Internal crisis looms as APC suffers ‘organ’ failure

The failure of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to adhere to its constitution by constituting various organs for critical stakeholders’ involvement in decision-making is unsettling some of its leaders. This development not only results in casualties but also serves as a classic example of how not to run a political party. ADAMU ABUH, reports.

Article 11 of the All Progressives Congress (APC) constitution provides for several organs on which the administration of the party can flourish. Over the years, however, it has been difficult for the ruling party to constitute its National Advisory Council (NAC), formerly called the Board of Trustees (BoT) and unless wise counsel prevails, the crisis within the party over issues revolving around the council will not abate soon.

Indeed, the absence of NAC and other organs has been causing disaffection among party leaders, who are accusing President Bola Tinubu and the national chairman of the party, Umar Ganduje, of sidelining them in taking some decisions without adequate consultation.

Article 13.2 of the party’s constitution empowers NAC to serve as the conscience and soul of the party, and to represent and demonstrate the highest standard of morality in the party.

“It shall, when necessary, intervene in all disputes and crises in the party to ensure its stability at all times, advise on, and when necessary, initiate policies for the guidance of the party, as well as promote reconciliation, encourage and facilitate the settlement of disputes in an amicable manner among members of the party,” the section provided.

It further stipulates that by the decision of a simple majority of its members, NAC shall convene the National Convention, National Executive Committee (NEC) or National Caucus and to hold statutory meetings of the party where they are unable or unwilling to meet.

The advisory council is also empowered to regulate its proceedings and formulate a Code of Conduct for its members, perform any other functions referred to it by NEC and/or national convention, elect its chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and other officers as it deems necessary, and formulate its own rules and procedures to regulate its meetings and activities.

Since 2015 however, APC has been unable to constitute its NAC. Nine years down the line, the absence of NAC is still haunting the party as a myriad of crises rocked various state chapters, and the inability to hold meetings of NEC and caucuses is blamed on the breach of Article 11 of the party’s constitution.

Its former national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun for inexplicable reasons failed to constitute the council, which should have been chaired by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

At that time, it was feared that former President Muhammadu Buhari and Oyegun would not have a final say on the running of the party with Atiku, alongside some elders such as Chief Audu Ogbeh, Bisi Akande, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, late Ogbonnaya Onu, and Ghali Umar Na’Abba as BoT members.

The unceremonious exit of Oyegun and his successor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was partly blamed on the absence of BoT, which left the party at the whims and caprices of the then President Buhari, his cronies and the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) led by Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State.

So far, the party that prides itself as the largest party in Africa has been accused of not living up to expectations, especially as it regards holding its quarterly national executive committee. The election of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as its substantive national chairman since August last year has not helped matters.

Ganduje, who has carved a niche for himself by holding the mandatory weekly NWC meetings at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, and is credited with kick-starting the electronic membership and revalidation exercise of the party, establishment of the Progressives Institute, as well as series of measures aimed at injecting life into the party at the grassroots level, has not had enough courage to constitute NAC.

If this council had been constituted, President Bola Tinubu, his Vice, Senator Kashim Shettima, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass, his Vice, Benjamin Kalu, the Secretary to the Government of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, Ganduje with their predecessors – former President Buhari, his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; former Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, his deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, his Deputy, Ahmed Wase; Boss Mustapha, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, among several others would form the nucleus of that important organ and take responsibilities for action and inactions of the party.

NAC is one out of the 13 organs of the party under Article 11 of the party’s constitution. Other organs are: the National Convention, NEC, NWC, Zonal Congress; Zonal Executive Committee, State Congress, State Executive Committee (SEC), State Working Committee (SWC), Senatorial District Committee, Local Government Area/Area Council Congress, Local Government Area/Area Council Executive Committee, Ward Congress, Ward Executive Committee, and Polling Unit Committee.

It further states that the tenure of NAC members, other than those specified in article 12.2 (A) (i-iv), shall be four (4) years, subject to renewal for another four (4) years and no more.

Former National Vice Chairman (North West) of the party, Mallam Salihu Lukman, who recently resigned his membership of the party has never hidden his disdain for the alleged failure of the Ganduje-led NWC to convene NEC meeting, national caucus and several other organs of the party in line with articles 11 and 12 of its constitution.

Lukman before dumping the party claimed that “what is being witnessed between 2015 and now is that APC has changed to become PDP incorporated in every respect.”

The Kaduna-born politician who is among the founding members of APC stressed the need to arrest the current drift towards ‘garrison politics in the name of progressive politics.”

Arguing that all that exists now is a legal entity that has poor relationship with party leaders and hardly any relationship with Nigerians, he added that it is either APC leaders take the needed steps to call Ganduje, APC NWC and President Tinubu to order by restoring constitutional order and returning the party to its founding vision of progressive politics, which should be about unity of the party leaders and Nigerians, or the party can as well declare end to progressive politics in Nigeria.

In a letter to select APC leaders titled: “APC and The Future of Nigerian Democracy”, Lukman lamented that party leaders have been cowed to silence as no one wants to take the risk of being on the wrong side of President Tinubu.

According to him, “It is quite depressing. As it is, the sad reality is that President Tinubu is inaccessible to many party leaders. The policies of his government are clearly anti-people and completely contradictory to even his campaign document ‘Renewed Hope’, he said.

Speaking in the same vein, a stakeholder from the North Central, Dominic Alancha, who decried the absence of critical organs of the party, stressed the need for consultation on the implementation of the manifesto of the party.

He said: “My take is that it still boils down to the leadership of the party. If we have a sound leadership, all these things would have been put in place. If you recall, these are some of the battles that Salihu Lukman has been fighting so that we can adhere to the constitution of our party. But unfortunately, we don’t know why this is happening. I guess because the way and manner the Abdullahi Adamu left should be blamed. But even before Ganduje came on board the issues had been on the ground.

“For some of us, we are calling on Ganduje who is now our national chairman to do the needful and ensure that there is strict adherence to our party constitution. It’s a simple thing. Meet Mr President, and call the relevant stakeholders to meet. That is why the NEC meeting is very necessary. Some of the agenda should be how those NAC or BoT should be constituted.

“This party has never had BoT, not even once. A party is not run like that in a constitutional democracy. You don’t run a party that way. So, I would call on Ganduje to ensure that in the next NEC meeting, some of these issues are discussed.

“At least if they are discussed, people would now know that steps are being taken. But their silence over it shows that they don’t care whether we adhere to the party constitution or not. And it is not helping our democracy in terms of people having confidence in the party because certain decisions are supposed to be carried out by NAC and other relevant organs of the party.”

But Ganduje’s Special Assistant on Civil Societies and Support Groups, Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi, disagreed with the notions held in certain quarters that stakeholders of the party are being sidelined in the decision-making process of the party.

While assuring that President Tinubu would make amends for noticeable lapses in the running of the party, he said, “If you x-ray the history of APC since its formation in 2013/2014, you will agree that there has not been any formal BoT for the party because it is a legacy party, as different political parties came together to form APC. The party was formed basically to take over the government.

“You will agree with me that President Buhari became sick from the beginning of his administration, which unsettled both the government and the party.

“So, throughout Buhari’s regime of 8 years, the party was not able to set up this advisory council. With the emergence of President Tinubu, a core democrat who has fought for democracy by rescuing power from the military regime, we believe there would be a change from the past.”

You are also aware that immediately after President Tinubu came in, there was a change of leadership in the party after the national chairman and secretary resigned. The NEC was convened, and Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was appointed, alongside the secretary of the party.

“You will also agree with me that Ganduje-led NWC has proposed a NEC meeting, which is awaiting Mr President’s approval. After the mini-convention, there would be NWC, NEC and convention. So, after the non-elective convention, there will be an elective convention by next year. Thereafter party positions would be properly rezoned and elected for another term of four years. Mr President would now have the clear view to set up this process called the BoT where the leadership of the party and all the members from all walks of life will participate and deliberate issues of the party.”

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