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Published On: Mon, Nov 21st, 2016

Buhari Watches Helplessly as APC Crisis Escalates



LAGOS NOVEMBER 21ST (URHOBOTODAY)-Yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari stormed Akure, the Ondo State capital to campaign for the candidate of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, in Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
The occasion was a low point for the APC as some of those who matter in the politics of the South-West, where Ondo is located, stayed away. They include Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is not only one of the most influential figures in the APC in the South-West but also across the country; APC governors of Lagos, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode; and his colleagues from Osun, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, and Oyo, Chief Abiola Ajimobi.

The only governor from the South-West present at the rally was that of Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun. Another influential APC figure from the geopolitical zone, Chief Bisi Akande, the pioneer National Chairman of the APC, was also absent at the occasion.
Apart from Amosun, the only South-West governor at the Akure rally yesterday, other APC governors present were Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Umar Ganduje (Kano), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and Yahaya Bello (Kogi). Also in attendance were some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and Senate President Bukola Saraki, among others.
Analysts, last night, interpreted the absence of Tinubu, Akande and three South-West governors at the rally as the continuation of the crisis in the APC triggered by the emergence of Akeredolu as the party’s candidate in the Ondo election as against Dr. Olusegun Abraham supported by Tinubu.
Before yesterday, it had been rumoured that Tinubu may support the candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, Chief Olusola Oke, in protest against the alleged scheming out of his candidate (Abraham) in the APC primary election.
Observes tell Elombah.com that the problems affecting the party have been left to linger for too long and must be settled in the next few months, if the party hopes to retain power in 2019.
“The APC developed a comprehensive policy programme on which they campaigned for power and won. Following the inauguration of the President, he appeared to be backtracking on some of the APC policy positions and appeared also to have distanced himself from the party”, a party chieftain lamented.
“Even if you can forgive some of the crisis and blame it on in experience, you cannot forgive the fact that Buhari and his cabinet have tolerated this crisis for too long.
“They have persisted, and that is not something the party should excuse, we should not also excuse the existence of massive problems in states and at the national level.
“Those who have the responsibility of fixing the APC as a political platform are not fixing it.
“It is what we are seeing now; a large number of powerful people within APC are walking away from it, thinking that it is beyond redemption.
“That is unfortunate and I think it is a major set back for the party.
“The internal crisis had also affected governance, thereby, making it imperative for the President to quickly intervene and resolve all contending issues within the party.
“When a party is in a problem like this, a number of things happen; governance suffers because you are constantly having your attention diverted by the party’s problems.
“Secondly, in political terms, four years of an administration is only like two years or two and half years.
“In a year’s time, we will not be talking about governing this country, we will be talking about campaign for 2019, and if this party doesn’t fix itself at the national level, doesn’t fix all the problems it has in the states, it is unlikely to come back to Nigerians with the confidence it came to us in 2014 /2015, to say give us another mandate.”
Another party official told Elombah.com “It is evident that APC is not in control of President Muhammadu Buhari policy arena.”
“The APC has failed to hold its executive committee meeting since it won the elections and it has also failed to appoint the leadership of its Board of Trustees”, he lamented.
“The party Chairman and the party Leader are in an open and bitter struggle and there are no indications that the party could exercise leadership in policy formulation and implementation.
“Someone or some people have to fill the vacuum. It is now expedient to demand of the party where they are in terms of exercising leadership.
“The only thing of value and credibility that the party can say to Nigerians that is still relatively intact in the APC is President Buhari, and President Buhari more than anybody else, knows that his personality and character alone cannot win him an election.
“He needs a political platform that can mobilize people to support him, and right now, that political platform is disintegrating. He needs to do something about it, he needs to allow the party to work together, he needs to ask a lot of people to fix the problems of the party.
A former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress [APC] in Kaduna State, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has said President Muhammadu Buhari must intervene to fix the crisis in the party and save it from disintegration.
Baba-Ahmed expressed the belief that the problems of the APC were surmountable if the leadership work hard to fix all the underlying issues.
The party Chieftain, says those planning to walk away from the party have a lot of explanations to make to Nigerians that their decision is not self serving.
“I am not one of the people who thinks the future is outside APC, I believe that APC can be salvaged. “However, I am not complacent to say it can just be fixed like that, alot of hardwork has to go into it, a lot of sacrifices must be made.
“We will need to apologise to people for mistakes made and reassure them that the first four years of the Buhari administration may not have met all the expectations of the people, but if they give our party another chance for the next four years, we will be able to fix this country, inshaAllah.
“I wish the people who are thinking of walking away from the crisis of the APC would stay behind and fix this party.
“Some of them are quite well known, they were part of the building blocks of the APC, I wish they would stay behind and fix this party, because I can’t see how going away and building new platforms is going to solve their problems.
“I am not too sure that their calculation that they can actually create platforms with elements of APC, elements of the old PDP and new elements from other parties can successfully challenge APC and the old PDP.”
He however said that whatever decision was taken by those opting out, the APC must, within the next six months, use the opportunity to re-engineer itself and re-engage with its popular support base. “What I think is useful is that, in the next three to six months, a lot of people that we suspect are already packing their things to get out of APC, would do so.
“That would give the party an opportunity to know who is left and then we can just go back to rediscovering the essence of the APC and then possibly to re-engineer the party with the popular base.”

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