By OLUSESAN LAOYE
Although the congresses conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) have come and gone, but the crises they generated indicate clearly that all is not well, generally in the party from the wards to the national level.
Already there are feelers that most aggrieved factions may be plotting exit strategy after the national convention with the aim of weakening the party and ensuring that it loses the 2023 polls.
The same scenarios that occurred during the wards and Local government congresses manifested in the recently conducted state delegates congresses with factions and parallel congresses in several states, which actually exposed the party’s internal squabbles beyond what the people are meant to believe.
The just concluded States congresses across the country, ended with many states having parallel executives, which saw governors, prominent members and leaders in different camps.
The situation is so tensed now that it portends a very serious and dangerous implications to the existence of the party and other wise, future of the dramatis personae involved.
It was speculated that, the party is now in dilemma and heading towards disintegration, if proper care was not taken to address the situations.
The last straw may be the position of the Caretaker National Executive Committee, NEC, which has recognized the factions led by party leaders in the stated such as governors and elected National Assembly members, which has pulled the rug under the feet of people such as ministers and senators in states where there are governors.
Such are the situations in Kwara state, where Mr. Lai Mohammed, who is a minister and key factor in the election of Governor Abdulrazaq has lost out; Osun state where former governor, Rauf Aregbesola, a minister, is at war with the governor, Gboyega Oyetola; Lagos, where Babatunde Fashola, a minister has also lost out.
The same thing is true of vice president Osinbajo and former governor Ibikunle Amosun, who are holding the shorter end of the stick in Ogun state, where Governor Abiodu is in charge; and Kano state where former governor and senator, Ibrahim Shekarau with another senator, Barau Jinrin and two House of Rep. members, has lost to the governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.
In Niger state there are two factions and it is the same in Delta where you have the Festus Keyamo’s group locked in battle with that of senate deputy president, DSP Omo-Agege. As the highest elected officer, Omo-Agege takes the trophy.
Other states affected include, Abia, AkwaIbom, Enugu and Lagos.
It was argued that with the calibers of people involved, the party echelon would have to be careful if the centre must hold before the general elections in 2023, because any slip on their part in mishandling the situation, could spell serious doom for the party and open the room for mass defections, which may hurt the party in the election.
Political observers are saying that with the way things are, and the numerous court cases following parallel executives at ward, local government and States, the incoming National Congress of the party later this year, could be rancorous.
Already some of the party’s big wigs have expressed lack of confidence in the Mai Mala Buni Committee, saying that his position to lead the party was not right and that stand is already being contested in court.
What has made the matter in the party worse, especially over the Congresses, was the statement of the congress committee that only the ones in which the sitting governors participated would be recognised.
Also, the issue of sanctioning those who led parallel congresses has angered the people involved and the thinking has been how Aregbesola, Amosun, Lai Muhammed, Keyamo, Ojudu, Adeyeye, Shakarau and other top members of the party would be sanctioned and there won’t be heavy and serious crises in the party.
This statements by the National Secretary of the caretaker Congress committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe that the parallel congress were just mere naming ceremonies and not in consonant with the constitution of the APC and that appropriate sanctions awaits chieftains known to have masterminded such Congresses, labelling such people as saboteurs, did not only actually angered those concerned, but insulted their integrity and undermined their contributions to the development of the party.
With what is going on now, it was said that even the aspirants for various political offices especially the presidency, are in for a serious problem because of the factions in their respective zones.
It was said, that the zone that would be drastically affect is the South West, where there are many gladiators for the presidency.Those speculated to be itching for the presidential race include the National leader, Bola Tinubu who is top on the list, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Babatunde Fashola among others.
But it appears that Tinubu may not after all be interested especially given his health challenge and the new opposition in Lagos, which may signal a potential end to his political dominance of Lagos.
It was learnt that the Lagos for Lagos group is backed by Fashola, Tinubu’s former protégé and former governor, who may gunning for him as a pay-back for wanting to stop his second term in 2011.
Already, it was hinted that Tinubu is regrouping with Osinbajo to neutralize the Lagos for Lagos threat for the presidency. With Tinubu’s backing, Osinbajo is likely to emerge the presidential candidate to run with Ganduje, which would removal the obstacle of a Moslem-Moslem ticket.
This is also to reduce the impact of the parallel Congress in the South West which could mean that the zone cannot be united before the National Convention of the party because of divisions.
Another issue is how to unite the factions in Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, and Ondo.As of today, in Lagos, there are three factions in APC: That of the former governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos4Lagos group and the one led by the governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu that his solidly behind him.
This, it was argued, made him to hurriedly come back home from London where he was receiving medical attention to put things in order as it was not possible to do that from outside, for reasons such as his political reputation, finding new strategy of his keeping stronghold on Lagos, his home base, which has been polarized.
It was learnt that part of his move to gain support was the visit of the Chieftains of Afenifere to him recently and his crucial meeting with the Vice President, Professor Osinbajo.
Reacting to the political situation one of the leaders for Lagos4Lagos, Sunday Ajayi said “On our side, we have done a proper congress to take over Lagos as a new born baby.”
“Then the final arbiter is the national body, after the national body is the court and nobody can stop anybody from going to court. But today, we know that we are the authentic APC leading faction in Lagos State.
“We are not comfortable with the impunity and imposition of candidates on party members at both elective and party leadership. All the aggrieved people are in Lagos4Lagos Movement and they are saying enough is enough.”
Also the faction that supported Tinubu in Lagos has stated that it would ensure Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerges as Nigeria’s president come 2023.
The Organising Secretary of the faction in Lagos, Comrade Ayodele Adewale, argued that the APC in the state, now being led by Cornelius Ojelabi would ensure that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerges president come 2023.
“We shall work hard to ensure that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu becomes the president of Nigeria on May 29, 2023,” he pointed out.