To say that the current ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is in crisis is to state the obvious. The APC leadership is in disarray. They hardly do any meetings. There is no unanimity of purpose. A typical example is the recent governorship election in Edo and the upcoming one in Ondo State. The party leaders are not on the same page. There is no Board of Trustees (BoT) for the APC up to this time. Members of the National Working Committee (NWC) are at loggerheads with each other; some of the NWC members openly defy the national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, in public.
In Edo, the home state of the APC national chairman, Oyegun is not in good terms with both outgoing governor of the state Adams Oshiomhole as well as in-coming governor Obaseki. During the recent governorship election in that state, Chief Oyegun could not deliver even his ward to his party. In other words, APC was woefully defeated in the ward of its national chairman. And Chief Oyegun was once an elected governor of that state, which clearly shows the decline in his popularity. At the national headquarters of the party, APC does not have money to even buy fuel for its generators. The situation is that bad.
In Ondo State, crisis has engulfed the party. There was the humiliation of the national leader and one of the major pillars of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, during the party’s governorship primaries. Tinubu has in turn openly asked for the resignation of the party’s national chairman, Chief Oyegun, for allegedly imposing Akeredolu as the party’s governorship candidate for the 2016 Ondo gubernatorial election. Most other state branches of the party are also in various forms of crisis, less than two years into the current tenure, and it is not likely to abate unless there is drastic new approach.
Three of President Buhari’s ministers, mostly from the western states, are plotting to expel Tinubu from the party. This may spell further doom for the party. Meanwhile, Yoruba land is gradually congregating around Tinubu. Even his arch political enemies like Femi Aribisala and Femi Fani-Kayode are all rallying support for him in the West. Tinubu played a major role in the formation and ultimate victory of the APC in the 2015 general election, and many people now see him as a victim of this government who has not been adequately appreciated. The Yoruba have been at the forefront in the fight against dictatorship and misrule throughout the history of Nigeria, and Tinubu is one the major pro- democracy activists who fought both the military and, recently, the PDP.
The relationship between Tinubu and the rest of the key party leaders has soured. It appears it is coming to a point where he may take a political sabbatical. Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, who delivered the highest votes to the party in Kano State during the 2015 elections and who came second in the APC presidential primaries, is now estranged – he and his camp are not being carried along. In fact, they are being persecuted in Kano State. Former Vice President Atiku has one leg in APC and the other elsewhere as he contemplates his next political move. Other local and national chieftains of the party are watching keenly as they contemplate what to do, almost halfway into the current term.
Meanwhile, the Senate leadership that was standing trial for forgery has been freed of criminal prosecution while the fate of Senator Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal is still uncertain. At the same time, President Buhari has vigorously reasserted his anti-corruption fight, culminating in a dramatic raid on the homes of judges from the high court to the Supreme Court. There is no doubt that the judiciary is rotten and many are happy that they are undergoing a shock therapy. What is curious is that it is not the EFCC or ICPC that is carrying out this fight against corruption but the SSS. Mr Lawal Daura, the SSS director-general, as a professional whose entire career was in the Service should know better. He therefore ought to know that the SSS has a lot in its hands and need not go into this, and, after it has gone into it, need not talk to the public through any “spokesperson” but give whatever information to the policymakers to decide what to tell the public. This will shield the SSS from direct public criticism and shield its personnel from being known by the public. And it would show that the days of Marilyn Ogar are over.
Again, three months after the exposure of corruption in the House of Representatives, nothing has been said or done about it by the government or its agencies or even the legislative leadership themselves. Budget padding has really further dented the image of the legislature. What is strange is that in the intra-crisis of the National Assembly as well as the inter-fight between the executive and the legislature at the national level, it is all APC against itself with no effective leadership to call anyone to order. The various tendencies and fault lines in the party are manifesting daily and no one seems to care to put a break to the current drift and looming disorder. Ministers are docile. Infighting has paralyzed the government. The central bank has no board; the Electricity Regulatory Commission has no board. Most other key agencies are all without boards which statutorily are supposed to approve decisions. Inaction has its consequences, and we are all paying for it.
The fight against corruption in the judiciary has to be handled carefully, lest the judiciary feels alienated. Otherwise, the whole anti-corruption agenda will be in tatters because no one can fight corruption without the judiciary, and not all of them are bad. Already, there is the embarrassing situation where the ECOWAS Court, a court situated on Nigerian territory, is passing judgement against the Nigerian federal government. Col Sambo Dasuki, immediate past national security adviser, has won his case in the ECOWAS Court against the federal government and Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB is heading in the same direction.
The most dangerous scenario will be a situation where an alliance of convenience will be forged between the legislature and the judiciary. The executive would be overwhelmed; governance would come to a standstill, which will trigger a constitution crisis. In fact, it is these two arms of government that are constitutionally given the responsibility of impeaching a president.
Let us hope that it does not come to that. An American general who fought and won the American civil war came back home only to face a problem with his wife. He said, “I have fought and won the civil war in the battlefield but I don’t think I can win asny civil war at home.” A word is enough for the wise.
History is on the side of the oppressed.