APC, a party divided against itself

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APC, a party divided against itself

APC, a party divided against itself
April 16
04:48 2016

The ruling All Progressives Congress came to power with a load of promises. The party had pledged to fix all the problems it inherited from the Peoples Democratic Party – the party the APC accused of lacking focus and bereft of idea on how to run purposeful governance.

With its description of the then ruling PDP as clueless and corrupt, the APC had used every available platform to tell Nigerians that its emergence in the polity was the imminent solution to the nation’s woes. The party’s confidence arose from its ability to weather all the perceivable artificial storms on the way to its formation.

So in its preparation for the 2015 general elections and subsequent governance, the APC, which some of its key stakeholders defected from the PDP, spent quality time to remind the citizens that the 16 years of the PDP in government was a monumental waste. The APC then accused the PDP-led government of inflicting hardship on the citizens by promoting selfish interests.

According to the APC, the joblessness among the army of unemployed youths described in various fora by some stakeholders as a time bomb; decayed infrastructure across the country; increase in kidnapping and armed robbery caused by poor remuneration and defective operational gadgets of security personnel, among others, were as a result of the PDP’s lack of quality policies to address the above challenges.

The APC therefore said its formation in February 2013 was meant to restore hope and prosperity to the beleaguered people of Nigeria.

A statement on the day the formation of the APC was announced read, “We resolve to form a political party committed to the principles of internal democracy, focused on serious issues of concern to our people, determined to bring corruption and insecurity to an end, determined to grow our economy and create jobs in their millions through education, housing, agriculture, industrial growth etc and stop the increasing mood of despair and hopelessness among our people.

“The resolution of these issues, the restoration of hope, the enthronement of true democratic values for peace, democracy and justice, are those concerns which propel us.

“We believe that by these measures only shall we restore our dignity and position of pre-eminence in the comity of nations. This is our pledge,” while urging Nigerians to have faith in the party.

The APC stressed the pledge further in its pre-election manifesto. The party had outlined 41 areas in the manifesto titled, “Securing Nigeria’s Future” and “Roadmap to a New Nigeria,” in which it planned to focus its attention for the betterment of the country.

But about 11 months after the APC-led Federal Government was inaugurated, analysts have begun to notice what they termed as “apparent lack of the APC’s commitment to the realisation of the party’s avowed roadmap to new Nigeria.”

Their observation was not unconnected to the recurring discordant tunes that the analysts said were fast gaining ground within the ruling party. A few of the APC’s sympathisers have also expressed their misgivings against the party’s seemingly lack of direction.

An APC chieftain and a former senator representing Benue North-West, Joseph Waku, had cast aspersion on the leadership of the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. Waku also accused Odigie-Oyegun of irresponsible behaviour, adding that he was not competent to occupy the position of the party’s national chairmanship.

According to Waku, the crisis rocking the National Assembly over the emergence of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President was as a result of Odigie-Oyegun’s incompetence.

“Ninety per cent of the crisis we are witnessing in the APC today is as a result of the incompetence within the national secretariat of the party and the so-called leadership has brought us where we are today,” Waku said in his reaction to a claim by Odigie-Oyegun that the North-Central lacked competent person to replace Lai Muhammed as the APC National Publicity Secretary.

The APC National Vice-Chairman, South-South, Prince Hilliard Eta, was also miffed by the alleged failure of the APC-led Federal Government to mitigate the suffering of the masses. Eta expressed his anger against the party at the wake of the ongoing fuel scarcity in the country.

“Kachikwu has not entirely cast off the orientation of the Peoples Democratic Party where he was” and that the NNPC Boss should climb down from “his high horse to face squarely the duties required of him by his office, as responsibility to the people is one of the cardinal points of the APC which he professes membership.”

“Kachikwu must not be a cog in the wheel of progress and he should do the needful by resigning honourably if he is not capable of doing his part by efficiently running the ministry assigned to him.”

Another APC chieftain, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, did not hide his feelings last Sunday when he said the party’s performance was not impressive.

Baraje was worried that Nigerians were not happy with the socio-economic and political development in the country, adding that it was imperative for the government to address the sufferings and expectations of the people in order to make them happy.

He also warned the APC against repeating the mistakes made by the PDP which led to its defeat in the 2015 general elections. He identified lack of focus and distractions as barriers to the performance of the APC.

Baraje, however, warned that if “politicians did not achieve their aspirations in their party, “they may consider other options.”

Also, the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, said the APC, the platform on which he contested and won election, risked being voted out in 2019 because of the suffering the citizens were going through.

“Nigerians are suffering under the APC government and if the current situation is not arrested, it might spark a revolution nationwide,” Sani said.

An observer, Mr. Olajide Akinlade, said that the comments by Baraje and Sani were the height of the grievances of not a few chieftains of the APC against the party.

He said for the two APC supporters to have spoken in such a manner meant that some loyalists might have been losing faith in the party.

“The various observations being made by the APC supporters are a sign that there is crisis within the party; it is a warning of imminent implosion in the party,” Akinlade said.

Though they have yet to declare themselves as full members of the APC, it is not in doubt that the trio of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana; the General Overseer, Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare; and Ovation Publisher, Mr. Dele Momodu, are sympathisers of the ruling party.

In their various observations of the activities of the APC-led government, they too have reasons to doubt the party’s commitment to securing Nigeria’s future. For example, Momodu wrote a passionate letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and told him that the APC-led government had yet to start work in view of the fact the change President promised was fast becoming a mirage.

Momodu complained of the worrisome state of Nigeria and the slow pace at which he felt the President was performing.

Bakare did not mince words when he took on the country’s leaders for using the abduction of 219 Chibok schoolgirls in Borno State to score cheap political points.

Apparently referring to the failure of the government to rescue the schoolgirls two years after they were abducted by the Boko Haram members, the cleric said the leaders had not given the issue the necessary thoughtfulness and seriousness it deserved, stressing that the girls would have been rescued if they were the children of governors or emirs.

None of the steps taken since the APC assumed power seemed to have gone down well with Falana. The senior advocate was critical of the APC-led government to borrow $2bn loan from China to finance the 2016 budget.

He said instead of “plunging the nation into more indebtedness” the Federal Government should intensify efforts to recover some funds totalling about $200bn which were either not remitted to the Federation Account or stolen from the nation’s treasury.

“In the light of the foregoing, we are compelled to call on the Federal Government to muster the political will and courage to recover the aforesaid withheld or stolen wealth of not less than $200bn belonging to the Nigerian people,” Falana gave this advice in a letter dated April 8, 2016 and addressed to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.

The presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party in the last general elections, Chief Martin Onovo, agreed with Baraje and Sani that Nigerians did not fear better under the APC-led government.

He said contrary to the directive by the Senate, the Federal Government increased the electricity tariff with documentation thereby compounding the suffering of Nigerians.

Onovo said the suffering and poor performance Baraje and Sani pointed out were the consequences of the wrong decisions being taken by the APC-led government.

“We can’t be doing the wrong thing as a people and be expecting the right result,” he said, hailing Baraje and Sani for speaking the truth to the APC.

Onovo also expressed his misgivings against the APC-led government in the area of security. According to him, kidnapping, which used to be a phenomenon in the Niger Delta, has now spread to Kaduna and other parts of the country.

“Also, killing of farmers by herdsmen in some states is another issue that has yet to be addressed,” he added, flaying the ruling party for politicising the activities of the Department of State Service.

“Instead of gathering intelligence for proper security of the country, the DSS is gathering intelligence for politicians,” Onovo said.

But the spokesperson for the APC in the South-East, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, is of the opinion that the APC has not deviated from its cardinal programmes to develop the country.

According to him, it will be wrong to claim that insecurity soared under Buhari’s administration.

He said Buhari came to power to implement the APC’s cardinal programmes, adding that accusing the President of poor performance by those who should support his administration was height of insincerity

Okechukwu said, “President Buhari told Nigerians that he had three cardinal programmes. One is to fight insecurity caused by the Boko Haram sect. secondly, he planned to fight corruption and lastly to revive the economy.

“From my assessment, the President has done well in the fight against corruption and graft. He will also use the 2016 budget to revamp the economy. So, it will be wrong to say that the APC will implode because a few people were worried that their principal was being prosecuted for alleged corruption.

“APC will not crumble; no amount of annoyance against the party’s decision by some disgruntled people will make the party to crumble.”

-Source: PUNCH

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