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APC And Political Brinkmanship

Posted: Jul 10, 2015 at 12:56 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By William Igenegbai  –  Lagos


The lingering crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC), arising from the emergence of the National Assembly leadership, is turning out to be the proverbial mouse in the calabash, which if not handled with care leads to the breaking up of the calabash. APC sympathisers are getting worried by the day at the dimension the crisis is taking. Just when one feels that some solution would be found, a new twist crops into the problem. 

Saraki and Dagari

Saraki and Dagari

The news of last Friday’s meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC)of the APC brought some hope to the party’s numerous sympathisers that the crisis was about being resolved. Even the appeal by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, also gave hope that the crisis would eventually be laid to rest.

In his appeal, Buhari had said:  “APC has won the battle and lost the war which is a paradox of democracy and we shall see how we shall manage it. How do we manage it? We move forward.

“I have already appealed to you through the chairman, the leadership of the party, through the governors, through our lawmakers and the APC must not disappoint its constituency, the nation.

“We have had to convince our individual constituencies that we are worthy of sacrifices they had made in staying awake days and nights, travelling all over the country and making sure the party emerged victorious.

“What subsequently happened is human and as human beings we are not perfect but let our collective actions prove that we’ve won the election, the battle, and we will eventually win the war,” he said.

According to him, “Whoever wants to run for elected office as a Nigerian must have a platform and that platform is the political parties hence the superiority of the party because that is our platform,” the president said.

After telling the story of the party the APC was formed, how INEC rejected their initial merger, how the first convention was planned and who was instrumental at the initial stage, the President said: “I am going through all these (stories) because not all of us here participated in this and for you to reflect and thank the leadership of the party at various stages for going through all these which wasn’t easy.

“But God, in his infinite mercy, has paid us by giving us success; let us not throw this success to the wind. Let us as members of APC ?no matter our personal differences, get together and meet the mandate given to us by this country. This is my personal appeal and, in the name of God, whatever your personal interest is? and ambition, please keep it close to your heart and in your pocket.

“Let APC work and let this system work and let us have a government that will earn the respect of our constituencies. I appeal to you to please continue working together and please accept the superiority of the party because I respect the superiority of the party.”

One would have thought that after this passionate appeal by the President, good sense would prevail and the warring parties would sheathe their swords and set in motion steps to move the nation forward. But it appears that the warring are still sticking to their guns.

Again, a new dimension cropped up on Saturday with the invitation of the deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by the police for alleged forgery of the Senate Rules which allegedly aided the emergence of the Senate leadership. This has generated reaction from Nigerians who see in it all the hand of APC, some of whose members have called for the resignation for Ekweremadu, as deputy Senate President.

In its immediate reaction, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Mettu, blamed the APC of being behind the alleged threats to the life of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

Metuh said that “some senators loyal to the leadership of the APC have among other things concocted a petition to the Nigeria Police,” alleging that “Ekweremadu altered the rules of the National Assembly to enable him emerge as Deputy Senate President.

The PDP also accused the same group of involvement in secret talks with some senior lawyers and a judge, to obtain a court order restraining Ekweremadu from performing his duties.

But in a swift reaction, the APC said that it had nothing to do with the issue. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that “it neither wrote a petition to the Police nor is it aware that any petition was written against the Deputy Senate President.”

The PDP Governors’ Forum, in a statement by its chairman, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, said the opposition party would resist all forms of tyranny and Gestapo tactics said to be employed by the APC in order to protect “our hard-earned democracy which the PDP sustained for 16 years.”

Among those that also reacted to the said invitation is the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), a group of pro-democracy and political rights activists. The group said that it had uncovered a plan by a part of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to blackmail the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, into submission.

In a statement signed by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group said that it had it on good authority that finishing touches were put on the plan to blackmail Saraki and Ekweremadu at the Abuja home of a high profile APC leader where two senators from Yobe and Jigawa states were present.

The group described “the emerging scenario as most disappointing, unhealthy for democracy, and a betrayal of the mandate for change handed to the APC at the 2015 general elections.”

Northern leaders resident in the South East, in their reaction, described the political moves by political bigwigs to unseat Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President as  “unnecessary and divisive.”

The Chairman of Northern Traditional Rulers Council, South East/South South, Alhaji Yaro Danladi, said that Ekweremadu should be allowed to hold his position “because he is the only eye of Ndigbo in the entire National Assembly.”

He appealed to APC to halt any plan to unseat the Deputy Senate President as part of its sacrifice for the unity of Nigeria. The monarch also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on APC not to take any action that would portray his administration in bad light.

For the Igbo think-tank, Aka Ikenga, no amount of threats or intimidation would make Ekweremadu resign from his position. The leader of the group, Goddy Uwazurike, said that Ekweremadu’s election stood since he was duly elected on the floor of the Senate by his colleagues. He warned those he referred to as “meddlesome interlopers” to steer clear of the affairs of the lawmakers.

An APC lawmaker from Kaduna State, Senator Shehu Sani, expressed worry that the introduction of Ekweremadu’s angle to the crisis might complicate issues for his party, as it would no longer be only an intra-party problem but also an inter-party one between the APC and the PDP.

According to some observers, with the Ekweremadu angle creeping into the crisis, it would appear that the hand shake is going beyond the elbow.

It is on this ground that concerned Nigerians appeal to the APC to tread softly in this matter and allow the National Assembly to handle its affairs. They asked the party to engage in dialogue with warring members to find a lasting solution to the crisis, urging members to place the nation’s interest above their individual interests.

APC should, therefore, be advised that the case of the leadership of the National Assembly is like that of a mouse that has entered the calabash, which utmost care must be taken eliminate otherwise the crisis is capable of destroying the party.