THERE is a local joke in my hometown that if an old woman suddenly runs out of her house into the streets shouting or crying, something has definitely triggered off her action. It might either be that she has lost her grand child or that somebody has stolen her smoking pipe. Old women, it is believed, love their smoking pipes as much as they love their grand children. Like an old woman, the leadership of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, has run into the streets in the last few weeks shouting and crying. What has happened to warrant the sudden loss in its boisterous disposition? Soon after its emergence as a formidable opposition party early last year, the leaders left no one in doubt that it was out to sack President Goodluck Jonathan from Aso Rock Villa next year. All was fair in the political war as long as the antics appeared to work in their favour and to the disadvantage of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The dream of the party to control the centre next year appears to be threatened after it unexpectedly lost Ekiti state to the PDP in the June 21, governorship election which its leadership has refused to accept as being free and fair even though international monitors have adjudged it so. Hence, the party’s sing-song now is that the election process was militarized forgetting that the same process was used in Edo State, where its candidate won the governorship election. While the APC leadership was threatening fire and brimstone over the Ekiti election and had even gone to the tribunal to challenge the result, it got a bee sting in Adamawa, another state it controlled through defection. On July 15, retired Admiral Murtala Nyako, a former PDP governor, who had swollen the opposition rank through defection, was sacked by the State House of Assembly, for gross misconduct. His deputy, James Bala Ngilari, who should have taken over the reins of government, had resigned earlier to avert his own impeachment. This development paved the way for Ahmadu Fintri, speaker of the PDP-controlled State House of Assembly, to step in as the acting governor.
That was not all. The gale of impeachments has since moved to Nasarawa State where the PDP-dominated legislature has set in motion a process to sack Tanko Al-Makura, an APC governor, for alleged gross misconduct. APC leaders are crying foul and blaming their dwindling political fortunes on President Jonathan and his party. Their cry may not halt the gale of impeachments in the states where there is a sour relationship between the governors and their legislators. Is it possible for the president to intervene in the states to stop the gale as the APC leaders have suggested without being accused of disrespecting the doctrine of separation of powers in a democratic setting? The woes of the party seem endless and its leaders are not helping matters. They have acquired a notoriety for the party by seeking to exploit the Boko Haram insurgency in the country to APC’s political advantage. As a result of their posturing in opposing every act meant to combat the insurgency, the federal government’s allegations that the party’s leaders are the sponsors of Boko Haram insurgents, have begun to stick locally and internationally. This negative tag has also become a major problem for the party. All these and other developments are examined in our cover story for this week entitled “2015 Elections: Political Fever Grips APC”. As usual, the author is Olu Ojewale, the general editor. It is a must-read.
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— Aug. 4, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT