John Alechenu examines the lately concluded All Progressives Congress ward congresses and posits that though the judicial hurdle has been surmounted, the larger activity of regaining the boldness of aggrieved members has simply began.
The governing All Progressives Congress gained the hearts of many Nigerians previous to the 2015 common elections.
This translated into large votes which ended the 16 years unbeaten rule of the then ruling Folks’s Democratic Celebration.
It’s easy message to Nigerians which was succinctly captured in its slogan, “Change,” reverberated throughout the size and breadth of the nation.
It promised to vary the nation from one which it mentioned was quick turning into a lawless entity, to at least one the place the rule of legislation would reign supreme.
It additionally demonstrated learn how to carry alongside members by way of celebration administration. Members of the then younger political celebration had been uncovered to varied alternatives to not solely work together with their leaders, but in addition make an effort into advancing its course.
Public lectures and symposiums the place mental discussions about Nigeria’s issues and potential options had been dissected, analysed and resolution proffered grew to become the norm.
Nigerians had been fed a day by day dose of how life can be higher with the APC on the helm of affairs. Strong discussions had been held at interpersonal and group ranges earlier than choices had been taken.
When it was time for the celebration to decide on its presidential candidate, a course of which was hailed by each buddies and foes of the celebration as democratic and clear was held.
Maybe for the primary time in his political life, the eventual winner of the first, the then Main Basic Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), needed to face battle-tested veterans within the political recreation.
He beat former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso; Senator Rochas Okorocha and the late Sam Nda Isaiah to clinch the APC presidential ticket. The remainder has now develop into historical past.
However sooner had the celebration gained the 2015 common elections than the inherent challenges of coupling a celebration of unusual bedfellows started to manifest.
The scramble for positions led to a supremacy battle amongst distinguished celebration stakeholders and the duo of the then Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the Home of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and the John Odigie-Oyegun-led APC Nationwide Working Committee.
The scenario worsened when the celebration held its first ward congresses underneath the management of the then Nationwide Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in Might 2018.
A former APC Nationwide Vice Chairman (South -South), Hilliard Eta, advised Saturday PUNCH, “As I mentioned again then, it nonetheless holds true at present. Our celebration, the APC, has not recovered from the injury completed to our ethical material by the illegality perpetrated throughout the 2018 congresses.”
Within the Saturday’s congresses from Adamawa State to Rivers State, Delta State to Kwara State, and Imo State to Bayelsa State, celebration chieftains led factions of the celebration to put declare to its buildings within the numerous state chapters.
Some celebration chieftains have taken steps additional to problem the processes in courtroom regardless of an earlier warning by the celebration’s Nationwide Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, towards such actions.
A public affairs analyst and Government Director of the Civil Societies Legislative and Advocacy Centre, Awual Musa, traced most if not all the crises inside Nigerian political events to the battle between the non-public pursuits of celebration promoters and the overall group curiosity.
Equally many argued that since political events remained custodians of their guidelines and loved the ability to sponsor candidates for elective workplace, determined politicians who most frequently than not are promoters of political events, inner democracy had develop into an endangered species in Nigeria’s democratic house.
Because the return to democracy in 1999, celebration leaders and their proxies have used no matter means accessible to recreation the system and advance their causes.
Celebration congresses and primaries in Nigeria have at all times been contentious.
Manipulations and violence are additionally a part of the sport as leaders desperately battle to regulate the method.
The APC ward congresses held throughout 34 states of the federation final Saturday had been no totally different. Most celebration leaders appeared to have taken a cue from the destiny which befell the celebration’s former Nationwide Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to pay greater than a passing curiosity within the course of resulting in the emergence of their ward leaders.
Maybe for the primary time in latest reminiscence, a Supreme Court docket judgement in a governorship election petition matter is difficult political celebration directors to have a rethink on how they handle celebration affairs.
The numerous interpretation given to the Supreme Court docket judgement on the Ondo State governorship election which Governor Rotimi Akeredolu gained, didn’t solely save the governor’s job but in addition the governing APC from a scenario which many would relatively think about than expertise.
Simply because the seven-man judges gave a break up choice, loyalists of the celebration are divided of their considering as as to whether or to not proceed with the celebration’s ward congresses within the gentle of what a few of the celebration’s chieftains noticed as a phrase of warning from the Supreme Court docket judgement.
Previous to the judgement, the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Nationwide Conference Planning Committee had laid out plans to carry ward congresses throughout 34 out of the 36 states of the federation together with the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
A chieftain of the celebration, who’s at present the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, (SAN)and a former APC Nationwide Authorized Adviser, Muiz Banire (SAN), had in separate opinions, suggested towards going forward with the ward congresses.
They based mostly their recommendation on their interpretation of part of the judgement which they noticed referred to as to query the propriety of a sitting governor presiding over the affairs of the celebration as nationwide chairman.
Nevertheless, the celebration’s lead counsel within the Ondo governorship election case, Niyi Adebayo (SAN), and a former Director-Basic of the Nigeria Regulation Faculty, Prof. Mamman Tahir, in addition to the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), expressed the view that there was no judgement stopping the congresses from going forward.
Tahir was proved proper when excerpts of the complete judgement grew to become public on Thursday.
He wrote, “On the ability of the Nationwide Government Committee of the APC to nominate a caretaker committee, the Supreme Court docket affirmed the place of the Court docket of Enchantment which held that the Nationwide Government Committee is empowered by advantage of Article 13.3 of the APC Structure 2014 (as amended) to create, elect and appoint any committee it could deem mandatory, fascinating or expedient and assign to them such powers or features as it could deem correct (see pages 15 to 17 of the lead judgment).
“The mentioned holding of the Court docket of Enchantment was by no means appealed towards by the PDP which subsequently meant (as held by the Supreme Court docket) that events settle for it as right, conclusive and binding on the events.
“The place of the Court docket of Enchantment as affirmed by the Supreme Court docket on this regard is in tandem with the place of the Supreme Court docket in Sheriff vs. PDP (2017) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1585) Pg. 212 and is subsequently a re-affirmation of an already established place of the Supreme Court docket on the same provision within the PDP Structure, 2012.”
Though final Saturday’s train was largely profitable in a lot of the states, there have been parallel congresses in quite a few states.
Celebration watchers had, nonetheless, argued that the parallel congresses may have hostile results on its fortunes in upcoming elections if not correctly dealt with.
In Rivers State, the faction of the celebration loyal to Senator Magnus Abe introduced a boycott of the train a day earlier than its graduation, citing irregularities.
The faction has approached a Excessive Court docket within the state to hunt redress for what it thought-about an infraction.
In Ogun State, supporters of incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun, held parallel congresses, whereas the same state of affairs performed out in Kwara State the place supporters of the Governor, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman and people of the Minister of Info and Tradition, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, held separate congresses.
In Lagos State, a conventional stronghold of the APC, a bunch of younger politicians underneath the factional chairmanship of Fouad Oki, confirmed that he and different celebration members held congresses totally different from the one held by the Alhaji Tunde Balogun-led APC.
A senior lecturer within the Division of Political Science, College of Jos, Joseph Anuga, recalled that previous to ascending energy in 2015, the APC had all the trimmings of a political celebration with solutions to virtually each query.
He mentioned, “Many Nigerians had been underneath the impression that the celebration’s leaders on the numerous ranges had learnt a factor or two from the missteps of the then ruling Folks’s Democratic Celebration however what do we’ve got at present?”
The APC has suffered extra from self-inflicted losses than it did from exterior sources since its formation. The nullification of its electoral victories in Zamfara and Bayelsa states by the Supreme Court docket continues to be contemporary within the minds of affected celebration members.
Akpanudoedehe had, nonetheless, warned that the nationwide management of the celebration wouldn’t tolerate any type of disloyalty from members of the celebration. He mentioned, “Like I’ve mentioned a number of occasions, we won’t settle for outcomes from parallel congresses.
“Solely duly constituted committees will deliver their experiences to us. If anybody has a grievance, he ought to look ahead to the attraction.”
A Bauchi State chieftain of the celebration, Abdullahi Dauda, expressed disappointment that many members of the celebration had but to return to phrases with what the celebration actually stood for.
He mentioned, “We promised Nigerians ‘change’, a ‘change’ in the best way we play politics, a change in the best way we govern however I’m afraid most of those that used our celebration platform to get into public workplaces haven’t demonstrated this of their conduct.”
Dauda additional mentioned, “We should settle for the bitter reality, except we alter the best way we do issues proper now, our possibilities of retaining energy past 2023 can’t be assured.”
The Buni-led caretaker committee has gained on the courts, however its subsequent activity is to win over aggrieved celebration members.
This activity, stakeholders imagine, will not be simple within the coming months.
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