Wednesday, 6th December 2023

Memo to APC: – How not to run a party

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
25 July 2019   |   3:38 am
Since 2015, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has had the fortune of a lifetime to have produced the holder of the office of the president. Mind you, whichever political formation that forms the central government in Nigeria, is by that fact, a global player following a combination of factors.

APC leader, Adams Oshiomole

Since 2015, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has had the fortune of a lifetime to have produced the holder of the office of the president. Mind you, whichever political formation that forms the central government in Nigeria, is by that fact, a global player following a combination of factors.

First, Nigeria is the country with the largest black population in the world and is a continental giant in terms of its pride of place in the setting up of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) which gave birth to the current African Union. Nigeria remains one amongst the few players around the world that contributed significantly to the gaining of self-governments in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

At a time that even the very influential world leaders such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom saw nothing wrong with supporting white apartheid regimes and white-dominated rule in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Nigeria was a key liberating platform relied upon by the then black freedom fighters to wrestle political powers from the white minority regimes just as the strides made by Nigeria and others precipitated the granting of political independence to Zimbabwe in the 1980s or thereabout.

Nigeria was a factor positively that shaped the emergence of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). But for systemic corruption that has kept Nigeria backward, the country which is enormously endowed with mineral and human resources would have been able to surmount the groundswell of absolute poverty that afflicts nearly 90 million of her populations. These aforementioned factors have therefore positioned Nigeria as one of the most significant places on the planet earth which implies that whichever political party that forms the central government must be grounded ideologically and must be led by persons with proven records of integrity, credibility, and persons who must be the type that would not tolerate the abuse of the fundamental and institutional tenets and laws that should guide the administration of constitutional democracy in line with global best practices.

Sadly, since coming to power up until now, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has remained a fractious bunch of unlike birds that are compelled to live together under one nest. The APC has become a nest of self-haters and a place whereby the members have engaged each other in unending intra-party crises of unprecedented scale. The infighting assumed frightening scale since the former labour leader Mr. Adams Oshiomohole became the national chairman just before the last election. 

The APC under Oshiomhole can be described as a house of commotion.  It would seem that the national chairman does not tolerate divergent opinions within the hierarchy and is known to have resorted to self-help measures to get at perceived rivals. His closest followers like his publicity secretary seem to be following his dictatorial footsteps and have built his own spheres of influence. 

Adams Oshiomhole has also fallen out with some governors, former governors and even some of his fellow national executives to an extent that he activated and supervised the holding of kangaroo trials of such persons with independent opinions on how best to administer the ruling party even as these pre-determined but compromised trials have always led to the expulsion of these persons who are unhappy with the leadership style of the national chairman.

The APC is becoming a party of zombies and anyone who tries to think rationally is looked upon as a rebel without a cause and must be dealt with summarily even against the constitution of the party which of necessity has a guarantee for fair hearing which is the major weltanschauung or Worldview (larger picture) of the Nigerian constitution. 

Chief John Oyegun, a former governor of Edo state and former national chairman of APC has on many occasions accused the current national chairman of using a sledgehammer to deal unduly with perceived independent-minded members in a way that offends the constitution of the ruling party. Oyegun has specifically accused Adams Oshiomhole of waging war against Godwin Obaseki his successor in office of governor of Edo state because he (Obaseki) has refused to become the rubber stamp governor.

The deputy national chairman Malam Shuiabu who voiced an opinion asking Oshiomhole to resign for leading the party to record massive defeats to People’s Democratic Party in the governorship polls was axed by Oshiomhole who deployed illegality to get even with this Deputy Chairman for daring to call him out.

The national chairman has watched as his national publicity scribe also descended on the national vice chairman (north) of APC Inuwa Abdul-Kadir (SAN) and has purportedly expelled him even when the man had gone to the Sokoto state high court to challenge the petition against him sent to the national secretariat from the Sokoto state branch. The hasty announcement of his expulsion was meant to impose a fait accompli on the court which is already adjudicating on the same subject matter. This is certainly unconstitutional and definitely not how to administer a political party.

The issues around the purported expulsion of the vice national chairman of APC are linked to the demand for retraction of a defamation of his character which the vice-chairman of APC Malam Inuwa Abdul-Kadir sent to the national publicity secretary of APC Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu who as we stated has made himself a power broker in APC by hook or crook.

Abdul-Kadir had written thus: “My attention had been drawn by several persons to statements credited to you in the course of making a rejoinder to a personal letter written by the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu to the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (hereinafter referred to simply as the Party), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole”.

Abdul-Kadir submitted that in the said rejoinder, as published in various Newspapers and other social media, the publicity scribe was credited with making the following statements concerning Chief John E. Odigbe-Oyegun, former National Chairman of the Party and the entire members of National Working Committee (NWC) of the party that served with him – “The Adams Oshiomhole led All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday said the party lost some states to the PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) due to the indiscipline and inaction of the National Working Committee (NWC) under Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in an interview with journalists, said …the former NWC led by Chief Odigie-Oyegun lacked the courage to confront the political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules”.

In his thinking, Abdul-Kadir says Lanre Issa-Oniru’s statements above no doubt do carry the apparent implication/inference and, indeed were understood as such by all who read them, that all of us who were members of the National Working Committee with Chief John Oyegun are irresponsible persons/officers who are lacking discipline, character, and pedigree to hold the offices they occupied by virtue of which were members of the NWC of the party”.

He, therefore, demanded retraction when he further affirmed that the said publication has greatly lowered his estimation in the eyes of right-thinking members of the society and brought him to underserved public contempt, ridicule, and odium.

Categorically, Abdul-Kadir affirmed that: “I have no doubt that the statements you made were on your own volition and deliberately done using your position as the Acting National Publicity Secretary to give official coloration.

I so hold this position because I am a member of the current National Working Committee (NWC) led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, I was duly elected at the National Convention of the party and interestingly, twelve (12) of us out of the twenty-one (21) members of the current NWC served in the Chief John Oyegun-led NWC and I know as a matter of fact that at no material time did the current NWC or any organ of the party meet and consider the tenure of the Chief John Oyegun-led NWC and make conclusions as contained in your statements either before or after your appointment as the Acting National Publicity Secretary Of The Party”.
Onwubiko heads the human rights writers association of Nigeria (HURIWA).   

Another linked issue is the petition from the Sokoto state branch of APC which I think resulted from the defeat suffered by the party and the suspicion which is totally unfounded that the vice-chairman did not do much to stop his friend Governor Tambuwal who left APC to PDP from winning the polls. But the APC headquarters forgot that Senator Magatakarda Wammako is also a friend of Tambuwal and was indeed the man who put him in office in 2015.

The truth is that the national secretariat of APC has blundered by hurriedly and illegally announcing any form of sanction against the vice-chairman Abdul-Kadir who was already in court. Why hurry? Why not wait for the due process of the law to be exhausted?

As a law-abiding Nigerian, this man illegally expelled had written to the party lamenting the illegality. Abdul-Kadir wrote as follows: “My attention was drawn to a public statement issued by Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, Acting National Publicity Secretary of my party, The All Progressives Congress conveying a purported decision of the National Working Committee upholding a disciplinary actions of Magajin Gari “A” ward, Sokoto and the party’s Sokoto state Executive Committee against me knowing fully that the basis of the purported decision has been the subject matter of an action filed in suit SS/33/2019 pending at the Sokoto State High Court in which the party, National Chairman, Sokoto state chairman endorsed as defendants and had entered appearances”.

He stated that it will be recalled that just last week, he made public his response to a telephone conversation in the evening of Wednesday 3rd July 2019 and an invitation letter he subsequently received on Thursday 10th July, 2019 with and from Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the Deputy National Chairman of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) drawing his attention to his inability to appear before his committee on Thursday 4th July, 2019 because at that time he was in Sokoto and on the said appointed date the suit which he filed before the Sokoto State High Court in respect of the said petition/disciplinary action under reference was coming up and did counsel that the matter is subjudice therefore the proper thing to do is to keep the matter in abeyance this I assumed will be respected by the purported meeting of the NWC or even under whatever guise.

In view of the same reason he gave earlier last week, he disclosed that he was still constrained to comment on the propriety of the purported meeting of the NWC and decision therefrom but as a professional and responsible Nigerian citizen who is a stickler for rule of law, not rhetoric, he will keep his patience for justice to prevail notwithstanding that the wheel of justice grinds slowly but certainly surely” He spoke further: “I would like to assure our members nationwide and other well-wishers who knew of my leadership credentials and repose confidence in me and elected me twice as the National Vice Chairman (North West) of the party that I will not be deterred in upholding the tenets of justice and fairness for public good either as a party executive or elsewhere”.

This certainly is not how to run a party. This self-inflicted infighting and disputes are unnecessary and constitute a grave distraction to President Muhammadu Buhari. The President who is the leader of APC should play his objective fatherly role by calling the National chairman and the National Publicity Scribe to order. 

Onwubiko heads the human rights writers association of Nigeria (HURIWA).