The All Progressives Congress (APC), has lost seven states to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) between 2015 and 2020, mainly due to internal wranglings in the party and leadership style of erstwhile chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole.
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was removed as chairman of the party by the courts, a situation that threatened to bring down the party, but for the quick intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Our findings show that in 2015, the APC had 19 of the 36 states, which was part of the huge success of the party in the general elections. As a matter of fact, the APC took certain states that were traditionally PDP in what can be said to be a true reflection of the wishes of the people, since the PDP was in power at the centre and in control of those states.
But the crack in the party may have started after Oshiomhole took over from John Oyegun in 2016.
In 2017, some big stakeholders in the party left for the PDP including Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. They left due to their dissatisfaction with the way the party chairman handled affairs of the party.
But the party was hardest hit in the 2019 general elections and other elections leading to Oshiomhole’s exit from the scene.
Ultimately, the APC had lost Oyo, Bauchi, Adamawa, Benue, Zamfara, Sokoto and of recent Edo, mainly due to the inability of the party to manage pre-election issues or the dispute between the chairman and incumbent governors and candidates.
For instance, in Rivers, the party could not even present a candidate in the 2019 governorship elections due to factional crisis involving Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi and Sen. Magnus Abe. But it looks like that factional crisis was a ‘proxy war’ between Rotimi Amaechi and Adams Oshiomhole.
Something similar played out in Oyo state where the party lost to the major opposition PDP. They almost lost Ogun but for the infractions in the PDP.
It was also declared that APC had no candidate in Zamfara, Taraba and Bayelsa. These states were lost due to the party’s inability to handle its affairs well under Oshiomhole, pundits say.
In fact, Imo was lost to the PDP in 2019 mainly due to a clash between Oshiomhole and the then governor, Sen. Rochas Okorocha. It took the Supreme Court to return the state back to APC which shockingly came third in the election. Pundits still believe the decision of the Supreme Court, which relied on technicalities, was not a reflection of the wishes of the people and believe the state is still PDP.
The situation in Taraba was a disaster. Initially, former Minister of Women Affairs, Sen. Aisha Alhassan, who had always been a thorn in the flesh of PDP, purchased the form to contest under the APC. Even though she fell out with the Buhari government and was alleged to be involved in anti-party activities, but Oshiomhole took over the fight by denying Alhassan the candidature of the party in favour of Sani Danladi. It was almost a replica of the Obaseki case in Edo. Alhassan was disqualified.
Her exit from APC affected the fortunes of the party in Taraba and the way the primaries were conducted left much to be desired and further disintegrated the party.
Perhaps, due to the high handedness of the party officials then, they were not conscious of the fact that their candidate, Sani Danladi, had issues with his credentials and just like it happened in Bayelsa recently, Danladi was disqualified by the courts on account of discrepancies in his WAEC certificate.
Meanwhile, the current statistics show that APC has 19 states, PDP has 16 and APGA has one.
However, with the present condition of the party and popular sentiments against the APC- led federal government, it is quite uncertain how the party would sail through 2023.
This is so because the party is clearly factionalized between those loyal to Oshiomhole/Tinubu and those with the governors. The President has proven to be neutral.
Gradually, the party may be reducing to those smaller parties that coalesced to form it, namely: CPC, ACN, ANPP and new PDP. If that happens, loyal members might be tempted to look for other safe havens because, the crisis is the only justifiable reason for members to leave a party.