Is APC falling apart?


Coming from a man like Chief Tom Ikimi, one of the country’s most enduring political figures, the memo to the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC Chief Bisi Akande was indeed unnerving. The memo dated May 1, 2014 was a narrative of the increasing confusion in the opposition political party across the country with the assertion that the party is losing members in strong numbers across the country.
“I am compelled to express strong reservations on the present state of affairs in our Party and my heart bleeds
when I look back at the efforts and personal sacrifice many
of us made to bring this national platform to fruition,” Ikimi
wrote.

Pioneer state chairman
Just few days after the memo was sent out, the base of
the party in Ikimi’s home, Edo State was shaken following
the defection of the erstwhile national vice-chairman
(South-South) of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria,
ACN, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his followers from the
APC.
Ize-Iyamu left the party alongside strong followers including
the pioneer state chairman of the ACN in Edo State, Prince
Tony Prince Tony Omoaghe, the pioneer deputy chairman of
the party in the state, Alhaji Usman Shagadi among many
other prominent leaders of the party including some who left
their positions in government.
Of the serving members of the House of Representatives
from Edo State, only Abubakar Momoh representing Etsako
Federal Constituency, incidentally, Governor Adam’s
Oshiomhole’s constituency has left the party. The shaking in
Edo State is only reflective of the nationwide pangs that
are shaking the newly formed party to its roots.
In Adamawa, Sokoto, Kano, Borno, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Imo,
Bayelsa and across the country party elders are leaving in
droves putting to question the capacity of the party to
trouble the ruling PDP.
Just as in Edo State where Pastor Ize-Iyamu is at the
centre of the crisis, across the border in Delta State,
another man of God, Prophet Jones Erue is also in the centre
of controversy over the conduct of the recent party
congresses.
Erue was supposedly thrown up as the state chairman of
the party in a congress that many members of the defunct
ACN are alleging was widely mired in controversy.
The cracks: Leaders of the defunct ACN in the state most
of whom are inclined to the leadership of Senator Francis
Okpozo allege that Erue was foisted on the party by Otega
Emerhor, a wealthy businessman known to have a
governorship aspirant on the platform of the new party.
Many party elders are, however, worried that Erue was
supported in the congresses by elements known to have
worked for a former governor of the state, Chief James
Ibori whose loyalists it is alleged, may be working to either
gain control of the APC or weaken the party to allow the
PDP sail through.
“The kind of money that reportedly changed hands during
the congresses is not the kind of money that a businessman
like Otega would throw into politics and that is why we
suspect that his people have a connection with Ibori and his
boys,” a party elder told Vanguard.
Party elders are also peeved that Otega once he came into
the APC threw up a parallel structure that almost always
worked in parallel with the mainstream structure of the
party led by Senator Okpozo.
As at press time the results of the state congress in Delta
State was yet to be ratified by the national secretariat.
The same hiatus is also in Ogun State where parallel
congresses were conducted by forces respectively led by
the national leader of the party, Aremo Segun Osoba and
Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Amosun is accused by many partisans of crossing the
bounds of governance to take control of the party structure
in the state.
Amosun vs Osoba
The crisis in the state was remarkably long predicted.
Amosun came into the defunct ACN from the defunct All
Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP but when he entered in late
2010, he was peeved that many of his loyalists who had
emerged as candidates for the 2011 election on the
platform of the ANPP were not given ACN tickets.
Ahead of the 2015 round of elections, the governor and
many of the National Assembly members were engaged in a
cat and mouse game over control of the party. Many National
Assembly members almost all of whom are loyal to Osoba
were peeved that the governor sponsored rival congresses
which they alleged were aimed at stopping them from
winning re-election tickets for 2015.
A plan by the governor to inaugurate his own faction of the
executive was stopped few days ago after the national
headquarters intervened to stop him. Just as in Ogun, in Oyo
State, party elders who Governor Abiola Ajimobi met in the
defunct ACN are also peeved by the body movements of the
governor. Many of them have already drawn the battle line
with the governor who they assert they would stop from
gaining re-election.
Guber interest: While there are no issues concerning the
congresses in Lagos State, the alleged endorsement of one
of the governorship aspirants by the national leader of the
party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is, however, creating anxiety
among party faithful, especially among those who have had
interests in the governorship.
In many other states, the crises, however, preceded the
congresses. In Adamawa, Kano and Sokoto States, the
crises were triggered after the defection of former PDP
governors into the APC.
Successor in office
In Kano, Ibrahim Shekarau left after Governor Rabiu
Kwankwanso entered the party. In Sokoto, the immediate
former governor of the state, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa also
exited the party after his nemesis and successor in office
entered the party and was given the party structure.
In Adamawa, despite earlier assertions that they would
abide together, Brig. Buba Marwa who came from the
defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and Markus
Gindiri who was the 2011 flag bearer of the ACN left the
APC after the party structure was handed over to their
common foe, Admiral Murtala Nyako.
Despite earlier assertions by Nyako and the two men that
they would cohabit for the good of the party, that pledge
did not take long to unfold as Marwa and Gindiri accused
Nyako of importing those characters that caused the crisis
in the PDP into the APC. Remarkably, both men have returned
to the PDP. However, their exit has not given Nyako the
complete liberty as he is also engulfed in a silent war with
loyalists of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar who have
accused Nyako of sidelining them in the recent congresses.
Kwara State: In Kwara State, Dele Belgore, the 2011
gubernatorial candidate of the ACN also defected to the PDP
after the entry of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and the
Bukola Saraki machine into the APC. What many had believed
to be a fratricidal war in Kwara State between the interim
national publicity secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed
and the Saraki crowd has been largely avoided mainly on
account of what observers point to the maturity of the two
leaders.
In Imo State, what is left of the party is just the carcass of
the former legacy parties. Once Governor Rochas Okorocha
stepped into the party, all the notable leaders in the party
commenced an exit walk.
Senator Chris Anyanwu, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, former
Governor Achike Udenwa and even some appointees of
Okorocha such as the former Attorney General, Chief
Soronnadi Njoku.
One exception where the entry of a governor has not
caused a serious crisis is Rivers State where the entry of
Governor Rotimi Amaechi has not so much provoked the kind
of crisis as seen in several other states where the former
PDP governors moved into the APC.
Stakeholders allege that the crisis is partly caused by the
national secretariat which it alleged did not prepare for the
congresses well.
“What we found was that those sent to conduct the
congresses had logistic challenges and so you found some
party members mostly those from the PDP willing to meet
those challenges and hence the problems that we are now
having,” a party official said.
However, party spokesman Mohammed rebuffed the
agitations as he insisted that the party has internal
mechanism for settling its disputes.
“We have a mechanism to settle the issues from the
congresses and that is why the appeals committee was
constituted and that is not even the end of the matter. If
anyone is not satisfied with the outcome of the appeals
committee, he or she can still take the matter to the national
body but what we have is that some people are not patient
enough and are making their appeals on the pages of
newspapers,” he said.

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