Zayyad I. Muhammad
SIR: Edo governorship election was a contest between All Progressive Congress (APC) and itself. The outcome of the election has many lessons for the ruling APC. The lessons for the APC are for ‘today’ in regards to the current high-wired rivalry within the party and for ‘tomorrow’- the 2023 general elections and the politics of APC presidential primaries.
The before and after events of the Edo governorship election has clearly brought to the fore the hot-politicking among some bigwigs in the APC. Some party bigwigs seem delighted that the party lost the election in Edo, just because Bola Ahmed Tinubu supported Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who ended up losing. Some stalwarts seem happy the party lost because the defeat means the final nail in the coffin of Adams Oshiomhole’s influence in the APC. Some APC bigwigs are happy the APC lost the election, just because it gives them a temporary ‘victory’ in the power struggle within the party vis-a-vis the permutations of the 2023 party presidential primaries.
Two inferences are possible from the defeat; the continuation of the implications of Oshiomhole tenure as APC national chairman which some analysts say was characterized by misjudgments and failure to manage complex party affairs. The other inference is the indifference of President Muhammadu Buhari to asserting his authority in bringing any party crisis to an end. It was a huge shock to many political observers that the entire structure of the APC could not reconcile a sitting governor (Godwin Obaseki) and a sitting national chairman of the party (Adams Oshiomhole). Similar unresolved crises in the APC in Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, Rivers cost the party major offices including governorship seats.
Internal conflicts are normal in political parties especially in growing democracies like Nigeria’s. But when such conflicts become messy and personal; the ‘hands’ of a leader are needed to put a stop to it. Former President Obasanjo did that for the PDP, when he was in office. APC was formed by different individuals with diverse interests and political backgrounds. Nonetheless, harmony amongst members is still possible.
As the permutations for 2023 gather momentum, the battle will be fierce – the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be on the offensive while the APC will be forced to be on the defensive. Nigerians will be able to put both parties on a scale and score them. PDP had spent 16 years in power while the APC would have spent eight. Both have tasted power.
The Ondo governorship elections on October 10 is an opportunity for the APC to reassess itself. The buck lies with President Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the two men who ‘literarily’ formed the APC. President Buhari, as the leader of the APC, needs to look into every crisis in the party, address discontentment and entrench unity.
We must admit that no political party in power can be crisis-free. The current squabble in the APC revolves mainly around the 2023 presidential elections. Some bigwigs just need ego-massage- a simple apology and presidential hand-shake, giving them a sense of relevance. Others need assurances of their political future while some individuals need government patronage- contracts or appointment. The APC must commence building a new platform of young men.
What happened in Edo shows that the power squabble and the 2023 permutations in the APC have become messier and the personal intervention of President Buhari is critically needed.
Jimeta, Adamawa State.
Read the original article on The Nation