WITH OSHIOMHOLE AND OTHERS LOSING GRIPS, WHITHER APC?
These are not the best of times for the All Progressives Congress (APC), and this should concern all progressives in the country, from the real to the latter day ones like Governors who have come into the APC and bequeath the party with nothing but crises. From Lagos to Edo; from Kogi to Katsina, there are crises everywhere; the generality of the youth in the party from the northern part of the country are no longer sure that the beloved General Muhammadu Buhari will get the presidential ticket following a selfish machination put together by the so-called Yoruba leader who misfired by hurling invectives at all but three of the traditional rulers of his tribe.
It is not clear yet what he hoped to achieve, but he has caused mileages to be lost in an area he is supposed to deliver. The progressives, or this 21st Century version, now have to contend with a house divided against itself. Femi Fani-Kayode left, but not quietly because Nigeria's version of Goebbels in the APC, could not rein in his tongue and his pen, against a man more articulate than himself. And that articulate party hopper has spilled some poisonous beans into the public space.
And what about Edo State where the Comrade Governor is no longer beloved and cannot keep together his game. First, Chief Tom Ikimi was treacherously dealt with at the center and he wrote some satanic verses, but now that he is prevaricating about leaving, those verses are there for all to recall.
Couched in diplomatese, the architect drew the image of a collapsing party structure everywhere, noting that he was writing from Benin City where all was not well with the party. He said: 'The latest problems arise from the congresses where in the South-south region, there are fundamental problems in Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Cross Rivers and Edo. I have been informed of similar problems in most other States across the country. Parallel Excos have emerged in Ogun State!
'Here in the South-south, I could personally do nothing as a Leader or the South-south Vice Chairman since the arrangements on ground give me no powers to operate. Party headquarters has established very strange channels of communication with my region and State. The mass failure of these processes (the congresses) is not a surprise to me at all. How the personnel for these congresses have been generated is shrouded in utmost secrecy. A failed Ward Congress can only give birth to a failed LGA Congress, a disaster at State Level and mayhem at National Convention.'
Before Ikimi's verses, some founding leaders of APC had taken a walk from the party to the PDP. Among them were Chief Solomon Edebiri (2012 ANPP governorship candidate) and many leaders from the state and Local government areas who were received into PDP. Like the loquacious Governor of the State, Edebiri described the government of Adams Oshiomole as one of the most corrupt governments ever, adding that the APC government was run on pages of newspapers. He mocked the ward and Local government congresses of APC, describing them as a sham.
If Edebiri was not a big fry, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, could not be described as such. He left in a huff and dragged his supporters with him. He was also not quiet in leaving and reiterated what Ikimi hinted; only this time he said the APC was an 'Animal Farm.' Oshiomhole did not take kindly to Ize-Iyamu's truthful barbs and hit back. Ize-Iyamu said he joined the PDP because he believed that the party was the best vehicle for democratic governance. He said there was a desperate move by the governor to dismantle his structures and that his problem with the governor was because he dared to speak the truth.
His words: 'The governor publicly and privately has come to me to say Pastor, I appreciate the support you have given to me. I know how competent you are. When the time comes, I will support you to become the governor. If he denies it, it will completely show he is not a man of his words. The issue is somebody has consistently promised me this but with the way the comrade has been going, by 2016, I don't think there will be any APC again.
'APC today has become an animal farm. Everything we condemned is still in place. The governor wanted to conduct the congress in an undemocratic way by asking me to take five wards and the deputy five wards. He was so petrified about Ize-Iyamu being in control that he wanted me to become a minority.'
At the APC state congress, Oshiomhole had his day when he said: 'Those who insist we must do politics as usual where positions are appointed by one person, those who insist that I should unilaterally decree them as the next governor cannot fit in.'
Fearful of the hurricane that is heading his way, the self-acclaimed strongman of Edo politics has started whining about a plot to impeach him. As usual, PDP chieftains in Abuja are the whipping dogs for Oshiomhole who is daily getting his politics and his own agenda wrong. Read Oshiomhole: 'They brought a lot of money from Abuja, paying assembly members whom we campaigned for. We marketed some of these people who are not known in their neighbourhood. They rode on my back to get to the House of Assembly.
'Some of them cannot walk on their streets. They collected, as I read in the papers, huge sums of money for them to decamp, to mortgage, to put on sale the mandate that you all, in your respective areas, gave them on the basis of their promise that they will work with me to deliver the state.'
Two things quickly came to my mind when I read these lines by Oshiomhole. First, I remember how Oshiomhole in his first term as governor deployed the instrumentality of the state and its resources to depopulate the PDP-controlled House of Assembly such that the ACN ended up having the majority in the state legislature. Persons elected on the PDP platform defected to the ACN to the admiration of Oshiomhole. Today, Oshiomhole is crying, talking about huge money being used to woo his party legislators over to the PDP and for his impeachment. If his claim is true, then I think it rings true that what goes round comes round. He now knows how it feels to be at the receiving end.
Then second, Oshiomhole said that these people were not known in their neighbourhoods, that they rode on his back to get elected into the House of Assembly; and, I ask, how come these purportedly unknown individuals are the ones giving him sleepless nights? If they were unknown, he should not bother about them or their antics. But the fact is that they are now known, reputed representatives of their people; and the governor cannot deny this.
But what is playing out in Edo State and at the national level where the uncontained ambition of a Yoruba leader is about to tear the party apart, is being replicated in Lagos as it appears that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is losing grip. His own anointed son in Alausa has even suggested that his successor will not be imposed as he was in 2007.
Also, the joiner-governors from the PDP are working at a plot to bloody the noses of the original owners of the party who themselves are questionable soul mates. The question that continues to rankle, however, is: where are the true progressives to save this sinking ship?
Written By Abubakar Galadima