… as ENDSARS violence endangers 2023
By OLUSESAN LAOYE
The All Progressives Congress (APC) which has since 2015 has been a dominant political party in the South Western part of Nigeria, is now facing a bleak future, which now puts it at a risk in view of the current political developments in the country.
Before now, the party had been under severe threat of disintegration at the National level due to the leadership crisis toward 2023, appears to be currently adversely affected across all the zones in Nigeria. But it is in the South west that its future has come under question particularly with the reactions to the ENDSARS protest, which many see as a vote of no confidence on the government and party in the zone.
The party right now seems to be heading towards serious crisis which i f not properly resolved could be the beginning of the end not only in the zone but in the country. And the crisis seems to be self instigated toward frustrating the zone’s bid for the presidency in 2023.
The party which has been dominating the entire South Western Nigeria since 2015 with the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), only managing to control one at a time may be imploding toward 2023. For instance, the PDP wrestle power from the APC in Ekiti which made Ayodele Fayose to return as governor after defeating Kayode Fayemi.
Also the party gained control of Ondo state after Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of then Labour used it to win second term as governor. At present the PDP now has only Oyo State with Seyi Makinde as governor.
This has actually been the fortune of the APC since 2015 in the South West, but right now, that fortune is being threatened due to series of factors, which have been unfolding in the last two years, with the latest being the killings of the End SARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, which has elicited reactions both locally and internationally.
This incident has in no small way diminished the integrity of the party which has been castigated as anti masses and bedeviled with bad leadership at the top.
Apart from the fact that the APC has been in the bad books of many people due to the hardship being inflicted on them by the party have subjected them, the South West which is expected to produce the president may be the biggest loser as the party may not be able to maintain its hold on the zone in view of its rising unpopularity.
What is right now having adverse effect on the party in the South West was the fact that it engineered the coalition of the political parties that formed the APC and for the very reason that its national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu is from that region. This is addition to the fact that the government at the National level has generally failed and disappointed the expectations of many Nigerians.
The general believe in the South west now is that since the leadership of the party has failed them both at the national and the zone, they seem to be discontented and the people are determined to look elsewhere.
What has now compounded the party’s problem in the South West is the end SARS protests, which cast grievous aspersions on Asiwaju Tinubu and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo Olu, especially on the killings of the youths at the protest ground.
This actually exposed the weakness of the leadership and the party in the Region and it has as well, heightened the lack of confidence the youths have in APC government generally and this no doubt, stands as one of the major factors that would affect the already dented fortune of the party in the South West.
In fact, Tinubu, who has been a moving factor of the party and a big motivator with his huge resources, is believed to be in dilemma with the youths whom he had always motivated to work for his interest in any election, especially in Lagos state.
The Lekki incident has made the youths to look him straight in the face and challenged him, querying his source of wealth which was a big blow to his personality and integrity. It would now take Tinubu exra miles for the South West Youths to repose confidence in him.
One other factor that may work against the future of the party in the region borders on the presidential race in 2023 which has already been gathering momentum. This could tear the party apart because of the interested parties within and outside the region.
As it has been speculated, the party is strongly considering zoning the presidency to the South West, and as a result, there have been speculations on those jostling for the presidency in the zone and this is already polarizing the ranks and files of the party. The party now has camps of presidential aspirants, which cut across the six states of the zone.
Those being speculated to be interested are the leader, Bola Tinubu, Raji Fashola, Kayode Fayemi, Ibikunle Amosun, Rauf Aregbesola and the vice President Yemi Osinbajo. These potential aspirants have their supporters working for them and their ambitions are already creating problems, which in a way could affect the future of the party. The major problem is some of them are being sponsored by forces outside the zone.
In Lagos, the likes of Muiz Banire, Ganiyu Solomon and others are challenging the leadership of Tinubu. This has been going on for years and sources revealed that those opposed to Tinubu’s leadership are still hell bent on rocking the boat and taking their pound of flesh from him.
In Oyo, the demise of the former governor Abiola Ajimobi has created a wide gap in the party. Ajimobi had been a rallying point and since he died, it has become difficult to have a leader.
Even before Ajimobi died the party was in trouble, as there was a sharp division between those loyal to him and the ones in the camp of the late Governor Alhaji Lamidi Adesina.
This group fell out with him and his leadership, and this eventually resulted in that group leaving the party which was responsible for the party losing to the PDP in Oyo State.
In Ogun state, the party is faced with similar leadership crisis between Chief Segun Osoba, and the immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. The crisis resulted in the emergence of Chief Dapo Abiodun as the governor of the state, who was not the Amosun’s candidate and is still manifesting which could make or mar the existence of the party in the state.
In Osun State as well, the crisis between Governor Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, now Interior Minister, is still very much in the air, as Oyetola has been trying to erase the foot print of Aregbesola from the state. Although he used the platform and the structure of Aregbesola to get to office, but as soon as he became the governor, he pushed aside those in Aregbesola’s camp that helped him. Gov. Oyetole who was his Chief of staff, is Tinubu’s cousin and therefore, unlikely to support Aregbesola’s bid for the presidency against Tinubu.
The opposition is also using this to turn the street against the governor who is seriously fighting hard now to be in control. During the ENDSARS agitation he was shot at by those hoodlums believed to political enemies.
The worst hit is Ekiti state where powerful forces are slugging it out with Governor Kayode Fayemi. The crisis there is so tensed that it has actually divided the party into factions and this portends a great danger for the future of the party in the state.
Ondo State, which has just gone through the governorship election can’t be left out because the party was not one before the primary for the governorship election. The warring groups only decided to come together just to prevent the PDP from winning the election. However, if the election were to hold today, the party may have easily lost.
As a political analyst and writer Prince Ademola Adenuyigbe said, “All these crises here and there are now in waiting for the APC to explode if they failed to manage them.” He argued that there was no way the party could escape disintegration with the way things are going and the animosity against it from all angles.
He also said that all the complaints put APC at a very big risk of extinction in years to come, saying “if care was not taken, the party could face high stake of defection, which is likely to be as a result of power tussle that could be triggered off due to poor adherence to democratic principles in running the party affairs.”
Also a legal luminary Prince Adenle Adeloye predicted that god-fatherism would no longer have a significant role to play in the politics of the South West based on the revolutionary stance of the youths and other enlightened people in the region.
He argued that ‘the revolution which is going on would be engineered among the youths in APC against the leaders and once they start, it means whoever wants to aspire for any position will have to convince them that he or she would serve, to improve the lots of the masses especially the youths.
Also commenting on the future of APC, Olakunle Oluwamayowa, who was one of the coordinators of the end SARS protest in Ibadan, said, as far as the youths were concerned, they will no longer tolerate politicians who would use and dump them.
“What we are even planning now is beyond that. The plan now is that since we have realised that this babas are just there to deceive us by recycling themselves either in APC ,PDP or what have you, we are mobilising to change the narratives and form two formidable political parties which would have national outlook that would eventually make the so-called slave camp political parties and their operators to give way.
“In our own case the parties to be formed would not be a party that would be controlled by a section of the country and we would not care who rules or where the person comes from, all we would care about is delivery.”
“We believed that starting on a clean slate would end corruption because effective laws would be put in place to curb that. So the old parties should be getting ready to give way, and if they refused, they would be crushed”.
Meanwhile at a recent world press conference by the former Deputy Chairman South, PDP, and former Military Governor of Ondo State, Chief Olabode George, said that time has come for Nigerians to flush out the APC which has failed the nation with bad governance. He argued that the country was better during the periods the PDP governed Nigeria.
“Our nation has turned that frightening corner where all conscionable men and women must now choose to stand with the righteous or withdraw into the dark corridor of cowardly little men; unspoken, quiet, huddled in undignified silence.”
“I have chosen to talk. I have chosen to identify with the voiceless, the helpless, the trampled, the hapless, the selfless members of the armed forces and the police. But I do not speak with any partisan badge. I speak as a Nigerian patriot. I speak as an elder statesman. I speak as the Atọna Odua of Yorubaland. I speak as a Lagosian original.”
“Our system is not working. Our ethos and norms have broken down. The structures of power are hindering merit and excellence. It is this very anomaly which is much pronounced in Lagos state than any other part of our nation that galvanized the ENDSARS protests.”
“Naturally, Lagos is the epicentre of this legitimate protests. The choice of the protesters, the Lekki Toll gate, is very symbolic about the massive aberrations in the state of excellence which has been virtually appropriated as a personal fiefdom by Bola Tinubu, a transplanted Iragbiji native.”
Chief George frowned at the rate politics has turned into a revolving door “where governors become senators and senators become governors, gutting our treasury through huge pensions and allowances worth over N189 billion every year while 10,500 professors are paid a pittance of about N4.5 billion annually we are promoting a macabre game that may consume us all.”