If I may ask, can we honestly say that President Muhammadu Buhari, in words and action, has survival plans for the All Progressives Congress beyond his eight-year tenure in office? Well, I seriously have my doubts about this. While party loyalists and the irredeemable optimists in the President’s camp who have decided not to see any evil nor speak against glaring evil may continue living in denial that the APC, as it stands today, remains its own greatest enemy; keen watchers of the internal rumblings in the party before and after the 2019 elections know that the core of its essence is whittling down daily. This, I must say, is not just about the latest macabre dance of shamelessness by the loyalists of two prominent national leaders of the party from Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, it is deeper than that. And the crisis, we must admit, is not in any way helped by Buhari’s confounding aloofness in a matter that could eventually sound the death knell for a marriage hastily cemented among strange bedfellows with the sole aim of grabbing power from an equally derailing Peoples Democratic Party.
I have said this before, and I believe it is worth repeating here, that Oshiomhole’s huffing and puffing and Oyegun’s recent hollow pontifications are pointers to the soullessness and ideological vacuity that pervade the ruling party. It reminded one of those days when the party apparatchik in the PDP made a song and dance of a non-existent internal democracy within its fold. Ironically, it was the absence of a working formula for the attainment of those core values that eventually nailed the coffin for the PDP. Now, four years after, the APC is still rolling in the folly of grabbing power without any idea about what to do with it. And if Buhari were to be serious about the future of the party under whose platform he rode to power, he would be doing much more than throwing furtive glances at the endless power show that diminishes its importance daily. What exactly has the APC learnt from the fall of the PDP? The answer is: Absolutely nothing.
Some would say the party is still basking in the euphoria of the victory it recorded in the last elections. That may be true. Yet, there is no better time than now to get off that needless streak of triumphalism and embark on a sobering moment of introspection if the APC hopes to survive a post-Buhari Presidency. First, the leadership, in its different shades and colours, ought to accept the fact that the APC is more divided today than it was in 2015. Its popularity has shrunk significantly and this is manifestly displayed in the number of states and legislative seats it lost to the PDP and other parties in the last election. When and if they have the time to do the arithmetic, the noisemakers at the party headquarters would realise that more PDP governors were administered the oath of office on May 29, 2019 as against what happened in 2015 when everyone thought the paradigm shift would last for a while. Well, records show that it never was. It should concern these persons that the figures are getting too close for comfort with the APC having just 19 governors, the PDP with 16 while the All Progressive Grand Alliance has one in Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State. Do they know what the figures were some months back? Maybe they should check the records if that would jerk them to the realities of the fire these guys have been playing with.
Perhaps, nothing typifies the rudderless low that the party has sunk into after the frenetic hoopla that heralded it into power than the pathetic melodrama that saw it losing Zamfara State in addition to the vainglorious display of tactlessness in states like Ogun, Imo, Oyo and even Kano. They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Unfortunately, that wraps up the story of the APC. The leadership and stakeholders may continue to shift the blame but they are all culpable in what happened in most of those states. That is why, for example, Oshiomhole’s tough disposition and boastfulness to inject party discipline amount to nothing. Party discipline, I must note, was thrown out of the window the day President Buhari started his public display of solidarity to the same charlatans that flagrantly and impudently violated the party’s directives. While Oshiomhole was deluding himself about sanctioning the likes of former Governors Ibikunle Amosun, Rochas Okorocha and Abdulazeez Yari for anti-party activities, the President, who ordinarily should be the leader of the party, was busy hosting these renegades with their preferred candidates in the palatial presidential mansion with full complement of photo-ops.
Where others had expected the President to stand with his party’s leadership on issues relating to party supremacy, Buhari’s aloofness and seeming insensitivity were fully put to test in Ogun State when Amosun went to APC’s campaign ground with his preferred candidate who was running on the platform of another party. We all knew how that story ended with stones and pieces of broken bottles flying freely into the podium. It was a disgrace. The charade did not stop there. Till date, the President is yet to call Yari to order for threatening violent consequences on the Oshiomhole-led executive should any of its members dare visit Zamfara to conduct primaries. Yet, in the same party, Okorocha was made the crying baby in a fiasco that saw the Independent National Electoral Commission withholding his certificate of return as senator-elect. While Amosun still carries on as some sort of tin god, Yari would have been a leading contender for the Deputy Senate President seat had the Supreme Court not voided the APC votes in the state. Before then, he was pretty sure the party’s position matters less as long as he remains the de-facto leader in a state traumatised by bandits’ invasion. Now, all that bragadoccio has melted into pieces before their very own eyes.
In all this, all the President could do was to, jocularly though, whine about his disappointments that the residents of the Federal Capital Territory did not vote for him in the last elections. Unlike he did in the 2015 elections when he trounced incumbent Goodluck Jonathan at the Aso Rock polling unit, the PDP candidate in the Presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, defeated him in his backyard. Now, that should be a warning signal. It says a lot about how disenchanted the people are with his leadership style and, by extension, his party’s. Besides, it is, to my mind, unedifying to refer to a people as ‘necessary evil’ just because they decided to exercise their franchise the way they deem fit. The President needs to understand that this is a democracy and citizens are not under any compulsion to vote for his party even if he is adjudged to be a high performer. It is a question of choice and individual preference.
Back to the matter, instead of gloating irreverently about a people’s choice in exercising the power of the thumb, I think Mr. Buhari should focus more on how to bring the warring parties in the APC to the round table. The time to be the leader he ought to be is now. After spending the last four years blaming the opposition PDP’s financial rascality and utter recklessness for the lethargic crawl in his desire to impact the lives of hapless Nigerians, the country can ill afford a government that would spend another four years on shadow boxing, name calling and blame gaming while every other thing rots away. Did I say the President was just joking when he castigated Abuja residents for taking up the ‘necessary evil’ role by voting the PDP? Scratch that. Remembering an earlier allusion by the President that those who gave him five per cent of their votes should not expect equal dividends of democracy that would be enjoyed by those who gave him 95 per cent votes, one begins to doubt if this President knows that he is a leader for all. Whither his magnanimity in victory? Does he even know that his party’s present show of shame and it’s failure to, maturely, handle its internal affairs could impact negatively on its future? Does the President care about all these things, really? [THE NATION]