There appears to be no end in sight to restore peace in the ruling All Progressives Congress as aggrieved members within party announced the formation of a bloc named Reformed-APC, on Wednesday, July 4, despite efforts to reunite the party behind President Muhammadu Buahri ahead of next general elections in 2019
By Olu Ojewale
THE gulf in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, appears to be getting wider. On Wednesday, July 4, the crisis in the party assumed a new dimension when a group of individuals within the party announced the formation of a new bloc named Reformed-APC, R-APC.
Buba Galadima, who is the former national secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and an ally to President Muhammadu Buhari was named the new chairman of the group.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Galadima said that the decision to form the R-APC was informed by the realisation that more than three years after the formation of the APC and its promise to positively change Nigeria, the party has deviated from its core objectives and institutionalised the same vices the previous administration was punished for at the polls.
According to him, the recently concluded congress of the APC and its outcome were invalid because they violated the letter and spirit of the APC constitution.
Besides, Galadima said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC had in the past three years demonstrated incompetence and elevated nepotism to the level of statecraft.
He also accused the administration of intolerance for any form of dissent.
This, he said, was demonstrated in the various attempts to muscle aggrieved party members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP, bloc for making their grievances public.
According to Galadima, the R-APC remains the authentic party hence there is no need to seek fresh recognition from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. He challenged anyone who had a different opinion to seek legal interpretation.
He charged: “The APC has run a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people. It has rather imposed dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism. It has failed to ensure the security and welfare of our people and elevated nepotism to an unacceptable height.
“The APC has failed to deliver on its key promises to the nation. There is no evidence of any political will to reverse the decline of our party, while leaders who have created these circumstances continue to behave as if Nigerians owe our party votes as a matter of right.
“The APC government has been a monumental disaster, even worse than the government it replaced. The political party that was a vehicle for enthroning the government was rendered powerless by manipulations and complete lack of due process in its operations.”
He said that the last straw was the congresses and the convention of the party held recently, where there were parallel congresses in 24 states.
As if that was not bad enough, Galadima also condemned the recently concluded national convention of the APC which produced Adams Oshiomhole as the national chairman, saying: “The so-called national convention of the APC was even worse. The national convention of the party was ridiculed with constitutional infirmities that were so glaring and obvious that no fair-minded person can claim that a legitimate and lawful executive emerged from that process.”
He said that the R-APC had constituted officers in all the wards, 774 local government areas, and all the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the R-APC included all the progressive forces in the APC, including most of the leading members of the defunct nPDP, CPC, ANPP, ACN and others.
He added that R-APC would work with like-minded political parties and groups to offer Nigeria qualitative good governance in 2019.
According Galadima the R-APC has appointed national officers for the faction. They include Bala Muhd Gwagwarwa, national deputy chairman, North; Theo Nkire, national deputy chairman, South-East; Eko Olakunle, national vice-chairman, South-West; Hussaini Dambo, national vice-chairman, North-West; Mahmud Abubakar, national vice-chairman, North-Central; Godwin Akaan, deputy national secretary; Fatai Atanda, national secretary; and Kazeem Afegbua, national publicity secretary, among others.
At the unveiling of the R-APC, Kawu Baraje, the former national chairman of the nPDP, told journalists that the choice of Galadima to lead the group was informed by his incorruptibility.
He noted that Galadima’s outstanding leadership qualities and his commitment to the Nigerian project remained unblemished all through his public life.
He said: “Sometime last week, I made a press release on the nPDP when a lot of you were making enquiries about where we were going? What was going to be our next step, are we still talking to the government or the APC? I dropped a hint that before the end of the first week of July, where we are will be made known to Nigerians and today you have now seen where we are.”
He said further: “We knew the content of the manifesto that the APC was supposed to run and we stood for three years and came out when we waited for three years hoping for things to change and it never changed and we came out to say no…
“This is the struggle for the emancipation of our country to stop the bloodletting, rejuvenate the economy of this country, to ensure there are three square meals on the table of the average Nigerian.
“This is what we stand for, strengthening the system and not the individual.”
It was not clear at press time if Shehu Sani, a senator representing APC, Kaduna State, is a member of the group. But it is instructive to note that Sani had on Tuesday, July 3, told the press that aggrieved members of the APC in Kaduna State, would leave the party.
He said it was too late for Adams Oshiomhole as the new APC national chairman to reconcile them with the party.
The senator said: “I wish Adams has come earlier because like I said these grenades that were laid by the former chairman will explode in a matter of days.”
He said that the ward, local government and state congresses in Kaduna, were flawed and that complaints were lodged to the effect but they were ignored by the John Odigie-Oyegun-led national working committee of the APC.
He accused the party leaders including Buhari of being incapable of handling the crisis within party. Sani said: “How can a governor, openly called for violence against senators and not a statement came from the seat of power cautioning such a governor?
“How can a governor move bulldozers and demolish a house of a fellow party member, the one who helped him to be where he is and there is not even a statement from the presidency?
“The governor uses the machinery of the state to emasculate political opponents. He even framed me for murder and there was no statement that came from the presidency to caution such a governor.
“Virtually Kaduna State under governor El-Rufai does not create conducive environment for any of us to remain in that party.”
Besides, the senator said: “There were three attempts to resolve the Kaduna APC crisis; there was Inuwa Abdulkadir committee which was never respected by the governor, there was the Governor (Aminu) Masari-led committee which was also not respected and there as you can see, (Ahmed) Tinubu’s attempt to reconcile members of the party was simply neutralised and abandoned. So we are not slaves to continue to be in that party.”
That notwithstanding, the APC on Thursday, July 5, dissociated itself from the R-APC, saying members of the group were only trying to create discord within the party.
Bolaji Abdullahi, the spokesman of the party, in a statement issued in Abuja, accused members of the R-APC, of trying to create the impression that APC was factionalised. “This is not true,” he said, adding: “The All Progressives Congress, APC, wishes to affirm that there is no faction in our party and declares the action by these individuals as mischievous and ill-advised.
“Having failed to scuttle the national convention as was their original plan, they now resort to this subterfuge as a way of achieving the pre-determined end of causing confusion.”
Abdullahi said the party was currently investigating those parading themselves as leaders of the so-called faction to ascertain their true membership status within the party.
“While we shall continue to monitor developments in this respect; we will not hesitate to take lawful actions to defend the unity of our party and protect the sanctity of its identity. We are currently reviewing the action of this so-called faction in order to determine if any aspect of the Party’s constitution has been breached with the connivance of any of our members,” he said.
With the stance of the Oshimhole-led executive to the formation of the R-APC, the gulf within the party is sure to be difficult to bridge. So, for now, the ruling party members stand divided.
– July 6, 2018 @ 17:35 GMT |