The President Muhammadu Buhari recommended National Caretaker and Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to gain wide acceptance among members of the party, especially those not favoured by the inauguration of the committee.
Less than 48 hours after its inauguration by the National Executive Committee (NEC), key figures loyal to the immediate past National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole made a u – turn by switching their allegiance to President Buhari and by extension swallowing the bitter pills of accepting the new order.
All these happened before the arrow head of the dismissed NWC, Oshiomhole finally took a bow on Saturday by accepting his fate, promising his loyalty to Buhari and the party and decided to cease fire by withdrawing his Supreme Court appeal against his earlier suspension by an appeal court order.
Immediate past National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, while drumming support for the Governor Buni-led caretaker committee, in his personal capacity and not for anyone or group, said “I have reflected on the events of the past few days and the outcome of Thursday’s NEC meeting and as a party man, I declare my support for the actions taken by Mr. President.”
Justifying his realignment, the former spokesperson said “like the President said, the party was ominously hanging on a cliff and as expected, something had to give way because the APC could not have continued along that obvious path of self-destruction.”
He therefore, called on every APC member to rally round members of the caretaker/extraordinary convention planning committee led by Mai Mala Buni, as they embark on the process of rebuilding the party to the height everyone desires.
In his own submission, Alhaji Sadiq Abubakar, who served on the sacked NWC as national youth leader said the dissolution will give room for all stakeholders to join hands to rebuild the party.
He said that “as the national youth leader in the dissolved NWC, I call on my immediate constituency, the youth, my colleagues of the dissolved NWC as well as other party members, to accept the decision of NEC and support the caretaker/extra-ordinary national convention planning committee headed by the Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni.
“It is neither in our interest nor in the interest of electoral democracy to seek to destroy our party and the legacies of Mr. President by instituting lawsuits in the aftermath of a trouble-shooting NEC meeting which outcome turned out a win-win for all sides.
“Now is the time to reposition the party by supporting the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led committee to conduct a national convention that would throw up a new leadership reflective of all stakeholders in the party.”
Emma Ibediro, immediate past national organizing secretary while advocating the acceptance of the caretaker committee said the interest of the party must be above the interest of any individual.
He thanked President Buhari for his timely intervention in saving the soul of the party and affirmed his belief in the ability of the President to steer the ship of the Nigerian state.
He wished the Buni – led caretaker committee well in the onerous task of positioning the party to remain the most formidable political vehicle in the country.
Recanting from its initial reaction to its dissolution on June 25, the dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) probably after wide consultations with leaders and stakeholders, later on Saturday aligned with Oshiomhole to whole heartedly accept the decision of the National Executive Committee of the party.
Hilliard Eta and Waziri Bulama, acting national chairman and secretary respectively, for the group in specific terms decided that as party men and stakeholders, they do not intend to sustain a group agitation against the party.
Swallowing the hard pill, the ex – NWC members said that “the dissolution of the NWC was most unexpected, but must now be accepted by all as a political solution to a political problem.
“We summon our members across the length and breathe of this country to seize this moment to renew their bond of progressivism, patriotism, loyalty, sacrifice and integrity which are the fundational tenets of our great party.”
Members of the dissolved NWC promised future contributions to the growth and development of the party.
“We have already began engaging the caretaker committee led by and assure all that we will not contest their authority, but instead work selflessly with the team in its peace and consensus building efforts within our party,” they said in a statement.
And finally, came the submissions of two key gladiators in the furore bedevilling the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, ex – national chairman and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of the party to the supreme decision of the NEC.
Oshiomhole at a press conference on Saturday threw in the towel, bowed out of the contest and accepted his fate in good faith.
To buttress his genuineness in letting go, he promised to instruct his lawyers to discontinue a suit pending in the apex court in which he is challenging his earlier removal from office.
Like others, he went further to pledge his unalloyed support to President Buhari as a father figure and to the party, which he claimed he had helped to stabilize.
Following suit, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu also bought into the decision of NEC and party supremacy, expressed high regard for Buhari, but stoutly defended Oshiomhole’s action in the crisis that consumed the NWC.
The caveat was from the Presidency that described the Buhari instigated action of the NEC as not targeted to neither Oshiomhole nor Tinubu, but an expedient decision to save the soul of the party.
The stage seems to be set for the caretaker committee to hit the ground running with the mandate of settling all rifts and reposition the APC now that the race for 2023 has begun.
The committee, no doubt has a great task at hand, it obviously needs genuine loyalty of all stakeholders to succeed in the onerous task of revamping the party from the brinks.
No matter how party chiefs like Salihu Lukman, the outspoken director general of the Progressives Governors’ Forum tries hard to isolate the scheming for 2023 from the party crisis, developments to be unfolded soon will prove them wrong.
Permutations and configurations ahead of 2023 succession struggle to replace Buhari and retain APC in Aso Rock are thick and will no doubt further pitch gladiators against themselves.
It seems to become clearer to Tinubu and his supporters that the unwritten agreement of power shift to the south with the former Lagos governor as major benefactor is being threatened by some elements in the party.
Some of the proponents of such power calculation are undoubtedly, looking beyond Tinubu as they are grooming a state governor in the south-west with a perfect match of a governor in the north -central to fly the APC’s presidential flag in 2023.
Not ready to back down on the mission, Tinubu’s handlers are believed to be taking deft moves to fight bloody for the ticket.
A separate configuration within the party is mulling the idea of a northern candidate as the best option of preventing the PDP from wrestling power from the ruling power.
The governors flank of the party organs which seem to have regained control of the party and with one of them, Gov. Buni as caretaker committee chairman saddled with the responsibility of conducting an extraordinary national convention in due course, will do everything possible not to allow other stakeholders truncate their plans.
So, the reprieve that the dissolution of NWC brings to the party may after all be a temporary one. Only time will tell.