ANPP IN CONVENTION OF RE-POSITIONING TOMORROW
When the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) was delivered as a baby in 1998, it was christened All Peoples Party (APP). The birth place was the famous Airport Hotel, Ikeja Lagos.
And some of the 'midwives' in attendance were the late Attorney General of the Federation Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige (SAN), Senator Arthur Nzeribe, late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, the late Afenifere leader, Pa Abraham Adesanya, late General Joseph Garba, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, Senator Kofoworola Burknor Akerele and Chief Ayo Adebanjo among several other notable politicians across the country.
Going by the observation of Bola Ige, the party had all the potentials of becoming the most formidable party of the century. Quoting the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ige reminded that Awolowo had once prophesised that a time would come, when politicians of progressive minds across the Niger would come together to salvage the country.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) expressed confidence that the prophesy of his political godfather has come to pass with the Ikeja assembly. But things later fell apart when some South West politicians felt uncomfortable with some politicians, who played roles in the annulment of June 12, 1993 election won by one of their own. It would be recalled that Senator Nzeribe played a prominent role in the saga with his Association for Better Nigeria (ABN).
The pulling out of those opposed to the presence of some particular individuals led to the birth of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) as well as the beginning of the APP (later ANPP) problem.
The three parties that were eventually registered were the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), AD and APP. The general election of 1999 saw the PDP clinching the presidency while the ANPP had 9 governors and the AD, 6.
Going through several crises, the party that started with nine states can only presently boast of three governors. The last straw that broke the ANPP's camel's back, beside the decampment of notable chieftains like Rtd General Muhammadu Buhari and Chief Lanre Razak was the defection of some of its governors to the ruling PDP. The governors are Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, Aliyu Shinkafi of Zamfara and Magatakarda Wamako of Sokoto.
It is interesting to note that, after the 2007 election, the party's standard bearer, Buhari went to challenge the result of the election at the tribunal, the leadership of the party under the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke was negotiating to partake in the Government of National Unity (GNU) with the PDP government which victory was being contested at the tribunal.
Tomorrow, the ANPP is heading to a National Convention with a perceived divided house and the outcome of the convention would have a great impact on the psyche of the members across the country as well as on the 2011 performance of the party.
But when the crisis erupted with the departure of Buhari, the three governors and some part big wigs put heads together to salvage the party. It is the outcome of their rescue mission that brought about the confidence to hold a convention in Abuja, perhaps to tell doubting Thomases that the party is still very much on course inspite of the crises it has gone through in recent time.
Right now, some party chieftains to watch are Governors Mudu Sherrif of Borno, Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe and Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state who is nursing presidential ambition. National Chairman of the party, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, former Presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), Alhaji Bashir Tofa, Senators Abba Ibrahim and Sani Ahmed Yerima, Lagos state Chairman, Chief Abiodun Oyebolu and several chairmanship aspirants jostling to outplay one another.
Notable among them are the foreign-based business mogul, Chief Harry Akande, former National Secretary, Chief George Moghalu, third republic governor of Edo state, Chief John Odigie Oyegun and the current Chairman of the Board of Trustee (BoT), Alhaji Gambo Magaji. There is also the suppressed feeling that the party has not benefited much from the decision to zone its national chairmanship to the South East, in terms of impact and electoral success in the zone. This appears to be behind the current moves in some quarters to take the chairmanship out of the zone. But that might be a dangerous card to play for now.