The crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) reached a denouement yesterday with the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. Davidson Iriekpen and Nseobong Okon-Ekong look at the victors and losers of the new phase in the party
Osaze Ize-Iyamu: Inching Closer to the Prize
He is often acknowledged as one of the founding fathers of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who helped to set the body rules with which the party is governed. A former Secretary to the Edo State Government, Ize-Iyamu’s quest to become governor on the platform of the APC was thwarted in 2016, forcing him to seek a similar opportunity in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He lost in the governorship election to the incumbent, Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Ize-Iyamu’s return to the APC came with a lot of intrigues and political melodrama that reverberated round the whole country.
In the wake of the Court of Appeal’s ratification of the suspension of the then APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, who is the driving force behind his candidacy in the party, many had thought he might become a collateral damage in the power struggle in the party.
However, at the meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) yesterday in Abuja, his candidacy was ratified to make him one of the big gainers from the crisis in the party.
Kayode Fayemi: Sphere of Influence Increases
The Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has definitely increased his sphere of influence with the outcome of the recent APC National Executive Council meeting (NEC).
If anyone harboured a doubt the closeness between Fayemi and President Muhammadu Buhari, the veil has been torn for all to see that Fayemi, who is among those behind the scene working to restore peace to APC, has the ear of the president.
Quietly pushing for a political settlement to the APC crises, Fayemi worked behind the scenes along the the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Bagudu.
The main body of the proposals from Fayemi and Bagudu to Buhari was adopted at the NEC meeting.
Abubakar Bagudu: Successful Captain
From almost being subsumed in the fight against bandits that devastated much of his state, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State also had another headache to contend with in -the different battlefronts with keen gladiators, fighting for control of the APC. As Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, he was like the captain of a sinking ship.
Bagudu shares the credit for successfully steering the threatened ship out of troubled waters.
All Progressives Congress (APC): Saved from the Brink
Since its formation on February 6, 2013, the All Progressives Congress (APC)has weathered many storms that threatened to make it go under, largely owing to the powerful interest groups that came together to form the party.
All the crises that have bedeviled the APC can be traced to the stubborn pursuit of individual goals against the communal or general interest of the group. These past seven years, chieftains of the party, valued federal and state legislators and state governors elected on the APC platform, have parted ways with the party, often through bitter quarrels that deal telling blows on the APC.
Each time, however, when the opposition was ready to sing nunc dimitis for the APC, the party rises again, rejuvenated, like a cat with nine lives.
Mai Mala Buni: Rising Star from the North
Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State is a rising star from the North who was for a long time National Secretary of APC and the understands how the party secretariat works, meaning that he appointed most of the staff members and therefore will find no difficulty in restoring stability to party affiars. Even as he was one of the governors supporting Oshiomhole he is seen as a neutral team player and a pair of safe hands by all sides of the conflict.
Bola Tinubu: Taming the Lion
He has on several occasions been referred to as a master of political strategist. Never in his wildest imagination would he have thought that this would happen to him. During the countdown to the 2019 and when the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari kicked off, he was busy putting people in strategic places, indirectly oiling his political machinery, widely believed to be used to achieve his rumoured presidential ambition in 2023.
But all these came crashing down yesterday with the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC by the National Executive Committee at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The dissolved NWC is peopled by those considered loyal to him, especially Oshiomhole, who he backed at the time of trouble.
The first sign that things were not going his way was when the president on Wednesday snubbed his faction of the NWC and recognised Victor Giadom as the party’s acting national chairman. The dissolution of the NWC, despite the protestations by members, was considered as part of a larger plot to tame his presidential ambition.
Therefore, with his loss of the national structure of the party, his undeclared presidential ambition has suffered a setback.
Despite the consolatory appointment of Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State into the new caretaker committee, Tinubu would have to go back to the drawing board to reset his presidential ambition.
Adams Oshiomhole: He Has Lost the Battle, will He Win the War?
Clearly the battle to save his political legacy in Edo State has suffered a major setback in his war of attrition with Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki who he brought into politics from Lagos Corporate life at the expense of his traditional loyalists.
Though he may have succeeded in paying Obaseki back for being allegedly ungrateful to him for making him governor, that comes at a huge price. He got his fingers burnt and lost his highly influential party chairmanship.
Oshiomhole went about his fight with Obaseki in an unrelentless manner as if there was nobody to call him to order at his initial reluctance to fight with Obaseki. But in trying to pull the governor down, which he succeeded by gaming the system to force him out of the party, he went down with him.
Even if he gets settled with a ministerial, ambassadorial or board appointment, it can never be like being the national chairman of a ruling party at a time when the nation prepares for a political transition. Oshiomhole is bloodied but certainly not to be counted out. He has lost the battle, but will he win the war.
If Obaseki by any chance wins his second term bid, he may find it difficult to enter his own Edo State.
But Obaseki may have won the battle for the PDP ticket, but it remains unclear whether or not he can win the war for his re-election.
Victor Giadom: Shove Aside after a Yeoman’s Job
The Rivers-state born politician shot himself into national reckoning in the last few weeks as he made a grab for the party’s leadership position in the wake of Adam’s Oshiomhole’s suspension.
However, many will remember Chief Victor Giadom, former Deputy National Secretary of the APC as the spoiler who nearly wrecked the APC. His appearance on the scene after the suspension of Oshiomhole was upheld further factionalised the party. His subsequent activities nearly drove a nail into the coffin of the APC.
But to those familiar with political intrigues, Giadom was a pawn in a complex chess game of power.
Now that he has served his purpose, he has been shoved aside along with his colleagues in the NWC to save the queen: APC.
Chief Hillard Etah: Pawn on the Chessboard
The National Vice Chairman in-charge of the South-south was hardly known beyond his zone. That was until colleagues in the leadership of the party pushed Chief Hillard Eta forward for the post of acting National Chairman to hold the fort for Senator Abiola Ajimobi who ought to have occupied the position in the aftermath of Oshiomhole’s suspension, if not for his hospitalisation.
However, his insistence, along with other NWC to oppose other party leaders’ bid to resolve the crisis by kicking against yesterday’s NEC meeting, showed that there were other considerations driving their position.
APC NWC: Sold to Outside Influence
While it may be a case of throwing away the baby with the bathwater or one oily finger soiling the rest, the point that has been made is that the National Working Committee of the APC as previously constituted had bought into the vision and dream of one powerful individual, line, hook and sinker. Therefore, allowing any of them to remain in office could mean leaving a window of opportunity open for control by outside influence at the expense of stability in APC.