By SUNDAY EZE
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre; the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…” – The second Coming
What else can aptly situate the current embarrassing state of affairs in the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC)? After one year of enduring and concealing the much acclaimed unity, the reality of discontent and commotion within the party is here with us. The obvious cracks in the party morphed into a wide range of animosities with a call for the resignation of the Chairman of APC Chief John Odigie Oyegun by the national leader, Jagaban Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu’s media aide Segun Adegbenro in a media statement to that effect upbraided and accused Oyegun of sabotaging the will of democracy in Ondo state by overriding the decision of the appeal panel which recommended a fresh governorship primary following investigations into allegations of doctored delegates’ lists by some candidates. It would be recalled that Tinubu’s anointed candidate Olusegun Abraham lost out in that primary.
The voluminous statement reads in part, “…Oyegun’s comportment regarding the Ondo State primary will become the textbook definition of political treachery and malfeasance of the basest order… There exists a regressive element in the party that cares nothing for the progressive ideas upon which this party was founded. They joined the APC because it was the best ride available at the time… These people did little to build the party but now will do much to wreck it. Such a man is Oyegun and those who conspired with him to sabotage justice and democracy in Ondo. Our party was to stand for change. Oyegun and his fellows seem to be on a different wave length. They are the cohort of Un-change… Oyegun has revealed his team’s game plan: It is the destruction of progressive politics and governance on behalf of the people. As party chairman, Oyegun was supposed to protect our internal processes and be an impartial arbiter, a person in whom all had confidence. Instead, he donned the garment of a confident man, duping the NWC, the party, and INEC in one fell blow. He has robbed APC members in Ondo State of the chance to pick in a fair manner who they believe is the best candidate… Much is at stake. On the chopping block lies the future of the political party in which the majority of voters had placed their confidence. To rescue the party, Oyegun must go.” Have things fallen apart in APC?
Media reports had earlier suggested a strained relationship between Tinubu and the presidency. Two instances will suffice: First, Tinubu was away at the grand finale of APC governorship campaign in Edo state. Second, at the commissioning of projects to mark Ogun at 40 graced by the president, he was conspicuously absent. The press statement which mentioned Oyegun’s name twenty-five times was a long awaited sucker-punch delivered from Tinubu’s camp. In short, the aftermath of Ondo APC primary election had eventually turned out a convenient platform to vent accumulated grievances carefully concealed under-belly. Jagaban has laid it bared for all to see and judge. The call for the resignation of the Chairman of the party is a clear cut suggestion that APC like the famous Titanic is heading for the rocks. Tinubu factor was a key magic wand for APC which cannot be wished away wherever and whenever 2015 election victory songs are rendered. The matter has come to a close for Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was celebrated even by president Muhammadu Buhari for deploying his political arsenal and sagacity to demolish the political umbrellas of PDP to accuse the Chairman of wrong doings. Before now the Deputy Publicity Secretary of APC Timi Frank had raised concerns about the brewing hostilities in the party. Political pundits had also concluded that it was a matter of time before the scourge suffered by PDP consumes the APC. It was simply a time bomb waiting to explode.
Political party is defined as a voluntary association organised by persons bound with common interest or aim which seek to acquire or retain power through the election of its candidate into public office. An American political scientist Anthony Downs wrote: “A political party is a team of men seeking to control the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election.” In the same vein, an Italian Scholar Giovanni Sartori defined political party as “any political group identified by an official label that presents at elections, and is capable of placing through elections, candidates for public office.” The first definition of political party emphasised “common interest” while the other two accentuated “control and participation” in elective processes to gain public offices. The last two definitions are common features of Nigerian political parties with no common interest or aim as a factor. Political parties are a conglomeration of strange bed fellows propelled by the avarice for grabbing power at the centre, state or local levels. Various contending interest of gladiators is the meeting point in politics. The enemies of yester years could be clinging glasses together tomorrow. A man can win election on a political platform today, leaves for another tomorrow and continues on an unending journey of political prostitution. Most political parties lack discipline and defined canons. Parties with any ideology at all abandon it half way as those at the helm circumvent rules and deploy the perks of office to feather their political nests. The Peoples’ Democratic Party is a text book definition of absolute lack of similar beliefs and defined ideology. After bearing the incessant flagrant abuse of internal democracy, institutionlisation of anti-democratic precedents and the overbearing attitudes of some party chieftains, the house caved in before 2015 general elections. The PDP is currently writhing in pain and anguish for that political hara-kiri.
The usual stand-offs between the god-father and godson immediately after elections since 1999 was a known fact to the likes of Tinubu. So also do the studies of betrayal as an element in contemporary politics stand out across the globe. After elections, absolute powers conferred on office holders tend to corrupt absolutely. Those who stood on the shoulders of some giants: godfathers and political parties to win elections lock horns and turn out overnight adversaries over choice of political appointees, balkanisation of state resources and attempt to hijack or control party machineries to service their personal political or business interests. New elements at the corridors of power are recruited while some take it upon themselves to burst and jeopadise existing cordial political relationships. Since 1999, political parties were built on weak and suspicious tripods. The outcome remains breeding ground of mistrust and unwarranted discontents. It stands to be argued that APC was formed with the sole purpose of defeating the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015 general elections. The emergence of the party culminating into the marriage of convenience of three or four political parties did not carefully take into account the peculiar, common interests or aim of stakeholders and political differences of the gladiators before tying the nuptial. This singular slip is a drawback and one sad reminder of a political gamble which will continue to define the peaceful co-existence within the party for a long time to come. Could it be that the All Progressive Congress as it were is headed the same direction like the PDP? All fingers are crossed to see how the party wriggles out of this major internal crisis before it spirals out of hand.
Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a Media and Communications Specialist is the publisher of thenewinsightng.blogspot.com. He wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org and can be reached on 08060901201