into factions has been fulfilled and requested me to withdraw my earlier classification of him as a false prophet. I ended the discussion by telling him that if predicting that APC would split into two or even self-destruct was an act of prophesy then, most Nigerian political watchers and analysts like me would also claim to be prophets as well.

How could anybody not see it coming? The Bible said centuries ago that a house divided against itself can not stand. And that if you sow to the wind, you will reap the whirlwind. APC was clobbered together as a vehicle in a determined effort by political power mongers to take power from Jonathan and his PDP. Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) led teams of this confederal group to go and invite his one time arch-enemy Olusegun Obasanjo to come and lead them to ‘rescue’ Nigeria from Jonathan’s ‘cluelessness’.

One would have hoped that once the mission of capturing power was accomplished the leaders of this amorphous congregation would take determined steps to begin welding the disparate groups together. But never. The first sign that the future was fraught with danger was the bad omen on the day the NASS was inaugurated. The President had signed papers to proclaim the NASS at its first sitting at 10am on that fateful date. At the same time, it was alleged that the same President called the party leaders including NASS members to a meeting at the International conference centre, Abuja.

It was when they saw on television that Dr. Olubukola Saraki was being sworn in as the Senate President, that the parallel meeting ended abruptly with legislators scampering and running to the National Assembly. In the meantime, the Senate had elected Saraki as its president and Dogara as Speaker of the House of Representatives. That pained leaders of APC to no end as these were not their preferred candidates. And everything Saraki and Dogara did thereafter to appease them, including juggling the other principal officers to accommodate the party’s desire failed. But the unforgivable sin committed by Saraki was that he allowed Ekweremadu of PDP to become deputy Senate president. Well I do not know what would have happened if PDP was bold and daring enough to have used its overwhelming majority that morning to take the Senate presidency. But I am sure there would have been a war in the Senate Chambers to forcefully remove such audacious president.

Indeed there have been wars in other ways to dislodge Saraki and Ekweremadu. First they were charged with forgery and illegal changing of the Senate rules to inaugurate the chamber. When that failed, they took Saraki to the the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, for failing to declare some assets he owned 15 years ago as governor. When they lost at the CCT, they appealed and got some support for three out of the 15 charges at the Appeal Court. Saraki went further to the Supreme Court who late last week quashed all the charges, setting Saraki free after nearly three years in court. A few weeks ago Saraki was to be arrested for allegedly sponsoring armed robbers who violently robbed banks in Offa in Kwara State. Saraki along with the serving governor of Kwara State were roped into the armed robbery case by the Nigeria Police under the leadership of IGP Ibrahim Kpotun Idris.

Were it not for the outcry of the media and notable Nigerians, Saraki would have been handcuffed as a common criminal and put away in detention, awaiting trial as alleged sponsor of such deadly armed robbery that took the lives of about 30 people. He was then asked to write his statement and I believe the case was slowed down waiting for the outcome of the Code of Conduct case in the Supreme Court.

Now that Saraki has been acquitted and discharged, may be the case would now be accelerated and charged to court. Much so, that Saraki is now being suspected as one of the sponsors of rAPC. Before that, Nigerians watched in amazement as hoodlums walked into the Red Chambers, picked up the mace as the Senate was in plenary and left unchallenged by the security forces. I hear this was part of a plot to impeach Saraki and Ekweremadu which again failed but further caused intra party dislocation. Not to talk of the efforts of the APC governments in Kogi and Kaduna to incriminate APC Senators Dino Melaye and Shehu Sani respectively.

While the campaign of APC against APC continued in both chambers of the NASS, of course with greater ferocity in the Senate, the President opened another front with Tinubu on who was the National Party leader. The President had to cut BAT to size when he admonished him to stop parading himself as the national leader of APC but to be content with being addressed as one of the national leaders since there can not be two captains in one boat. This rift caused instability for a while in the party and began to widen the gaps leading to further humiliation of BAT in Ondo State regarding choice of gubernatorial candidate.

The then party Chairman Odigie Oyegun rose in defence of PMB and another conflict front was opened between the party chairman and the defacto national party leader -BAT who was incensed by Oyegun’s betrayal. He then began a major effort to remove Oyegun from his position even before his term was up. PMB in an effort to reward Oyegun for helping him cut BAT to size, was at first willing to allow Oyegun and his Exco to extend their term but BAT rose like a wounded lion and pointedly asked PMB to chose to lose the next election (apparently by withdrawing his support for PMB) or ask Oyegun to go. Given the current patent weakness of the brand, PMB made an about turn and asked Oyegun and his Exco to go and hand over to Oshiomhole.

Oyegun felt injured but bore his pain with grit and took a bow, certain that the centre of the party would soon fall apart given the contradictions and stresses it has gone through since victory was achieved in 2015. Even the rapprochement between PMB and BAT which led to BAT being given the job of reconciler-in-chief failed to achieve its purpose. I do not know whether BAT even made any moves as it seemed Odigie Oyegun was set to sabotage his efforts from the onset. Then the cracks began to widen and we all began to hear the creaks from the cracks.

All of a sudden the nPDP was resurrected. One had thought it was dead buried and eaten up by ants after the ‘coup’ to sack Jonathan was completed.



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