One has no business with how the machinery of any party is managed and who contests what elective office on the platform of any party but that does not mean one should have no interest in the success of the democracy if not for anything, at least for the stated liberty it offers and the freedom that accompanies it in most times not minding the antics of compromised security agents that have turned praise singers and beggars for crumbs that usually outsmart their colleagues to strangulate the freedom of citizens for extortion, hence the call for the scrapping of Federal Special Anti-robbery squad unit of the Nigeria Police (FSARS) and total overhaul of the police structure. It is not only FSARS that deserves to be scrapped. The Federal Highway Patrol unit and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Nigeria Police deserve thorough probe for final scrapping as well.
As the democracy progresses steadily, in some climes, it is getting hoodwinked by juveniles, toddlers and political merchants that are educationally poor, inexperienced and morally bankrupt. Typical example of such an ugly scenario is easily found in Bauchi State with the crop of representatives it offered for the 9th National Assembly with majority of them educationally poor, politically inexperienced, pompous and primitive in social status which, are characters alien to politics.
When the battle was on between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) former national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and most elite members raged, some concerned politicians had asked President Buhari to either hurriedly intervene to save the party from extinction or allow it to meet its waterloo. He should coax a truce out of the combatants for the party’s survival. The elites feared that if the struggle between the party’s titans festered, it could cause the party to implode.
Looking back for the sake of this piece, on May 28, 2019, Lawal Shu’aibu, the party’s deputy national chairman (North), had asked Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to resign as the party’s national chairman for his alleged complicit in the loss of Zamfara and four other states that belonged to the party in the 2019 general elections particularly the gubernatorial election. In his publicized letter, Lawal obviously derived his daring from the fact that APC lost five states to opposition PDP and gained only two – Kwara and Gombe states.
Lawal emphatically blamed Oshiomhole for the severe loss of Zamfara which was due to carelessness and inaction at the most ideal time.
The APC seems to be considerably complacent today. If like the PDP, it had no president to run to for resolution of conflicts, who then would be the councilor and arbitrator to do? Does the party not have internal conflict resolution mechanisms like the PDP? The PDP is of course not without its own troubles for address. But having exhausted itself years ago in internecine conflicts, most of them quite needless, and suffered severe electoral losses in consequence, it has suddenly become fairly mature, a little cerebral even, and, more ominously, increasingly quiescent. In contrast, the APC has seemed louder, pampered, bad-tempered, querulous and grasping. The president waded into the fray to help his party to capture the 9th National Assembly’s principal officers. And he is again called upon to find a peace formula for resolving the ongoing conflict between the party’s cantankerous leaders particularly in some states.
No single person can, of course, be made to shoulder the blame for the party’s loss of five states at a go. Indeed, no two states share the same factors for the APC’s embarrassing dethronement. The reasons for APC’s defeat in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Oyo and Zamfara are as variegated as they were both internal and external. Rather than examine the reasons for their defeat and find ways to avoid a similar disaster, party leaders for personal and other myopic reasons tried to find scapegoats. For instance in Bauchi State, the major problem that affected the party’s unity was caused by two-three factors. First, President Buhari out of political inexperience, believing in falsehood, offered appointments to inconsequential persons as a reward for services they never rendered the party for his victory. Ministerial position was offered to Malam Adamu Adamu and Maryam Yelwaji Katagum, who are believed to be a Buhari apologists not APC card carrying members. Same appointment was offered Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) as Comptroller-General of Nigerian Custom and other plum federal appointments to non-APC card carrying members. It is on record that even during the mega-merger struggle, Adamu Adamu and his like minds never for once graced any of the meetings anywhere. In Bauchi State, they never for once attended any APC meeting to show solidarity but miraculously were offered political appointments against those most qualified for such positions. Till date, those apologists have not publicly aligned himself with the APC or the government of Bauchi State. It is alleged that most of them were more active in the defeat of the party at the 2019 gubernatorial election for their selfish interests.
The appointment of Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), as Comptroller-General of Custom Service is another case for study as he lacks, the required political experience, public acceptability nor the generosity to support the party in where. Then Maryam Yalwaji Katagum was brought from the blues as a cabinet minister without reason other than what President Buhari must have considered as her qualification for the position while forgetting that there are those that remain fighting the odds for his victories in the state since 2003. To say the least, President Buhari has contributed negatively to the progress of the party that should not be wished away until 2023 proves that to any doubting Thomas if Adamu Adamu, Maryam Katagum, Ya’u Darazo, Prof. Sule Bogoro, Hameed Ali etc can deliver even their electoral wards to APC in Bauchi state as we wait to see.
For the benefit of the reader, here is the list that came to mind of those enjoying political appointments from Bauchi state presently in the APC led Federal Government without contributing to the success of the party at any given election but yet for reasons best known to Mr. President, they were the favored against those that labored and risked their lives for the victories recorded in 2015 and 2019. Funny enough, they still remain what they were without a care to the party and may not even extend hands of support at least to their home government to scale the hurdle despite the imaginary political difference. Should the people continue with their support to President Buhari or should allow his appointees to take over and give him the support he desires?
Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique (Rtd), Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud, Prof. Bappa Pali, Prof. Andrew, William Wadni, Dr. Suleiman Lame, Ibrahim Akuyam, Amb. Baba Madugu, Babayo Shehu Misau, Tijjani Darazo, Prof. Abdul Misau, Karamba Ibrahim, Abdullahi Hardawa, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, Ali Saeed, Prof. Magaji, Sani Abdu, Tata Yakubu, Muhammed Tijjani, Prof. Garba Dahuwa, Balarabe Shehu Illelah, Farouk Mustapha and Nayayu.
Secondly, those enjoying elective positions on the platform of the party appear to be more of merchants in search of capital than the politicians they are expected to be. They believe in their respective comfort than the survival of the party in the state. They erroneously believe the electorates have a price for settlement at the most appropriate time. The ‘generous’ ones compete in donating second hand vehicles, motorcycles, grinding machines and water pump generators to their stooges as constituency largesse than to establish life-saving investments to benefit the people.
Finally, as Comrade Aliyu Abdullahi Ilelah rightly said: “Prof. Sule Elias Bogoro is a PDP warlord but returned to tetfund as executive secretary under an APC led government despite his past antecedents against the party in 2015. In this case, he is believed to have been brought back to tetfund just for a sabotage mission against the APC in his native Bogoro local government area. We all know the of negative roles he played against the victory of APC in Bogoro and the agreement brokered before Dogara accessed victory for himself in 2015 on APC platform with Buhari relegated to the backwaters by the powers of Sule Bogoro that was laced with ethno-religious sentiment. That shall be a topic for future discourse.
APC is not an organized party from top to bottom as clear as that. It cares less for its survival at any level. It believes more in day “dreams than reality”. If it cares for its survival, it could have protested the appointments of Adamu Adamu, Ya’u Darazo, Sule Bogoro, Hameed Ali and Maryam Yalwaji Katagum at the first go. It never!
For instance of all the president’s political appointees and their claimed political clout, it was those without political appointments that joined the struggle for the defeat of opposition parties in Bauchi state: “Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu, Isa Yuguda, Dr. Musa Babayo, Dr. Ka’ila Dahuwa, Mahmoud Yayale Ahmed, Ahmed Shu’aibu and Dr. Ali Pate”. When the struggle was on, where were the Adamu Adamus of this world? Who amongst them delivered even his or her polling unit to the APC? They are mere political hangers-on without relevance in the polity. Although, there were complains of imposition of candidates including that of the gubernatorial contest, ideally, APC national secretariat could have waded into the abracadabra to normalize the situation then forge ahead to face the gubernatorial election. That was thrown to the dogs that affected the fortune of the party. The glaring hatred against the then incumbent governor M.A Abubakar publicly displayed took its negative toll on the party while PDP mobilized its experience, determination and harped on the internal squabble to give a blow which paid.
While the heat was on in Bauchi, allegedly, education minister Adamu Adamu and his co-travelers were there in Abuja at the comfort of their living rooms planning how to wrest power from APC second-term seeking governor, M.A Abubakar without proffering any solution to the feud that almost destroyed the party they feed from.
If those who claim to have caused the defeat of M.A Abubakar from a deep-rooted hatred crafted against him were sincere to the APC, why did they not lead a well coordinated protest against his candidature for amicable solution than contributing to the defeat of the party that brought them to political light and offered them presidential appointments without any tangible contribution to the party’s 2015 success? Why was Yakubu Dogara, Ahmed Yerima, Sen. Isa Hamma, Capt. Bala Jibrin, Barr. Ibrahim Zailani, Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, Bappa Aliyu Misau, Prof. Ali Pate, Aminu Tukur, Yakubu Shehu, Sallau Kafi, Maryam Garba Bagel and the rest of them not dragged to negotiating table to save the soul of APC before the gubernatorial election than ignored?
From the records, PDP displayed experience and a fast one on the psyche of APC disappointed aspirants and perhaps, brokered a silent agreement of partnership for the sake of the gubernatorial election which netted victory. APC relied on the power of incumbency and concocted pedestrian reports from party chieftains and security agents lacking focus. The party had scanty committed combatants for the battle of its soul and most of those trusted with certain assignments for the party’s victory were inexperienced and insincere that lacked tolerance in the whole game unlike the PDP.
For a party that has so far become naturally and eternally fractious, it is hard to dissuade them from their self-destructive course that cost it the 8th President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and two state governors before 2019.
Should President Buhari wade into the fracas, it is uncertain that whatever magic wand he waves would bring a permanent solution in the fractured entity because he is the cause of most of the problems.
After Lawal wrote his incendiary letter to Oshiomhole calling for his resignation, other party stakeholders joined him, including the smug, self-serving and illiberal former Communications minister, Adebayo Shittu who tried to hang the Oyo defeat on his exclusion from the governorship party primary.
Former APC national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun quickly found his voice after his disgraceful exit in June 2018 from the party’s chairmanship. Buoyed by the rising opposition to Oshiomhole, Oyegun vengefully waded into the party fracas by doing a very unsavory character portrait of Oshiomhole.
“Oshiomhole fails because he lacks the temperament that is required to run a political party. He lacks the capacity to manage the different interests and tendencies that constitute a political party. He acts in direct opposite of decisions taken by NWC. No minutes of NWC meetings which, in any event, take place outside the party’s secretariat. How would you not have crises in states with confusion that Oshiomhole created when he gave the states freedom to choose their modes of choosing candidates for elections? Much of the crises in states arose out of sheer incapacity on the part of Oshiomhole. He engages his mouth before engaging his mind, so he offends party members. Only a bad carpenter quarrels with his tools. Indeed Oshiomhole is degrading and ‘demarketing’ the party. Rather than seek to bring more people on board, he is chasing people out of the party with his agbero style of engagement”.
Contrary to what detractors of Oshiomhole may say, he did not fail in leadership because he operated under a ferocious and relentless attack, and was portrayed by senior party members as intemperate and impulsive. But the series of attacks, no one showed conclusively that Oshiomhole was ineffective, a weakling, or a leadership failure. In fact, as party national chairman, he managed the re-election of President Buhari successfully, kept the party’s majority in the states by 20 to PDP’s 16 and a firm control of the 9th National Assembly including the leadership until his sack.
APC may be instinctively fractious, but it has continued to keep a semblance of unity, unity that appears to be anchored on unaccustomed internal discipline. The APC may not be as ideological as it has boasted for years, but under Oshiomhole it was less conservative and reactionary than it was before. These gradual and indeed salutary shifts were in large measure due to Oshiomhole’s initiatives and iconoclastic approach to politics.
Undoubtedly, APC has a lot to learn, and has an even greater distance to go in reforming the often scabrous approach to politics, but it has so far not failed the electorates where it governs as stated by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni which is in doubt. Plateau state is one state that has not witnessed a difference from the past. My local government in particular is abandoned to fate. Jonah Jang was a better governor going by his developmental strides. My local government can best be described as an orphan without a shepherd.
The ongoing feud within the APC in most state chapters may turn out to be a storm in a teacup. Whether the president had intervened or not, Oshiomhole did not survive the gale and his detractors are unlikely to relent. His imposing style, which the party needs to restore normality and discipline, will grate on those who prefer a softer, more indulgent approach to party administration. And because Oshiomhole was unlikely to moderate his stand, not to say his style, detractors proliferated under him until he was removed by the combatants. One of the dire consequences of Oshiomhole’s affirmative handling of the party was the concomitant loss of influence by governors. That powerful but unconstitutional body is unlikely to give up its obtruding ways having tasted the allure of power and imposition.
If the APC is to survive in the years ahead for a good fight, it must rely, paradoxically on Oshiomhole’s style of strong-arm approach to party administration but with modifications. The party is at the moment silently disunited, hesitant, and lacking in savvy and conviction. They must find and imbibe the virtues of a strong and cohesive political organization faster than the PDP’s reform, if they are not to come to grief in 2023 as PDP is determined to wrest power at the centre with Senators Bala Muhammed, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso or Bukola Saraki as a presidential candidate. Wazirin Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar is warming-up seriously for the last of his political battles because he holds the toga of a good fighter but with a weak and sycophantic troop that rely more on rhetorical results than reality.
The president must also not allow himself to be cajoled into aborting that refining process simply because some interested but aggrieved officials are reading to him a different and frightening narrative targeted at some seasoned politicians within their fold.
In Bauchi state, there is likelihood for a fierce battle never experienced between APC and PDP in 2023 as the two are strategizing for the battle ahead. APC has started reaching out to its aggrieved members as directed by former governor M.A Abubakar who still hold its leadership position the likes of Capt. Bala Jibrin, Ibrahim Zailani, Aminu Tukur, Bappa Aliyu Misau etc while Musa Shittu Zaki of the PDP and Farouk Mustapha of the sleeping New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP have since joined the APC. But that has not deterred Gov. Bala or rattled the PDP including the defection of Yakubu Dogara which was addressed by the governor to strengthen the records.
The president should hasten to separate personal party politics with governance. He should be focused, non-partisan in governance and treat all equally whether it is APC, NNPP, PRP, APGA, PDP or any of the parties. After all, manifestos of all the parties are same in literature with slight modifications for implementation. It is always about roads, agriculture, education, healthcare, water, electricity, security and social service. It has not changed and it will not change as we all see it. PDP or any of the parties has never denied to work or to cooperate, with the president despite party differences. The aim is to serve and to serve with passion. That President Buhari should know!
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues