APC Caretaker Committee: From Party Crisis To Growth

September 1, 2020
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The All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged on the political firmament of Nigeria with a bang, uniting disparate interests to push out of power, the then ruling Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP).

It was the first time an opposition party would be unseating an incumbent President in our country’s history. It was indeed declared a near miracle, when General Muhammadu Buhari of APC defeated the then incumbent president of PDP, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

However shortly after its well-deserved victory, things began to fall apart as some sections of the party began to alienate others, even as others went after the national chairman who led them to victory in 2015 general election, Chief John Oyegun. All these contending forces for the soul of the party created all manners of crises, including leadership tussles right from the state level to the national level.

When they succeeded in pushing out Oyegun and brought in former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman, the crisis in the party rather than abate, it got much worse! This eventually resulted to the party losing grounds to the PDP in the 2019 general election.

Oshiomhole’s failure to even build on the successes recorded under Oyegun enraged many members who wanted him out of the way! The legal tussles to unseat Oshiomhole got so messy that the leader of the
party, President Muhammadu Buhari had to intervene in order to return sanity to the ruling party.

After a protracted leadership crisis in the APC, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party at an emergency meetingpresided over by President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved the Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC) on the 25th of June, 2020! This was the only way to rescue the party from impending collapse. In its place, the party constituted a Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee to see to the day-to-day affairs of the party. The committee headed by the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, included; Osun State governor, Isiaka Oyetola, Niger State governor, Abubakar Bello, Sen. Ken Nnamani, Sen. Abubakar Yusuf, Hon. Akinyemi Olaide, Mrs. Stella Oketete, Dr. James Lulu, Chief David Lyon, Sen. Abba Ali, Prof. Tahir Mamman, Barr. Ismail Ahmed and Sen. John Udoedeghe as the secretary.
The President subsequently urged all aggrieved members who had instituted various cases in the courts to withdraw such cases in the interest of the party. The caretaker committee did not waste time to embark of the peace-building task assigned to it.

At its inaugural meeting at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja, the chairman, Buni called on leaders and members of the party to work to strengthen the party so as to be fit for all current and future challenges. He further urged all APC members to heed to the appeal by the leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw various cases in the courts in the interest of party. The call became necessary because since 2015 when the party won the presidential election, APC has not been able to manage its success, as the party had been embroiled in one crisis or the other.

Immediately after the 2019 elections, it was the former deputy national chairman (North), Lawal Shuaibu who rightly observed in a-five page open letter to Oshiomhole dated May 27, 2019, that the electoral fortunes of the APC had dwindled because of the leadership style of Oshiomhole, whom he accused of conducting the NWC meetings at a private residence instead of the party’s national secretariat. He noted: “We had 23 states in 2015, but after the 2019 elections we lost seven states! We also had 60 senators in 2015 at the end of the elections; we now end up with 57 senators in 2019! You were not brought in to lose elections. It is absolutely unacceptable!”
One of the major reasons why the crisis that rocked the party festered was mainly because meetings of party organs were not allowed to hold by the then NWC!

Aside the crisis that rocked the leadership of the party at the national level, the state chapters were also embroiled in all manners of crisis. For instance, in Ondo State, the Unity Forum was up against the incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu’s faction; in Edo, it was Governor Godwin Obaseki against Oshiomhole; in Zamfara, it was former Governor Abdulaziz Yari against Senator Kabiru Marafa faction; in Osun, it was Oyetola against former Governor Rauf Aregbesola; in Oyo State, you have Adebayo Shittu against Ajimobi, in Rivers State, it is Magnus Abe against Amaechi. Other states where the state chapters of the party were also embroiled in crisis include; Bauchi, Bayelsa, Kano, Cross River, Gombe, Kaduna, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Yobe, among others.

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The APC Caretaker Committee at inception had its hands full. However, if the results emerging from the states that were hitherto hotbeds of crisis is anything to go by then, the committee has done well so far!

The committee has been able to take the party from crisis to growth!
From Cross River to Kano; from Bauchi to Benue; from Bayelsa to Rivers; from Kaduna to Plateau; and indeed all over the hotbeds of crisis, sanity has returned or is gradually returning.
The committee has been so successful in reconciling many party factions in the states that it has gone ahead to do zonal reconciliation. Only a few days back the committee achieved another feat when it reconciled the minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, and the minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
The chairman of the committee and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, held peace meeting with the duo at the national secretariat of the party as part of the ongoing efforts to reconcile aggrieved members of the party. The reconciliatory efforts paid off as both party chieftains finally agreed to work together.

Amaechi, toldjournalists after the peace parley that, “we have agreed that both of us will work together.” A statement issued by the deputy national publicity secretary of the party, Mr. Yekini Nabena, said both Amaechi and Sylva had agreed to work together to reposition the party in theSouth South geo-political zone of the country. He said Buni charged both Amaechi and Sylva to play lead roles in bringing together party members and stakeholders to ensure that the APC is victorious in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, as well as legislative by-elections in Bayelsa and Cross River States.

What the committee has done so far in repositioning the party is commendable. It also important that the committee be given all the supports it needs in carrying out its assignment.
It is also in order to commend President Muhammadu Buhari whose intervention lead to the emergence of the committee. The President’s intervention saved the party from disintegration thereby demonstrating that he is indeed the leader of the party!

Aluta Continua!

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