From Ribadu to Ikimi: The Hemorrhage in APC Continues
By Francis Ehigiator
The online dictionary – dictionary.com – describes hemorrhage as a profuse discharge of blood, as from a ruptured blood vessel. In looking for a word to best describe the ongoing exodus from the All Progressives Congress (APC) of its leading lights, I could not find a better word than hemorrhage. With the recent decision of Chief Tom Ikimi to quit the party -an event that prompted this analysis in the first place – the party has bled out most of its life wires, losing its vigor through chronic anemia.
In the past few weeks, the party's presidential candidate in the 2011 elections, Nuhu Ribadu had waved it goodbye, just like former Governors Ibrahim Shekarau and Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, as well as former military governor of Lagos and Borno States, Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.) and former Minister Femi Fani-Kayode. The departure of the former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission chairman (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, dealt a huge psychological blow on the party that has, since its discredited national convention, been sliding down the precipice. The situation in a party must be of the worst kind to make its presidential torch-bearer in as recent as the 2011 elections to jump ship.
Just when the party was trying to come to terms with Ribadu's departure, Ikimi, announced last week that he was dumping the party too. Unlike Ribadu who spared Nigerians the gory details of the deceit that went for party politics in the APC, Ikimi could not hold his bitterness. The former National Chairman of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in the aborted Third Republic made it clear his decision was largely influenced by the domineering influence of former Lagos Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has turned the party into an instrument for 'reckless self-aggrandizement'.
Ikimi may not be the first to have been hounded out of the party by Tinubu and his cohorts, but he is easily the most embittered. Shekarau, Bafarawa, and Marwa may have taken their humiliation with stoic equanimity, but Ikimi was not simply a number in the APC. For a man who played a central role in the formation of the APC by managing the tricky merger of four legacy parties, Tinubu had craftily sidelined him in the subsequent affairs of the party and used his cohorts to obliterate Ikimi's contributions. An instance is the party's National Summit on the 7th of March 2014 in Abuja which was an elaborate event to officially unveil the new party. At the presentation, those in attendance were shocked to observe that not even a word was mentioned of Ikimi as one of those who contributed to the creation of the APC.
If that was not callous enough, the rudeness with which the man was forcibly prevailed upon to abandon his quest to lead the party at the June national convention was most uncharitable. Ikimi who has clashed severally with Tinubu since their ACN days was particularly targeted with the propaganda that he was too high-handed to lead the party. The attack was so ferocious that the Tinubu camp had threatened to quit the APC if Ikimi emerged the party's new chairman. With that blackmail, Ikimi was pressured to submission; the ex-Foreign Minister walked away from the contest when it became apparent that Chief John Odigie-Oyegun had emerged as Tinubu's anointed candidate.
To add to the insult, other leaders in the party watched in amazement as one man foisted on the whole, a weak leadership that he has been manipulating for the advancement of his personal agenda. The most worrisome of that agenda is the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket which Tinubu has sworn to foist on the party, in the belief that the Northwest and Southwest could, through their population, muster the electoral votes to win the 2015 presidential election.
But the myth of Tinubu's infallibility in the Southwest has long been punctured in Ekiti; and, before it was Ondo. Ekiti people, like most other enlightened race like the Yoruba Southwest geopolitical zone, are discontented with his party and the manner in which its affairs are being conducted at his whims and caprices. Tinubu has run affairs in the APC like one would a fiefdom, playing the sole king-maker and ramming his choice candidates down everyone's throats. Well known for his habit of talking people down -supposed allies and political opponents alike – he has since extended it to other leaders of the race, including -of all people – the Yoruba traditional rulers who have not been spared from the man's insults and uncouth language.
The North has not fared any better either. While Muhammadu Buhari, an Army General and undoubted leader of the Northern wing of the party, has quietly accepted his imposed role as Tinubu's alter-ego without any whimper, another presidential aspirant, Abubakar Atiku, has been severally humiliated by Tinubu. While Buhari lives on the delusion that Tinubu will deliver the party's presidential ticket to him on a platter of gold, Atiku and his allies have systematically been edged out from the calculations for the party's 2015 presidential ticket, and made to play spectators to Tinubu.
How one man was able to bring a whole region to its knees remains a surprise. Never before has the fate of a region been put in the hands of one man. Never since Sardauna has one unpredictable man played the North's kingmaker. The question is: did Ikimi actually say something new? Of course, no! The surprise is that other leading lights in Nigeria's major opposition party have, by their acts of commission or omission, surrendered to the whims of one dictatorial man. Like Ribadu and Ikimi, the exodus in the APC will continue and like a bleeding dog, the hemorrhage will ultimately lead it from the present comatose position, to eventual death.
Mr Ehigiator sent this piece from Benin City, Edo State.
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