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Yari, Marafa, others: Can APC expel them?

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Yari, Marafa, others: Can APC expel them?

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is boiling, thanks to the outcome of the 2019 general election in which it came out with self-induced and inflicted political injuries.

In the wake of the 2015 polls, the party had 24 states under its belt. They include Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Edo, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controlled 11 states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Rivers and Taraba, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) had one state of Anambra.

However, in the run-up to the 2019 election, there’s a huge quake in the APC, leading to the defection of three states of Benue, Kwara and Sokoto from its column to the opposition.

Thus, the party approached the polls with 21 states, and aimed to regain lost grounds or even surpass its 2015 feat. Actually, it vowed to win “all 29 states” on the ballot in the 2019 election.

But what happened when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) completed the exercise in March 2019? The APC lost four states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Imo and Oyo to the PDP it had boasted of replacing as Africa’s “largest” political party.

With such a result, it’s doubtful if the APC can equal the 16 years that the PDP lasted in power, talk less of holding sway for 60 years, as the PDP parroted during its rule between 1999 and 2015.

Perhaps, this realization triggered the recrimination sweeping of the APC. There’s finger-pointing as to who to hold to account, beginning with pressures on the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to resign, for turning a ruling party into a “losing” outfit barely a year in control.

Conversely, the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) is laying the electoral fiasco on the doorsteps of chieftains at the state chapters. The party bigwigs had fought dirty to impose themselves or their cronies during the primaries for the 2019 polls.

Agreed that Oshiomhole, as the commander (not the “Garrison” type of the Obasanjo era) that led the APC to the polls, has a lot of explaining to do, especially about his style of leadership, and the allegation that he threw the primaries for “preferred” aspirants.
But as I had submitted in a series of articles on the 2019 election, the feuds between serving and former governors and ambitious top shots caused the APC its defeat in the governorship and legislative seats in several states.

For instance, how’s it Oshiomhole’s crime the glaring manipulation, or attempts to manipulate the primaries in Zamfara, Rivers, Imo and Ogun, to favour the former governors/minister’s “anointed candidates”?

How’s it Oshiomhole’s sin the decamping of Governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun’s “anointed candidates” to other political parties, and the governors’ declared supports and open campaigns for them against the candidates of the APC?
How’s it Oshiomhole’s fault the recourse to the courts by many “aggrieved” APC aspirants, rather than exhausting all channels of redress, as specified in the party constitution?

And how’s it Oshiomhole’s blame for some party leaders, who professed loyalty to, and support for President Muhammadu Buhari, but ignored the president’s plea to sheathe their swords?

These political gladiators didn’t play by democratic tenets, and the APC rules. They also dissed Oshiomhole’s appeals for a level-playing field, based on the principle of “One man, one vote” that he’s echoed from his days as governor of Edo State.

Notwithstanding, the calls for Oshiomhole’s head shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. Let it follow the rules, as stated in the APC constitution. But the party must also grow the balls to deal with obvious penetrators of anti-activities in the 2019 polls.
The list of recalcitrant stalwarts is long, but the party should begin its disciplinary measures by giving effect to the expulsion process started by its chapter in Zamfara.

That’s to say, the APC should expel former Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa, and their accomplices from its fold, as each faction of the chapter demonstrated in the past week.

While the Yari camp has expelled Marafa, former Deputy Governor Ibrahim Wakkala and Rep. Aminu Jaji, the Marafa faction has sacked Yari and the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the APC, Lawali Shuaibu – architect of the current rumpus in the party.

From Zamfara, the party should proceed to Rivers, Imo and Ogun, and sanction former Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe; former Governor Okorocha; and former Governor Amosun.
Not to be spared are members in other states that publicly canvassed, and worked against the interest of the APC and its acknowledged candidates in the 2019 polls.

Till the eve of the election, the APC members and supporters in Abia, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu and Taraba hardly knew the INEC-recognized candidates of the party, as the courts continually switched from “clearing” one candidate to another.

This “confusion,” which engendered voter apathy towards the APC, was the handiwork of members, who took the party-promoted candidates, as per the primaries, to court.

The rank and file of the party, its supporters across the country, and members of the opposition and bystanders knew the APC chieftains that sabotaged the platform’s fortunes at the polls.
So, the hunt for Oshiomhole’s head is a diversionary tactic away from their ignoble role in throwing unmerited “victory” to the PDP in the states.

If the APC is serious on instilling discipline in the system, and enthroning party supremacy, it should activate its statutory responsibility of meting out appropriate sanctions for inappropriate behaviours of members, no matter their positions.

Should the party spare the rod, and use its threats of expulsion in attempts to whip “important and influential” members into line, it might pay additional price in the off-season governorship election in Bayelsa and Kogi in November 2019.

Accordingly, nothing stops the serving or former governor in both states from deploying their powers to “impose” themselves or cronies on the APC members in the poll that has witnessed acrimonious campaigns among the contending forces.

By punishing past misbehaviours, the “big men” in the APC in Bayelsa and Kogi would take notice, and adjust to the new reality of conducting “valid primaries,” as advised by the courts in respect of the Rivers and Zamfara chapters in the 2019 election.

Procrastinating to act firmly and decisively is no alternative. Neither is rewarding misdemeanour with more carrots to the “culprits.” Only a strict adherence to the rules would suffice in the political battles ahead of the APC!

 

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