Tinubu meets with former co-contenders
Within the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), their broom is falling apart. For the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the umbrella is losing its handle. While there is no longer any handshake of comradeship in African Democratic Congress (ADC), things are falling apart in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
Although the Labour Party (LP) narrowly escaped its round of recriminations, investigation revealed that barely 28 days to the kick-off of electioneering, there is crisis in virtually all the front row occupants among the 18 political parties recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The parties are enmeshed in internal battles relating to the outcome of their presidential primaries and other internal irritations related to control and organisation. To a great extent, it could be said that the parties are battling with the surfeit of indiscipline, breach of covenants and lack of foresight within their folds.
Observers express worry that the political parties did not envisage the crisis and put measures in place to nip in the bud uprisings. Although PDP stands as the relatively older political party, others within the fold of APC have been in existence since the fourth republic began in 1999.
For APC the outcome of the presidential primary, which produced Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his subsequent choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as running mate, has been roiling the party. Some party faithful are engaged in finger pointing, trying to shift blame over the emergence of Tinubu instead of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo or Chibuike Amaechi as projected.
Tinubu has reportedly called a meeting today to smoothen out certain issues in a bid to build a united front for the major electoral battle ahead. The attendance of the meeting would give a clue as to how easy the fence mending could go, even as sources disclosed that the VP, Prof. Osinbajo, may be absent on health grounds.
For the ADC, which profile was lifted at the entry of former Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, the reported power tussle between the presidential candidate, Dumebi Kachikwu, and the national chairman, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu, is shaking the party’s structure.
The NNPP became the first platform to lose a powerful political figure in the build up to the forthcoming general election due to irreconcilable differences bordering on elective positions and power sharing arrangement.
NNPP: Divided home front
THE nation’s political landscape quivered, when former Kano State governor, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau joined his counterpart, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso on the NNPP platform. As Kwankwaso was already tipped as the party’s presidential candidate, Shekarau’s entry raised the rating of NNPP as a new platform to watch.
But, after just three months together, the two political playmakers fell apart. On Monday August 29, Shekarau, who represents Kano Central in the Senate moved over to PDP, from where he left to APC in the build up to the 2019 general elections.
According to the Senator, Kwankwaso deceived him into joining NNPP, knowing that he would not accommodate his supporters, some of who wanted to contest for some elective positions. He noted that having produced the governorship contender of the party for Kano State, fairness demanded that his (Shekarau’s) supporters should have been allowed to pick state Assembly and House of Representative tickets.
Accusing the NNPP leader of evasive manoeuvres, Shekarau stated: “With all these and many more lies from Kwankwaso, I have no place in NNPP. This is because my party politics always goes with my supporters and any attempt to throw them away and separate them from me would be vehemently rejected.”
But, picking holes in Shekarau’s claims, the publicity secretary of NNPP presidential campaign organisation, Ladipo Johnson, denied that Shekarau left the party “for any breach of trust or desire to make Nigeria better.”
Ladipo disclosed that the Senator made impossible demands as pre-conditions to remain in NNPP, stressing that there was no way the conditions could have been met when they have been overtaken by events.
The spokesman maintained that Shekarau left “purely because of his personal interest. Senator Shekarau demanded 31 seats for the House of Assembly and six seats for the Federal House of Representatives beside his senatorial ticket that had been secured already.
ADC: Tenure palaver
THE African Democratic Congress (ADC) is not getting its acts together following the contestation between the party’s presidential standard bearer and the national chairman. Ever since he broke away from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2003 to form ADC, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu has continued to serve as the party’s national chairman.
Following the backlash that trailed Prof. Moghalu’s exit from the party, some internal disputation began, which prompted some state chairmen to ask for the national chairman’s ouster on the grounds that he was conducting the affairs of ADC as his personal enterprise.
Although sources disclosed that the ADC presidential contender, Kachikwu, was not pleased with Nwosu’s style in party management, about 27 state chairmen of the party insists that the national chairman has exceeded his term limit, which is a maximum of eight years.
As the state chairmen maintains their stance on Nwosu’s exit, the national chairman insists that change of leadership can only take place through a national convention, even as Kachikwu was said to have complained that the national chairman was sabotaging his efforts to win the Presidency.
PDP: Revenge loading
WITHIN the PDP, a sharp division is brewing between stalwarts from the North and their counterparts from the South over the disparity in the opposition party, especially after the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, clinched the party’s presidential ticket for a second time.
The two divides in the party are headed by the presidential candidate, Atiku, on one hand, while the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, leads the Southern flank.
Wike and his group have expressed misgivings over the skewed nature of headship of the major organs of the party’s organs, including Board of Trustees (BOT), National Working Committee (NWC) and the national Executive Committee (NEC). They contend that it is not healthy that the party’s presidential contender, national chairman and chairman of BOT are persons from the Northern part of the country, thereby suing for a rejigging of the positions, which centres on removal of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu as national chairman.
Following moves by the Atiku/Ayu camp to rationalize the five-point demand tabled by the Wike group for the reconciliation of the crisis, the Rivers State governor is refusing to be pacified, as if he wants to pull down the house.
Speaking while flagging off Eneka Internal Roads in the Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Wike decried the attempt to gang up against him, stressing: “Anybody who knows me knows that once I have made up my mind and I believe that what I am doing is right, if you like, let the whole people team up, as far as my conscience is clear, I will do what is right at all times; It doesn’t matter any gang up.”
However, a member of the Atiku/Ayu camp, Dr. Abraham Shila, said what is happening in PDP should not be described as crisis, pointing out that it’s too late to rally against the process that threw up Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the party.
He urged with Wike and other governors to reflect on the implications of continued bickering on the image of PDP, noting that dialogue is the best way to harmonise all interests in the party.
“Governor Wike would be looking at the overall interest of the Rivers people and not just his own political survival. He has a tall profile already. He has a lot to give to the party. His experience as a loyal and consistent party man is worthy of commendation. He has been faithful to the party, because he has never left the party since 1999. So, we are not going to say he is not important in the party, but he should concentrate.
“When we win the election he could be the Secretary to the Federal Government. There are lots of roles in which he could serve the country, and people like him, who speaks truth to power are in high demand. This is the time when we need such courage the most, not this distraction. It is really unnecessary and it should be handled as a family matter.”
APC: Silent murmurs
THE general anticipation among stakeholders of the governing APC was that a younger Christian from the South would pick the party’s presidential ticket. The Northern governors in the party took the initiative to rotate the presidency to the South in 2023.
Nasarawa State governor said most of them believed that zoning the Presidency to the South was the right thing to do, stressing that they shunned attempts by some party leaders to throw up a Northern candidate.
However, after zoning the Presidency to the South in anticipation that their counterparts in the South would also toe the line of patriotism, equity and fairness, other considerations came into play.
Two days to the APC special convention and presidential primary, precisely on June 4, 2022, presidential aspirants from the Southwest had met in a bid to narrow down to one particular candidate.
The meeting, which began so late on that Saturday night spilled over to the next morning, even as it went into a deadlock as the APC leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, rebuffed suggestions for a younger person to be supported as a consensus candidate from Southwest.
Present at the meeting were, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Tinubu; Governor Kayode Fayemi; Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Governors of Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Ondo, were also in attendance. Although the meeting was convened shortly after the 11 Northern APC governors zoned the presidential ticket to the South, the Southwest aspirants did not announce their consensus choice until some of them stepped down at the convention venue.
“This moment calls for the most sober and inclusive approach to selecting our party’s candidate,” the Northern governors had stated, even as they enjoined Northern aspirants to withdraw from the race. But, while the Northern governors underscored the need for inclusion, Tinubu insisted that it was his turn to run for the Presidency.
Wednesday’s purported meeting with some aspirants is said to be an attempt to get the buy-in of former aspirants, who are said to be murmuring silently about their concerns.
In a statement last Monday, one of the presidential aspirants, Dr. Nicholaas Felix, disclosed that Tinubu would meet with the 22 other aspirants who participated in the presidential primary.
“The roundtable is for the standard-bearer and the aspirants to meet and come up with viable strategies to support the party’s candidate to win the 2023 general elections. The choice of Abuja wasn’t a mistake. I called the meeting for us to address the challenges be-deviling our country and inclusive politics.
“We will also brainstorm on adopting winning campaign strategies to support our standard-bearer, Bola Tinubu and seek to carry every Nigerian along in our bid to coast home to victory in the 2023 general elections.”
It was not clear how many of the aspirants honoured the meeting, but feelers from Professor Osinbajo’s stable indicated he wasn’t part of it. The idea then sounded like a solo initiative of Mr. Felix, to make himself relevant at this crucial stage.