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APC‘s Fence-Mending Challenges

Posted: Jun 30, 2015 at 1:50 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By William Igenegbai  –  Lagos

 

Except the leaders of the All Progressives Congress see and know what Nigerians do not see or know, some commentators have suggested that it is time the party started mending its fences; fences cracked by the continuous crisis over the leadership of the National Assembly.

This is because the party should not expect that Nigerians who stood in the sun and the rain to cast their votes for its candidates in the last general elections are happy with what is now happening at the National Assembly, which is in a way slowing down governance in the country. Lest the party be deceived, many Nigerians are already feeling that they made a mistake voting for a party that seems to be bereft of victory management capability.

Such concerned Nigerians are worried that if this crisis is allowed to fester it may sound the death knell of a party (APC) which they hoped would right the socio-political and economic wrongs that have been done to the country.

Politics watchers have blamed the party for not being proactive enough to have started calculations early as to who would become what or who will assume what position at the National Assembly. They accuse the party of being befuddled by its victory at the polls or engrossed in victory celebration that it forgot to realize that the party is made of incompatible groups who came together for the purpose of wresting power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to them, it cannot be ruled out that such groups harbour individual interests different from that of the party’s leadership, which is now playing out in a situation where the falcon can no longer hear the falconer. This we see in the refusal of the National Assembly leaders to do as little as reading the letter from the party’s leadership.

They also blamed the party’s leadership for interfering in the affairs of the Assembly which otherwise should be independent and allowed to decide who become its leaders.  They said the party leadership erred when they tried to dictate to the National Assembly who should be its leaders and in the process, either by omission or commission, side-tracking some zones which made vital contributions to the victory of the party at the polls.

They again blamed the party leadership for not being able to properly read the situation at the National Assembly and the mood of the lawmakers before fixing a meeting between them and the President at the time on the day the Assembly inauguration was to take place.

However, what happened that day on the floor of the Senate and subsequently, the House of Representatives, has become history.

Worried by the likely consequences of the crisis, the former interim chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, on Sunday called on the President Muhammadu Buhari and the party’s governors to quickly arrest the drift, adding that the crisis if not well handle was capable of jeopardizing the party’s chances in 2019. He expressed doubt as to whether the party’s institutions could muster the needed capacity to halt the crisis, given the dimension it has assumed.

Akande, in a statement, said: “After the elections which saw APC to victory all round, a meeting was reported to have been held by certain old new-PDP leaders in a Peoples Democratic Party (chieftain’s house) in Abuja to review what should be their share in this new Buhari’s government and resolved to seek collaboration with the PDP with a view to hijacking the National Assembly and, having got rid of Goodluck Jonathan, with an ultimate aim of resuscitating the PDP as their future political platform.”

“Unknown to most APC members, while Senator Bukola Saraki was being adopted as the candidate for Senate President by certain old new-PDP tendencies, the theory was being propagated that, like in most presidential democracy, the APC minority leaders in the old National Assembly (i.e George Akume for the Senate and Femi Gbajabiamila for the House of Representatives) should automatically become Senate President and Speaker respectively now that the APC has the majority.

“Certain leaders felt that most past Senate Presidents had come from Benue State which Akume represented and that Benue State should be made to assume the traditional home of all Senate presidents. At the same time, certain senators were clamouring for one of the most ranking senators anywhere outside the North-west zone that produced the President. That was how Ahmed Lawan who had been in the House of Representatives for eight years and in the Senate for another eight years emerged as the candidate for the senate president.”

“Before the party’s shortcomings begin to aggravate the challenges of governance in their hands,” Akande said, “it is my opinion that President Buhari, and the APC governors should now see the APC as a rocking platform that may not be strong enough again to carry them to political victory in 2019 and they should quickly begin a joint damage control effort to reconstruct the party in its claim to bring about the promised change.”

Now that the deed has been done, there’s no point crying over spilt milk. The party has to put its house in order, put everything behind and move the country forward. The party cannot continue to behave in a way that smacks of inexperience in crisis management.

What Nigerians urgently want to see now are steps by the APC to bring about the much-needed change for which they voted for the party. Critics have accused the APC and the President of hitting the ground and sitting down, contrary to the promise they made to Nigerians.

So, the earlier the party and the President resolve this crisis and hit the ground running the better for their image and the country.