APC: Post-congress crisis and the future of the party



All Progressive Congress has been battling with internal crisis in several states in Nigeria following congresses held in October.

Some of this crises started at the eve of the congresses and extended during and after the election processes.

While some were short-lived, others are now taking different and bigger dimensions, resulting to the creation of strong factional groups within the party’s bodies as well as judicial tussles.

Kano State In Kano State, one of the strongholds of APC in Nigeria, the crisis within the party has currently dominated political discussions after a federal high court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday nullified the party’s congress led by a faction of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, governor of the state.

The court declared that the congress held by the group led by Ibrahim Shekarau, former governor of the state and Shaaban Ibrahim Sharada, a national assembly member representing Kano Municipal as the legally elected leaders of the party.

Nureni Jimoh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and lawyer of the Shekarau faction alleged that Ganduje’s group did not conduct any election but merely wrote a result under the guise of ‘consensus candidacy.’

Last Wednesday, reports indicated that the government of the state objected the court ruling and has pledged to take legal action.

But the headlines on Thursday were of thuggery and destruction of party offices—belonging to the Shekarau’s camp.

Mr. Jimoh’s chambers were similarly sealed off by police, all as part of what many see a continuation of the arm-twisting of Ganduje against political opponents.

Zamfara State In Zamfara State, the internal crisis seems to have even a more complex problem, as three factions now jostle for dominance after the defection of Bello Mohammed Matawalle, governor of the state, into the party.

Before his arrival in June this year, Abdulaziz Yari, former governor of the state has been battling it out with another faction led by Senator Kabiru Mafara; a crisis that dates back to 2019 election, which resulted in APC losing the governorship and all other offices when the supreme court disqualified all the party’s candidates after election due to inadequacies in their primary election.

The saying that ‘when two enemies are fighting, they become friends when confronted by a common enemy’ is what transpired between the factions as they fused into each other when Governor Matawalle’s attempt of taking charge of the party was supported by the national body.

Buni in Zamfara crisis Mai Mala Buni, Governor of Yobe and APC caretaker committee chairman, announced the dissolution of the party’s executive council in Zamfara and declared Governor Matawalle as the new leader of the party in the state.

This crisis had stiffened last week when two separate congresses were held concurrently, with Governor Matawalle on the one hand and Marafa’s camp at the other.

However, available reports reveal that the party’s national leadership had temporarily suspended the congress in the state on grounds that it received intelligence reports on the exercise.

Also, it was rumored earlier that Marafa and Yari were planning to defect to opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP with Bukola Saraki’s intervention at the center of their decisions, but the claim was dismissed by the former during the latest congress, saying ‘it is the wishful thinking of those parading themselves as the new owners’ of the party in the state and they are not going anywhere.’

Reports indicated that there is clash of interest on top priorities for the faction in the Marafa camp. While some are pushing for challenging the national body on the dissolution of executive council members, others are more concerned with the stand on the latest congress.

Adamawa State In Adamawa State, with a sitting PDP governor who wrestled power from APC in 2019, the effect of that defeat has taken the form internal crisis.

In September this year, the crisis took another turn during local government congresses. The crisis turned violent as the electoral officials escaped death in the hands of aggrieved members by the whiskers.

Aisha Ahmed Binani, a serving APC senator in the state also complained about the exercise, faulting the selection of those who will conduct the congress election.

She said the composition of the congress committee members was lopsided, saying, she is not comfortable with the one that was sent to conduct the ward congress in her zone.

The crisis also involved Aisha Buhari, wife of the president on the choice of gubernatorial candidacy.

The party chieftains, including Sen. Binani, accused Mrs Buhari of attempting to take full control of the party structure in order to install her younger brother, Mr. Mohammed Halilu Modi, as next governorship candidate of the party in 2023.

Several reports suggested that the power tussle between the wife of the president and Mohammed Jibrilla Bindo, the former governor and others date back to several years ago and its effect can be felt on the party’s defeat to PDP in the 2019 election.

Kogi and Governor Yahaya’s presidential ambition While these states are battling with internal party disputes, Governor Yahaya Bello has declared his interest to officially contest for presidential election in the 2023 general election.

The governor has made his interest known to Nigerians long ago.

Representing the governor, Senator Smart Adeyemi made the declaration at the launch of a campaign group, Global Alliance of Progressive Professionals.

It remains how he will maneuver his way to the number seat in the country.

Buni and Prince Audu Another crisis looming for the party comes from another Kaduna-based political faction of the party, Progressive Youth Movement, PYM, which a week ago, called for—or rather all by itself, disbanded the Buni led care-taker leadership of the party.

It further named Prince Mustapha Audu, a former gubernatorial aspirant in Kogi State, to chair and organize the party’s forthcoming national convention next February.

Prince Mustapha is the son of Prince Abubakar Audu, a former governor of Kogi State and late chieftain of the party—a fact of which, may again drag in Gov. Yahaya into the squabbles and put a strain to his presidential ambition.

Governor Buni has immediately already fired back, asking for the arrest of Audu and his co-travelers for treasonable felony.

Plateau State Plateau State, another APC led state in the north is not without internal crisis.

This followed a disagreement over the mode of the congress. While others suggested for a consensus, other members who had already secured election forms at the eve of the October congress, ready to contest in election, opted for election.

The faction led by Ishaya Itse as chairman took the matter to the court to challenge the consensus adopted by the opposition camp.

On Thursday, Daily Post reported how Mr. Itse was denying rumors alleging that he had collected N2 million naira to withdraw the case filed against decision of the faction.

He said the decision to withdraw the case is in deference to a call by the national body of the party to solve the matter in-house.

Itse was quoted as saying ‘as I speak, we are on our way to the court, to withdraw the case, because the national body of the party advise that we should do so.’

Zoning of national party chairmanship Similarly, APC has on Monday denied zoning its national chairmanship position to the North Central.

Senator James Akpanudoedehe, secretary of the CECPC made the dismissal during a chat with newsmen in Abuja while reacting to the reports on the party’s position in the matter, noting that the issue of zoning was not part of their committee mandate.

This internal party crisis is not new in Nigerian politics and it has its effect on the formation of leadership, setting up of governments and peaceful transition, among other things.

It is a peculiar case whenever the conversation of a general election starts to hit up.

APC, the ruling party in the country must as a matter of urgency formulate ideas and measures to address such crisis or be ready to face the consequences in the forthcoming election, which is almost certainly a negative one, given the history of such crisis in the country.

The case of Zamfara in 2019 election and the narrow escape of Ganduje’s second term are enough for the party to learn from.

Political parties in Nigeria suffer such problems due to several factors like lack of strong structures and clearly spelt out mechanism to solve internal disputes.

This is also not unconnected to the lack of ideological framework that is supposed guide parties from their inceptions.

To address this, politicians must begin to adjust or form political parties based on ideologies.

The legislative body can also do a lot in addressing these issues if they key into electoral reforms and amendments through legislations.

The recent amendments contained in the new electoral act is a step in a good direction and will save political parties from their potential misfortunes in the forthcoming election.

As the incidents continue to evolve in these circles, it remains to be seen how that will affect and shape the political atmosphere in the country ahead and during 2023 elections.

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