Moves to rescue the All Progressives Congress (APC) from its internal crises got a boost on Wednesday with the constitution of a panel to reconcile estranged members.
The 10-man committee, headed by Senate President Ahmad Lawan, will swing into action to bring warring leaders across the states together ahead of crucial elections next year and going forward.
With Lawan on the panel is the first (interim) National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande as vice chairman and Senator John Enoh as secretary.
Other members of the panel as announced by party spokesman Lanre Issa-Onilu are: House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Ahmed Wase; Senator Tanko Al-Makura; Senator Kashim Shettima; Minister of State for the Environment Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor; Alhaji Nasiru Aliko Koki; Senator Khairat Gwadabe-Abdulrazak and Senator Binta Garba.
Issa-Onilu said the committee has been mandated to address grievances of party members and resolve existing conflicts, all with a view to “fostering unity and oneness within the party.”
On Monday, the National Working Committee (NWC) lifted the suspension on five of its members, including Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and Senators Ibikunle Amosun and Rochas Okorocha.
Also pardoned are Voice of Nigeria (VON) Director-General Osita Okechukwu and former Niger Delta Affairs Minister Usani Uguru Usani.
On November 22, the National Executive Committee (NEC) recommended the setting up of the reconciliation committee.
The party has slipped into big crises in Edo and Ondo states where elections will hold next year.
Worried by the internecine crises, President Muhammadu Buhari warned party faithful not to allow things degenerate, which could lead to the party’s break up after his tenure.
National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, his erstwhile protege, are at daggers-drawn.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy Agboola Ajayi are estranged.
In Rivers State, the Chibuike Amaechi and Magnus Abe factions are at war. But Abe suffered a setback with yesterday’s judgment on the crisis which favours Amaechi.
Pre-election schism in Ogun, Imo, Oyo, Zamfara, Delta and Kaduna states have not been resolved.
It will be the duty of the Lawan panel to find a solutions to these crises.
The multiple crises are directly related to the politics of nomination and failure to prevent or resolve post-primary conflicts.
In Ondo State, for example, the pre-2016 primary crisis was carried over to the 2019 elections as APC chieftains who oppossed Governor Akeredolu at the primary still nursed grudges against the way the State Excutive Committee of the party, led by Ade Adetimehin, emerged.
The stalwarts, including Dr. Segun Abraham, Chief Olusola Oke and Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, alleged that the state executive committee was elected at a controversial congress, which excluded them and their supporters. The aggrieved chieftains have refused to either recognise Adetimehin leadership or have dealings with it.
During the last general elections, the crisis escalated. Following the intervention of Oshiomhole, the interests of some of the aggrieved leaders were accommodated. However, while they stood as authentic flagbearers of the party, Akeredolu allegedly raised candidates in the Action Alliance (AA) to slug it out with them. A case in point was the APC chieftain and associate of Akeredolu, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, who was allegedly sponsored to run for the Senate in Ondo North on the platform of AA against Senator Boroffice.
Although Southwest APC leaders, including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Chief Bisi Akande, were on peace mission to Ondo, the two camps could not be reconciled. A major resolution at the end of the reconciliation meeting was the dissolution of the “state exco,” led by Adetimehin. But the resolution has not been implemented. The aggrieved stalwarts have refused to attend APC meetings summoned by the governor and Adetimehin.
The new twist is the infighting between Akeredolu and his deputy Agboola Ajayi.
In Oyo State, the mismanagement of the primary by former Governor Abiola Ajimobi led to defeat. Some party loyalists under the banner of Unity Club defected to other platforms. The party lost power to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In Ogun State, APC was under stress and strain during the elections. Former governor Ibikunle Amosun sponsored Adekunle Akinlade on the platform of the APM against the APC candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun. The APM candidate lost to Abiodun, but he fought all the way to the Supreme Court until he lost yesterday. Amosun was suspended because of his involvement in the crisis. Although the suspension has been lifted, there is no sign of preparation to team up with the governor for reconciliation.
In Kaduna State, Governor Nasir el-Rufai and Senator Shehu Sani, and Senator Hunkuyi, could not see eye to eye. Hunkuyi’s house was demolished on the governor’s order. Sani left for the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP). The governor is not perceived as a symbol of unity, but a divisive factor in Kaduna APC.
In Zamfara, the party failed to put its house in order. The war of attrition between former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa led to the electoral misfortune of the chapter. Marafa went to court to challenge the authencity of the congresses that produced the members of the State Executive Committee of the party. Although APC won the governorship, and parliamentary elections, the governor-elect and lawmakers-elect could not be swon-in. The court nullified the congress that produced the state executive committee that conducted the primaries which threw up the flag bearers. Both Yari and Marafa are still licking the wounds of discord. No concrete step has been made to broker peace between the two camps.
In Rivers State, the rift between Amaechi and Abe have polarised the party. Abe wanted the APC governorship ticket. But, the camp of Amaechi sponsored Tonye Cole. Abe went to court to challenge the controversial primary. The court ruled that APC did not have a governorship candidate. Governor Nyesom Wike had a free day. APC was the loser.
In Imo State, the succession debacle was costly. Former Governor Rochas Okorocha wanted his former Chief of Staff and in-law, Uche Nwosu as the APC governorship candidate. He lost at the primary to Senator Hope Uzodinma. Another APC chieftain, Ifeanyi Ararume defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in protest. Okorocha waged war against the APC by sponsoring Nwosu on the platform of AA. Three APC chieftains were competing for the number one seat in Imo. They lost to Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP.
In Delta, the acrimony between the camps of Chief Great Ogboru and Chief Emerhor O’tega affected the chance of the party to make an impression in the last election. The two camps were locked in a battle of supremacy. The feud has not ended. Reconciliation has been futile.
The crisis in Osun APC stemmed from the primary that produced Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. Some chieftains who did not support him either withdrew their involvement in party matters. Few others, including Moshood Adeoti, former Secretary to Government, defected.
Edo APC is boiling. The personality clash between Oshiohmole, and Governor Godwin Obaseki, has polarised the platform Obaseki is accusing Oshiomhole of not allowing him to run the state in accordance with his own vision. Oshiomhole alleged that the governor had sidelined stakeholders who laboured for him to become governor.
The crisis spread to the House of Assembly. Pro-Obaseki lawmakers elected a House leadership. Pro-Oshiomhole legislator kicked, saying that the in-house election did not follow the due process.
They have not been inaugurated and their seats have been declared vacant. The attempt last week to bring former PDP candidate Ize Iyamu into the APC was resisted by Obaseki.
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