APC, Saraki and story of strange Bed-fellows
APC, Saraki and story of strange Bed-fellows
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be submerged in a destructive infighting that may lead to the end of the party if nothing drastic is done to salvage the situation. CHRIS SULEIMAN takes a look at the factors that has set the party men at loggerhead all this while.
To say the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a conglomerate of a strange bedfellows, you are stating the obvious. At least, the party was formed as a result of coming together of the various opposition parties in the country with the purpose of having a formidable team to wrestle power from the former ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
APC was formed by the historic merger that saw the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples party (ANPP) and some members of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP). The first three political parties were usually referred to as the legacy party.
This was affirmed by President Muhammadu Buhari during the APC National Executive Committee meeting held at the party National Secretariat recently, where he said; “We are members of the legacy party, plus APGA and DPP. We realized since 2005 that to remove the PDP from power, we must sink our differences, come together and form a party.
He added that “We must not forget that having identified that as members of the legacy party, we again identified three fundamental things facing us. First, security, second, economy and unemployment and thirdly, corruption. We campaigned throughout the country on these three fundamental issues and nobody successfully challenged us and these issues remained relevant.
This particular statement of the president has been interpreted by pundits as a clear. Indication of division within the party’s ranks. This school of thought faulted the President emphasis on members of the legacy party. They questioned the rational behind the president consistent mentioning of legacy party and not APC in such a gathering as big as the NEC meeting of the APC thereby, giving room for speculation of existence of camps within the party.
It is an established fact that the membership of the APC is beyond the members of the legacy parties. It is also not debatable that the APC was successful in the last General election due to the contribution of other members of the party other than the legacy party members alone.
For instance, the influx of the five PDP governors, of Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ahmed Abdulfatah of Kwara and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa state. With the army of both the Federal and state legislators of the PDP led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives then, Aminu Tambuwal was also a major addition that served as a backbone to the ranks of the APC that defeated the ruling PDP in the 2015 General Election.
Barely a month as a ruling party, the APC failed the first litmus test put to it when the party projected to the world the internal division in the party. The election of the leadership of the National Assembly stripe open for the public to see the depth an width of the division in the APC.
Pundits said, the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Honourable Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively was the root of the present infighting going on in the APC.
Saraki and Dogara were alleged to have teamed up with the opposition PDP to clinch the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives. A situation that shook the very foundation of the party, which make analysts to have predicted that the crisis may be the beginning of the end of the conglomerate call APC.
Some observers said, Saraki and Dogara are not members of the legacy party hence, the party is not comfortable with their emergence as leaders of the national assembly. Pundits also averred that, Saraki is facing more trouble with the party because of his refusal to do the party’s biding in appointing other principal officers of the Senate. They said unlike Saraki, Dogara danced to his party’s tune, when he appointed principal officers according to the dictate of the APC. For instance making Femi Gbajabiamila House Leader is a clear indication Dogara played ball with the APC leadership analysts stressed. But in the Senate, Saraki failed to do the same, thereby compounding his situation that is now threatening to swallow him up.
Proponent of this argument said, this is why the Senate President’s CCT trial can be described as political vendata and an attempt to humiliate him as some powerful influence in the party saw his action as an humiliation to the party.
Saraki is facing corruption charges relating to anticipatory and false assets declaration, an offense, which was allegedly committed some Thirteen (13) years ago. Pundits question the rationale of bringing up a 13 years case against Saraki if the intent is not to fight him politically. But the president administration is popular with its anti-corruption crusade and Saraki’s case could be one of those corruption cases analysts stressed.
While other pundits maintained that, the Senate President saga has clearly shown that, there are people who are more APC than others. They said, Saraki is not a member of the legacy party as such is not seen as a real APC member. This school of thought said the nPDP members that joined the merger were only important for winning election and not expected to vie for position. And that the APC sees Saraki as an over-ambitious member who see his personal ambition as more important than the party’s unity.
The party has been factionalise as a result of this development. For instance, deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Timi Frank revealed this recently. He said: “I spoke in Bayelsa (about the impending crisis) but they did not take me seriously. Very soon, it (crisis) will happen at the national level too. If anyone tells you that there is no crisis in the national APC, it is a lie. But in a swift reaction, the National Secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni, dismissed the claim about division in the party, saying: “The bogus and misleading allegations are unnecessary distractions to the party’s resolve to fully support the President Muhammadu Buhari administration deliver on the motley promises made by our great party to the electorate.”
But Frank maintained that “the party is now divided into two. The issue of the Senate president is still there and the party is not talking. So, there is crisis in the party. We have so much divisions and they are keeping quiet. If care is not taking, we are soon going to lose our popularity as a party.”
Frank never pointed at the structure of the division, but it is obvious members of the legacy party comprising of the ACN, CPC and ANPP who are largely doing things in common, while the new PDP are obviously left out of the party.
Inspite the repeated denial of internal brawl in the ranks of the APC, various development in the party has proven so. Analysts said, the APC may leave in perpetual denial, but the internal wrangling is gradually weakening the party’s strength and may lead to its collapse if nothing drastic is done to unite the warring factions.
Observers also advised the party to treat all members equally irrespective of the bloc they belong. They said, the discrimination on the basis of membership of legacy party or any of the constituents that formed the APC is unnecessary and very destructive to the overall interest of the party.
The APC had preferred Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe to be Senate President. While Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives. But Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki from Kwara State rudely snatched the Senate Presidency against his party’s wish a situation that cause, Femi Gbajabiamila his Speakership ambition to Yakubu Dogara. Saraki and Dogara are not members of legacy party like Lawan and Gbajabiamila who are of the ANPP and ACN respectively, both constituents of the legacy party.