“Too many cooks, spoil the broth” is a popular idiomatic expression in English which in literal translation means when there are too many people involved in trying to do the same thing, the final result will not be good. That best captures the current situation of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). With latest developments in the party, analysts, including concerned members of the party have expressed the views that the party may not survive even before the 2023 general elections.
Speaking with our correspondent, one of the national leaders of the party who does not want his name in print had said the current crisis in the party has gone beyond the rift between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the party’s National Chairman who was sacked from office on Tuesday by the Court of Appeal and Governor Godwin Obaseki, who has already resigned his membership of the party and is on his way to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to him, many of the party’s stalwarts who are nursing presidential ambition in 2023 are already taking positions to install their loyalists in the national leadership into strategic positions of the party so as to have an advantage at the appointed time.
His position was also corroborated by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos state and the party’s national leader. In a statement he issued in April when Oshiomhole was on the verge of kissing his position goodbye, Tinubu said those who have the ambition to become President in 2023 and see Oshiomhole as a stumbling block to the realisation of their ambitions are behind the former Edo governor’s ordeal.
Tinubu also described the inordinate ambitions of some elements in the APC who contributed less than him to bringing the party on board as an old virus worse than the coronavirus pandemic with no known cure yet.
“While Corona has been presently contained in Nigeria, we must be alert to another sickness that seems rampant within a certain segment of society. That sickness is old Ambition-virus 2023. This illness afflicts many in the political class along with their allies in the media.
“The more a person obsesses over and constantly engages in political manoeuvring is a warning sign. Not only is he prone to the 2023 virus. He likely has little to offer in the way of good governance. He wants to hold public office that you might serve him not he serve you. For if he had adequately studied and been acquainted with the ways and means of progressive governance, he would be focused on that important task at the present moment. He certainly would not drown himself and all around him in harmful political intrigue.
“It is against this backdrop that we should view the present ploys and plots to undermine the APC National Chairman. The Chairman is human; thus, he has his merits as well as his flaws. Yet his humanity cannot be grounds for his dismissal. If so, the position will forever go vacant.
“The Chairman has been a tireless campaigner and mobilizer for the party. He has steered the party through difficult elections. His contributions should not be undervalued now that the bulk of elections are behind us. To do so would be an act of ingratitude. It is no secret that the Chairman and Edo Governor Obaseki are in dispute. This is unfortunate.
“However, the party has moved through proper procedures within the proper organs of the party to hopefully resolve this spat. All party members know this. Such decisions are part and parcel of internal party governance. Yet, motivated by ambitions that have nothing to do with the quality of the Chairman’s performance, people shunned the agreed party reconciliation mechanism and resorted to other means to oust him. These self-help attempts are unwarranted. These attempts reveal more about the mala fides of their perpetrators than they do about the Chairman”.
Some of those who have been rumoured to be angling to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 are Tinubu himself, Vice- President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation.
With Oshiomhole’s ouster on Tuesday, the battle for the control of the of the party became messier as there is an intense struggle for the seat of the acting chairman. Though the party in a statement said it has appointed the Deputy National Chairman (South), Abiola Ajimobi as Acting National Chairman, the position was challenged by the Deputy National Secretary Victor Giadom, who said the appointment of Ajimobi as Acting National Chairman was illegal and unconstitutional. He referred to a subsisting court order issued March 16, 2020 by Justice S. U. Bature (FCT /HC/M/6447/2020) as basis for his ascension to the new office.
According to Giadom “That order could not be immediately effected at that time because of the temporary reprieve Adams Oshiomhole got from the court of appeal on the same day. However, having removed the temporary reprieve yesterday (Tuesday) by the court of appeal, and considering the fact that we cannot allow for a vacuum, I most humbly inform you that I have assumed office as Acting National Chairman of our great party in compliance with the order of the court.”
However, Eta who said he has the blessings of the party leadership to act in place of Ajimobi told journalists at the secretariat of the party in Abuja that his appointment was based on the realisation that Ajimobi was currently indisposed. He argued that his emergence as acting chairman was not only in line with the party’s constitution but was also ratified at the 45th meeting of the NWC held yesterday.
Eta who also declared the seat of Giadom vacant, said he (Giadom) resigned his membership of the NWC prior to the 2019 general elections to contest the polls in Rivers State, and could not, therefore, lay claim to the office of Acting National Chairman. He asked chieftains of the party from the South South geopolitical zone to close ranks and nominate a replacement for Giadom.
“According to the constitution of our party, in the event that the chairman cannot act in his office or cannot act in his capacity, the constitution provides that the Deputy National Vice Chairman, from his zone take over the reins of leadership. In this circumstance, His Excellency Senator Ajimobi, the Deputy National Chairman (South) is to take over from Adams Oshiomhole.
“But he is indisposed. So, under the circumstance, my colleagues, 15 out of 19, elected me as the Acting Chairman until His Excellency Senator Ajimobi takes the reins of leadership. I am speaking on behalf of Senator Ajimobi. We are going to conclude the Edo primary process and begin proper healing process of the party.”
Bemoaning the current situation in the party, the Director General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, lamented that the current situation the APC finds itself is very traumatic for every member, adding that more frustrating is the continued silence of President Muhammadu Buhari in the face of the ongoing crisis.
In a statement on Thursday, Lukman who said a national executive committee (NEC) meeting should be called over the party’s leadership crisis, added that the president’s silence as the party is embroiled in crisis could damage the legacy he would bequeath to the nation. “It is very clear we need an organ transplant by way of replacing the members of the current NWC who constitute the problem. That the All Progressives Congress (APC) is having a leadership crisis is no longer news”.
“What is news now is that the party is collapsing with no leader in charge. Following the appeal court ruling sustaining the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the party, late on Monday, June 16, 2020, members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party started making disparate claims as to who is the acting national chairman”.
“It is as if the party doesn’t have a constitution or those who operate the constitution are either ignorant of its provisions or have decided to set aside the constitution and just embark on a free for all fight. Yet, APC is the ruling party in Nigeria.”
“How can a party so blessed with experienced and very skillful leaders such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, Chief Tony Momoh, etc. be incapable of resolving the problem of leadership vacancy,” he said.
“The combined moral authority of President Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu should have involuntarily moderated the conduct of other leaders of the party, especially members of the NWC. Does the current APC leadership crisis therefore suggest declining moral authority of our two leaders? It is very easy to reach conclusions.”