Uncertainty in APC as alleged neglect spawns internal crisis
Members in Adamawa, Kogi, Kano, Lagos, Taraba, others bare grudges
Aside from the fact that Nigerians are already losing hope in the capacity of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to move the country out of its present economic woes two years after it attained power, members of the ruling party are also grumblings that the party has neglected them.
The grumbling within the APC, according to The Guardian findings is not about the crises at the national levels but across the states, local government and ward levels in the country.
Ironically, those who believed that they laboured relentlessly to ensure APC victory over the erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 elections are beginning to wonder when and if the payday will come.
Prevalent in the party across the country are complains of neglect in appointments, lopsidedness in the way things are done, favoritisms, disregard and other internal wrangling capable of bringing down any organisation.
Interestingly, some members of the party now jokingly referred to one another as Internally Displaced Person (IDP) within the party; equating their fortunes to that of the victims of the Boko haram insurgents currently lodged across North East.
While the party leadership is at present entangled on how to resolve the face-off between the executive arm of government, which it controls and the National Assembly (NASS) dominated mainly by the party members, it is being weighed down by the fracas between some of its governors and their states representatives in the NASS.
In the case of Kogi, Adamawa, Kano, Kanduna, Edo there have been one problems or the other the South West crisis is worse where the party appears to have been divided along what is currently tagged: ‘Abuja boys versus South West leaders of the APC’
Recently, Mr. James Abiodun Faleke, the running mate to the deceased APC’s governorship candidate in Kogi, Prince Abubakar Audu warned that the party may be heading to precipice if its crisis is left unaddressed.
Few days ago, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, who represents Oyo State in the federal cabinet, accused the governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi of perpetrating impunity and injustice in the affairs of the state chapter of APC.
Shittu, while addressing journalists in Ibadan, cried out like Faleke did in Kogi, that the recent appointment of zonal leaders or Elders’ Advisory Council for the party in Oyo was unconstitutional and a clear attempt to make the state executive of the party irrelevant.
According to him, “It is so clear that there is no position of zonal leaders in our constitution. We must challenge that because it would eventually be used for sinister motives in the nearest future. The supreme structure for the state is the State Executive Council (SEC), which represents various parts of the state.
Shittu denounced the governor insisting that the interest of our people must be of utmost priority. “What is the motivation for that? Where do you put all our leaders who worked tirelessly for our success in 2015 elections? Why do you want to make them irrelevant to people you think will do your bidding? I don’t think it is patriotic,” he asked.
He said Ajimobi must respect the wishes of the state executive, particularly if what they are doing is in consonance with the constitution of the party. Nonetheless, he declared his interest to contest for the governorship election in 2019 but said he doesn’t want to be handpicked by anybody “as at today, the party is at a stage where the bubble may burst. The only power I have now is to speak out my mind to inspire people of like-minds. If I discuss with him with the rate things are going and he says no, will I have the moral backing to come to the open and start talking? For me, I think the party leadership at the highest level should intervene.
“People are frustrated; these are people who contributed to the emergence of the governor in 2011. If the executive have been doing some things which runs foul of the constitution, which I don’t see them doing as I see them as working towards the realization of the objectives of our dear party constitution, I think sentiments should be shared so that we should deal with it altogether.
Meanwhile, efforts to clear the allegations from the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Yomi Layinka failed as he did not pick his calls and did not respond to the test message sent to him, as at press time.
In another outburst, the minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Alhasan, cried out over the abandonment of the bulk of supporters of the party members in Taraba State.
Alhasan, who was the party’s governorship candidate in the 2015 election, led other members of the state chapter to the national secretariat in Abuja noted recently where she said it behooves on President Buhari to look into the crisis before it escalates.
She complained that apart from her appointment and that of the ambassadorial nominee, which are statutory and constitutional, “no any other meaningful appointment from the state was made.”
According to her, the APC members from Taraba are very worried because if the government at home is formed by the APC, I would not have been here in this capacity as a minister. I have come as a party member and a leader, together with my brothers from Taraba to air out our problems.
“The government in the state is controlled by the PDP and we expected that, you our parents and this government especially since you knew that we were muzzled out, we should have been helped because we did our best.
“No opposition party performed as good as we did since 1999 but unfortunately, apart from my appointment, which is statutory and constitutional, then that of the ambassadorial, we still do not have any meaningful appointment.”
She therefore warned the party leaders that if nothing is done to address the plight of her people “the fate of the party may be in jeopardy when the next election comes.”
She lamented further that even in the Federal Government projects, the party members from Taraba are not carried along. “I met the state party leader and was told that there is a federal government project going on and he complained that they are not involved. It is not that they don’t have qualified persons.”
However, the APC’s deputy national chairman Northern zone, Senator Lawal Shuibu, promised to liaise with the leadership of the party to address the issues raised by the minister after due consultations.
Adamawa State chapter of the APC is no exception from the grumblings currently ravaging the party as the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Adamawa, Abdurrahman Abba, recently threatened he may pitched his tent with the opposition should the Federal Government and the party continue to treat the state chapter with disdain.
Abba, who spoke during a visit by the APC national delegation led by Senator Abdulkadir Jajere, said the Federal Government had been treating Adamawa like an opposition state.
He said the Federal Government refused to consult the state on federal appointments, stating that some of the federal appointees from the state were strangers. The governor’s chief of staff called on the Buhari administration to retrace its steps and open its doors to stakeholders at the state level.
Said he, “We are loyal but tell the national secretariat of APC that there is limit to loyalty and that party business is optional. In fact, you have the right to change even your religion.
“So, tell the national APC, we are very loyal. But there is limit to that, especially if they are not recognising us since we are the army of the party that are supposed to enjoy the fruits of the party or, out of frustration, we join the opposition,” he said.
He alleged that some powerful individuals within the federal system diverted the funds for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) projects allocated to the state.
On the political alliance between former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Mohammed Umar Jibrilla, the chief of staff said he did not regret a recent statement in which he said the governor and his cabinet would support Atiku’s presidential bid.
He however, blamed the media for misrepresenting his statement at the launching of N4.6 billion Pariya-Malabu Road in Girei where he wished Atiku success in his presidential bid.
According to him, “Everyone knows that Atiku is ambitious. We said we wished him success over his ambition to become president of this country. But the newspapers reported that we said it was either Atiku or nobody.
“I was called by the Director of SSS that my speech caused alarm because I said I wanted Atiku to become president. I said I would say that a 100 times. If you are arresting people who say they want their own, you will arrest the whole of this country. Katsina for Buhari, Kano for Kwankwaso and Lagos for Tinubu,” Abba said.
Governor Jibrilla, however, reiterated his loyalty to the party, assuring the delegation of support while extolling the leadership style of the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Abba’s allegation that the Federal Government has been sidelining the state and refused to consult with the government in terms of making federal appointment was in tandem with some of the grouses the National Assembly, particularly the upper chamber holds against the executive.
Some of the lawmakers and governors did not hide their displeasure over the way the executive have been sidelining them before making vital federal appointments from their states.
For instance, there was a row recently in Kogi over Buhari’s nominee from the state to replace the late Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi. Another issue that has continued to anger members of the party was the slow approach of the Buhari-led government to appointing members of board of parastatals in the country.
According to a reliable source, “It is unthinkable that up till this time some parastatals in the country are still under the control of PDP card-carrying members, which former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan appointed while in office. We worked and we are entitled to reap the fruit of our labours.”