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Power Play and APC’s National Leadership

Power Play and APC’s National Leadership

Since the formation of the All Progressives Congress in 2013, the party has had five national chairmen at various times. Aside the protem chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, others that came after him didn’t survive the power play in the party, the latest being Senator Abdulahi Adamu. 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) came into being in February, 2013. The determination to get rid of the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) necessitated the merger of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP to form the APC.

Following the merger, a former governor of Osun state, Chief Bisi Akande was appointed as the protem Chairman to pilot the affairs of the party between 2013 and 2014.

John Odigie-oyegun

On 13th June, 2014, a former Governor of Edo state, Chief John Oyegun, was elected National Chairman of APC.  A former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu,  is believed  to have played an important role that led to his emergence

The choice of Oyegun was a calculated strategy  to win both Christian and Moslem votes in the challenge to defeat former President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP.

Surprisingly, the APC won the 2015 general election by defeating an incumbent president.

It was not long before Oyegun came under intense criticism from various factions of the party including some APC Governors for his handling of the party. This led to the call for his removal from office as national chairman of the party.

Initially, former President Muhammadu Buhari, who by the party’s constitution is the national leader of the party and seven of its governors backed Oyegun to remain in office.

However,  Buhari later withdrew his support for Oyegun when it became clear that most of the governors and other powerful members of the party were resolute in their efforts to remove him  from office.

At the long run, on June 1, 2018, Oyegun  jettisoned his plan to seek re-election for a second term in office at the 2018 elective national convention.

“Even though I had the desire to re-contest as National Chairman of the Party, I have decided that it is ultimately in the best interest of the Party for me to withdraw from the race,” he had said.

Adams Oshiomhole

On 23rd June, 2018, a former Governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, emerged as the national chairman of the party following a voice vote by delegates at the party’s National convention.

Oshiomhole’s emergence was not without the knowledge of Tinubu who it was believed  played another pivotal role in forcing out Oyegun from the office.

It wasn’t long before Oshiomhole stepped on banana peels when he engaged in power play with some governors of the party.

On November 12, 2019, Oshiomhole was suspended from APC after 18 Local Government Chairmen of the party in Edo state passed a vote of no confidence on him.

The former governor was accused of trying to disintegrate the party in Edo State.

Nevertheless, a faction of the party loyal to Oshiomhole declared his suspension null and void and then suspended Governor Godwin Obaseki of the state whom they accused of orchestrating Oshiomhole’s suspension.

Furthermore, on January 15, 2020, Edo APC reaffirmed the suspension of Oshiomhole, saying he had no legal right to continue to function as the APC National Chairman by the virtue of his suspension in Edo State.

Meanwhile, on March 4, 2020 a High Court sitting in Abuja ordered the suspension of Oshiomhole from office having been suspended from the party. The court said Oshiomhole was no longer a member of the party and could not possibly continue to discharge his official responsibilities with a clear order of the court that Oshiomhole be restricted to the national secretariat of the party.

Also, on March 5, 2020, a Federal High Court in Kano gave another judgment which vacated the judgment of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court and restored Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the APC.

The Kano judgment created confusion as to which judgment to obey because both courts are of equal jurisdiction. Oshiomole later  appealed against his suspension at the Abuja Court of Appeal and the court affirmed his suspension on 16 June 2020.

Mai Mala Buni

Following Oshiomhole’s ouster, in June 2020, the National Working Committee of APC was dissolved and in its place, a Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee was constituted.

It was chaired by the Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni. The committee was saddled with the responsibility of steering the activities of the party for an initial period of six months and also to prepare and conduct the party’s extraordinary national convention.

During a National Executive Council meeting held at the State House, Abuja on  December 8, 2020, the tenure of the committee was extended for another six months.

After initial foot-dragging, the Buni-led committee was forced to organise a national convention that brought Senator Abdulahi Adamu-led NWC.

Senator Abdulahi Adamu

In March 2022, Senator Abdullahi Adamu was appointed national chairman of APC. Prior to the national convention where he was elected, Buhari made other aspirants step down for Adamu, his anointed candidate.

But on July 17, 2023, Adamu and the former National Secretary of the party were forced to resign  following an alleged directive from President Tinubu, whom sources claimed could no longer tolerate their excesses.

Adamu’s autocratic leadership style became his major undoing. Besides, his frosty relationship with Tinubu, Adamu and Omisire  were alleged to have  misappropriated the party’s funds.

Aftermath of the unceremonious exit of Adamu, Tinubu has reportedly settled for  the immediate-past governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, as his successor.

Ganduje As Next Chairman

Expectedly, the National Vice Chairman, North-west, Dr. Salihu Lukman, described the speculation doing the rounds that Ganduje might emerge as the next national chairman of the party as insensitive.

According to him, if the speculation emerging from the APC governors was true, it would completely distort the zoning arrangement that informed the present configuration of the leadership of the National Assembly.

Lukman stated: “Already, part of the speculations emerging from the Governors bloc is that Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje is being considered to succeed Senator Abdullahi Adamu. If this is true, it only suggests insensitivity and taking members of the party for granted.

“This is without prejudice to the person of Dr. Ganduje. This is because such a choice will completely distort the zoning arrangement that informed the present configuration of the leadership of the National Assembly.”

Lukman explained that with the Speaker of House of Representatives and Deputy Senate President coming from North West and North Central shut out of consideration, to propose the party’s National Chairman to move to North West from North Central will be unjust and almost a political suicide.

He added: “We must caution our Governors that since the emergence of APC, Governors have served almost as the conscience of the party.”

APC’s reaction

In a swift reaction, the NWC of the party  said Lukman’s position was his and does not in any way represent the position of the party.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, in a statement said the trending reports in sections of the media suggesting disharmony among members of NWC or between the NWC and other critical sections of the party’s leadership around possible successor to the office of National Chairman are purely speculative.

He stated: “All sections of the party’s college of leadership stand united in their quest for a more progressive party. While individual party leaders and members retain their right to express their personal thoughts and opinions, they do not represent the official position of the NWC or the Party.

“Official position of the NWC on the subject of succession to any vacant offices of the NWC or any other subject will be communicated via the official channels of the NWC. Change in the life of any individual or institution is constant and inevitable.”

After all said and done, the decision to make Ganduje the next chairman of the party has been concluded barring any last minute change. Whether his fate will be different from that of his predecessors or not remains to be seen at the end of the day.

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