Editor’s note: The writer, Buchi Obichie, opines that Comrade Adams Oshiomole faces a daunting task, as he gets ready to assume leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC). She outlines some of the serious problems the party is currently grappling with, and wonders if Oshiomole’s eventual election would be enough to salvage the APC’s dwindling fortunes.
I have read with some degree of fascination, how, one by one, challengers for the position of the national chairmanship of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have stepped down for the former governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomole. Like a feared Samurai warrior, the former labour leader seems to have conquered his foes, to claim the prize…all without actually going into battle.
At the moment, Oshiomole is the last man standing; and if the situation remains this way on Saturday, June 23, then the position is his for the taking.
However, a part of me wonders if this would not turn out to be a lost cause in the end. I mean, with all the brouhaha in the APC at the moment, one wonders what Oshiomole can really do, to turn the party’s fortunes around.
The APC is practically limping into its convention; and I say this with all sense of honesty.
We watched, during the ward and local government congresses, as parallel factions emerged in several states, and violence even broke out. It was a thing of shame. The party seems to be unable to rein-in the ambitions of many of its members, and bring them under the authority of the overall apparatus.
There are also too many aggrieved parties in the APC who feel like they are being marginalized, and have not benefited from the ‘party commonwealth’. Take the nPDP faction for instance; that group is made up of senior politicians like Bukola Saraki, who have been threatening to walk out of the party if their demands are not met. They even allegedly hatched a plan to deal the APC a huge blow by staging their exit on its national convention day.
Recently however, the spokesman of the gang, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, stated that the group would attend the convention. But that is not a guarantee that they would not still quit the APC…afterall, nothing has really changed.
In view of that, a particular comment made by Baraje, proves that trouble is still lurking around the corner. He stated: “We are looking forward to the Saturday convention; we will be at the convention and after that, we shall see how things unfold.”
There is also the particularly appalling matter of the constant fracas between the executive and legislative arm of government. Now, given that both chambers of the National Assembly are currently led by APC men – Saraki and Dogara- it makes one wonder why the president does not seem to get along with these lawmakers.
However, it’s really a simple matter of political calculations on the part of the lawmakers.
In politics, people look out for their best interests – whether individually or collectively. And in the eyes of many legislators, the Presidency has launched a ‘witch-hunt’ against their colleagues; a sin they cannot forgive.
From Dino Melaye, to Saraki, to Shehu Sani, to Peter Nwaoboshi, there are many lawmakers with scores to settle against the Presidency. And then, it also doesn’t help matters when the president’s appointees disregard the Assembly so publicly, by refusing to attend summons. In these instances, it appears to onlookers, as though these appointees have the support and backing of people at ‘the top’…even if this may or may not be true.
Buhari is not a politician. He is still very much a soldier at heart; and it seems like he still does not understand the intricacies of politics in Nigeria…that it is a game of ‘back scratching’…you give, and then get.
I must stress that there will always be excesses that need to be checked; however, it makes the job more difficult when both parties seem to have a deep hatred for one another, and when corruption seems to exist on both sides. How can a man with a log in his eyes – or logs in the eyes of those surrounding him – tell others to remove the ones in their eyes? It just smacks of hypocrisy!
And now, the man is wondering why lawmakers basically ‘rubbished’ his budget with ‘padding’! The answer is not farfetched.
So, Adams Oshiomole emerged as the favorite of the president and the choice of the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu; and he would be banking on the support of both men to take the party to greater heights. However, in addition to all other problems the party faces, I dare say that the level of popularity of both Buhari and Tinubu has waned in recent times.
Tinubu’s popularity has taken a blow within the party and in the south-west as well. Even though the president seems to be trying hard to make amends to the man who was majorly responsible for his 2015 victory, it cannot erase the fact that Tinubu’s wife has revealed how she had counseled her husband against giving too much and being sidelined by the party again. Also, the emergence of parallel factions in the recent APC congress in Lagos state, which led to the sidelining of Tinubu's men by Oyegun, shows that there are challengers to Jagaban’s authority, even in his own domain!
Then in the southwest, the Third Force is gradually chipping away at Tinubu’s previously iron-clad influence; and in all likelihood, this would show in 2019.
On the part of Buhari, the rumblings within the country are clear indications of how unpopular the president has become; even though his minders keep saying otherwise.
From the state of the economy, to the issue of insecurity, people are crying out. The president’s disposition has also not helped matters, as he is known for somewhat nonchalance and a seeming refusal to call things as they are.
Nigerians will not forget in a hurry, how time and time again, Buhari has refused to label killer herdsmen as terrorists, or how his aide said hungry citizens should go and work hard; as though the reason for their hunger was that they were not hardworking. On top of that, the youths will also not forget how the president basically described them as being lazy!
To cut the long story short, there is so much for the new APC helmsman to attend to; but one wonders if it is not already too late to patch up this badly leaking ship.
Make no mistakes though; Adams Oshiomole knows that his work is cut out for him. His recent statement that if elected, he would ensure that the president and all governors are subject to the party’s supremacy, shows that he does listen to the critics who accuse the president of being ‘lord and master’ in the APC. And I am pretty sure he is taking note of the mood of the country…he was once a labour leader afterall.
But at the end of the day, will whatever effort Oshiomole manages to put in, save the party? I guess we shall find out in 2019!
This opinion piece was written by Buchi Obichie.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Legit.ng.
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