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APC crisis: Has PMB jumps into the arena?

Even the worst critics of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not have predicted a year ago that with less than three months to the general election, the governing party would be tethering on the brink of implosion. But immediately after its primary elections some weeks ago, the chord that binds it together was completely broken. Now, the broom is in shreds and scattered everywhere.

It became glaring in July this year that the centre could no longer hold when more than 30 members of the APC in the  Natonal Assembly defected to other parties. Also, three governors of the party dumped the APC for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).  To worsen matters, the leadership of the National Assembly is now firmly in the hands of the opposition, as Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, are now PDP members.

The APC held one of the most rancorous primaries ever held by a political party since the return of democracy in 1999. Before and after the primaries the party had been losing members and is still on the verge of losing more members.

In a bid to save the party from imminent implosion, President Muhammadu Buhari this week began moves to placate aggrieved members of the party. Political observers are of the opinion that the president is acting rather too late because as the national leader of the party, he should have realised earlier before now that he is the only one that can stop the party from imploding. The thinking is that Buhari’s aloofness from party matters gave fillip to the crisis in the party.

On Wednesday, the president met with the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu. At the meeting, Buhari was said to have mandated them to resolve all lingering crisis in the party.

On Tuesday last night, the president had a dinner with aggrieved aspirants who lost out in the primaries. He urged them to remain faithful to the country and hold fast on integrity, with the consolation that there would be more opportunities to serve along the way. He said the primary motivation to contest elections should be to improve the country and not for pecuniary reasons.

“We must maintain our faith in the country,’’ he told the coalition of aggrieved party members who contested the APC primaries.

The president recalled that he contested the presidential election three times before coming to power in 2015, adding that providence would always pave the way for the just, committed and patient politician who wants to truly serve the country.

President Buhari told the aspirants that “those who mismanaged the resources of the country are still very much around, with incredible wealth’’. He warned the aspirants to be vigilant and circumspect in making choices as the future will only be salvaged by those who love the country.

“I spoke with the APC chairman almost every other day, at least for an hour during the primaries. And sometimes we met for two and half hours on ensuring internal democracy during the primaries,’’ Buhari said. He pointed out that in spite of all efforts to appease everyone and give them a chance at the polls, some aspirants were still not treated fairly.

“I urge you to stay faithful if your objective is to serve the country. I came back to power in this “agbada’’ to convince Nigerians to make sacrifices that the country needs now for a better future”, the president added.

On Thursday, Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, who is one of the aggrieved members of the APC visited the president at the presidential villa. He dismissed insinuations that the actions of the national chairman, Adams Oshiomole, in the party primaries had the backing of the presidency, saying Oshiomole was acting on his own.

Okorocha noted that since the inception of Oshiomole’s reign as national chairman, the party had been on the verge of losing almost five million voters. He however pointed out that the party will not disintegrate as long as Buhari remains the president.

Okorocha who is also the chairman of the progressive governors forum urged the national chairman to learn to respect the rule of law and obey court orders where they apply.

On reports that the party is still insisting on the candidature of Hope Uzodinma as the APC guber candidate in Imo, he said, “He cannot be standing on Hope Uzodinma because that man did not win election. You cannot compare somebody who won 265,000 votes with somebody who won 7,000 votes.

“He (Hope Uzodinma) never won election and you cannot impose a candidate who is unacceptable to the people on the people. That is how serious the matter is now. So, he (Oshiomhole) should do the right thing and I have advised him severally to do the right thing before he creates more disaffection in our party”.

It remains to be seen if President Buhari’s last minute deft moves would be enough to stave off further defections from the party.

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