The All Progressive Congress is set to hold its national convention on a yet-to-be determined date in February 2022. But the planned convention may be coming amid raging crisis in some of the state chapters of the party.
Congresses held in some states ended in crisis as parallel congresses were observed in several states. In Zamfara State, Mala Mai Buni, the Governor of Yobe State and Caretaker Chairman of the APC has been accused of fueling the crisis in the state.
In this report, DAILY POST looks at the challenges ahead of the ruling party ahead of the February date.
Two weeks ago, former Senator, Kabir Marafa of Zamfara State, while appearing on Channels TV’s Politics Today, said the Buni-led caretaker committee is a Kangaroo Committee that is not known to law. In his response, Buni described Marafa as a “diminished politician.”
It would be recalled that following the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling on the Ondo State election, Festus Keyamo also called for the disbandment of the committee.
“We cannot vouch for the legality of any NEC meeting called by Buni now, the safest is to get two-third of NEC members to sign an invitation to summon a NEC meeting.”
Amid the crisis, the party had extended the stay of Buni-led committee on three occasions.
Currently, the Party is facing crises in Ogun, Lagos, Kano, Abia, Zamfara, Cross River, Kwara States. Some of these states had parallel congresses.
This could play a huge role in determining the convention and the outcome of the convention.
Emergence of Buni to stabilise party after Oshiomhole
The later days of the reign of Adams Oshiomhole saw a battle between himself and the governors. In the runoff to the 2019 elections, the former governor of Edo State had a running battle with Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, who had wanted to anoint their successors.
The decamping of Governor Godwin Obaseki to PDP, following his treatment by the Oshiomole-led National Working Committee, aggrieved several governors.
In 2018, DAILY POST had reported how the governors of the states were moving against Oshiomhole.
Buni was appointed after the dissolution of the Oshiomhole-led NWC. The exit of Oshiomole was viewed by analysts as the triumph of the governors, who had wielded some level of influence in the days of John Oyegun, the former chairman.
Henry Kelechukwu, a member of the APC, while speaking with DAILY POST said the ongoing crisis is about governors positioning themselves for 2023.
“Unlike in the PDP where the position of the governors is absolute, in the APC, you have the President who is the de facto head of the party. Also, you have heavyweight like Bola Tinubu, who is also believed to be nursing a presidential ambition. Hence, the situation in the party is far more complex.”
Insiders within the party also believe that governors are either trying to secure their future, either through return ticket, getting a successor or even moving to the senate.
In the last election, two incumbents lost their re-election in Bauchi and Adamawa State.
Since the reign of Buni, three governors have swapped the umbrella for the broom. Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, Ben Ayade and Bello Matawella of Cross River and Zamfara respectively.
2023 rotation and impact on convention
The issue of rotation of the presidency will be a front-burner on the convention. According to reports, the APC governors, under the Progressive Governors Forum led by Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, met on Sunday to discuss the convention and rotation of the presidency.
The outcome of the meeting produced the February 2022 date of the convention, but remained silent on the rotation.
As it stands, most of the likely candidates are from the north, hence, the possibility of keeping with the tradition of the Presidential candidate and Chairman of the party not being from the same side.
However, in the case of the President, no one has clearly indicated interest, but surrogates of Tinubu have been engaging in massive mobilisation across the country. A member of the House of Representatives, James Faleke had opened a campaign office in Abuja for the former governor of Lagos State.
While Dayo Adeyeye, a former minister is leading the SWAGA campaign in the southwest for Mr Tinubu.
Also, there are reports of possible run by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. Mr Osinbajo, an ally of Tinubu had to dissociate himself from campaign posters that recently flooded places in Abuja
In the Southeast, the clamour for micro zoning of the president to the region has been very strong. Currently, Ken Nnamani, Rochas Okorocha, Orji Uzor Kalu and Dave Umahi are some of the politicians expected to vie for the position from the region.
The politics of 2023 could have an impact on the convention as stated by Mr Kelechukw. He noted that the only saving grace would be if the president is not aloof.
“In the case of a ruling party, the President plays a huge role to forestall crisis in the party. Any politician will respect the mediation of the President in any crisis. All these crises could be forestalled if the president is decisive enough.”
However, the President has a long history of not intervening during crises. During the 2019 elections, Mr Buhari welcomed all aggrieved groups and even posed with all the candidates.
During a campaign rally in Imo State, he told the crowd to vote their conscience.
The battle could be down to the anointed candidate of the governors. Although, some of the governors are loyal to Mr Tinubu, particularly the Southwest governors.
But the governors remain formidable across the country. Also, unlike the PDP convention that had most of the posts being consensus, the APC convention could see most of the posts contested, creating a challenging atmosphere.