The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, is a man on the hot seat. Since the primaries of the party late last year and the general election early this year, Oshiomhole has been a target of his disgruntled party men and women who felt dissatisfied with the way he conducted the primaries.
Many of those who went for Oshiomhole’s throat were those who lost out in the power equations in their states. Former Governors of Ogun and Imo states, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Owelle Rochas Okorocha, led the pack of those who wanted the national chairman’s head over his failure to endorse their handpicked candidates as their replacements.
While Amosun wanted Abiodun Akinlade as his successor, Okorocha wanted his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his replacement. Both men lost out in the ensuing power play as they were not backed by the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. Thus, Oshiomhole became an enemy to both ex-governors.
While Amosun and Okorocha did not have many sympathies in their attack against the former Edo State governor, events after the elections have indicated that the chairman of the party might be working on slippery grounds.
Only two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled against APC in Zamfara State, upturning its victories in the governorship, state and National Assembly elections and handing over same to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
That appears to be the last straw for members of the party in their dissatisfaction with the mode of operation of the chairman.
Nothing illustrates the discontent over Oshiomhole in the party than the epistle released by the Deputy National Chairman of the party, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, last week, in which he called on Oshiomhole to resign his position.
Apparently rankled that the party mishandled the Zamfara debacle, Shuaibu was clear that the party chair had failed in his duties and should throw in the towel.
In a six-page letter dated May 27 and addressed to Oshiomhole, Shuaibu said: “It is my honest opinion that your ability to ensure this party flourishes is deficient as you lack the necessary composure and you also don’t possess the capabilities and the requisite experience to run a political party.”
He went on to make several allegations against Oshiomhole and concluded that the party chairman lacked the depth and the managerial acumen to run the party successfully.
Since then, several calls had followed Shuaibu’s call, with many asking the chairman to step aside.
We are not members of APC and do not have full details of the level of infighting within the party. We also acknowledge that we do not know fully what transpired within the party that made it lose so much ground in the 2019 elections.
But we know for sure that beyond Oshiomhole, APC appears to be in trouble. Already, some members of the APC have said that the party might not survive beyond the Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency, which is expected to end in 2023.
We are worried that with all the glory it had in 2015, all the bad names and de-marketing of PDP it had embarked on since then, APC appears to be clinging to a shortening end of the political stick so fast.
For a party that had 23 states in 2015, APC, in 2019, lost Bauchi, Zamfara, Adamawa, Imo and Oyo to PDP. That is in addition to the governors of Sokoto and Benue states, who left the party in the run-up to the elections.
Granted that APC won back Kwara and Gombe states, which were held by PDP, but when weighed on a scale, APC appears to be losing some serious grounds under Oshiomhole.
We reckon that his activism approach to party issues have not helped his relationship with members. His penchant also to front-load his thoughts ahead of events and bombastic ways of communication appear to make more enemies than friends for him.
One of such issues where he shot very early is the issue of the leadership of the National Assembly, where he said that PDP would not be given either the leadership of both chambers of the Assembly or would the opposition be given headship of strategic committees.
June 11, when the National Assembly would be inaugurated for the ninth session, is five days week away. Already, there are pockets of opposition to both choices of APC at both the Senate and the House of Representatives. While the party adopted Ahmed Lawan for Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker, other candidates from within the party and outside it have lined up, expressing their desire to run.
It was the same scenario in 2015 when the party lost out dramatically at both houses. Nothing appears to have changed. Nothing appears to indicate that the party would not lose the elections again in the National Assembly.
We believe that the internal problem of APC is one that would bother all stakeholders in the party. It is beyond Oshiomhole. It is about APC – a party in deep crisis. The hidden power blocks within the party, who are pulling the strings, should save the party and Nigeria another mess arising from the inability of the party to manage its success.
We also believe that the party chairman should look seriously at his style of administration to save the party from dying in his hands. The signs are indeed ominous for APC.
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