APC Crisis And 2019 Elections: Lessons From PDP By Terfa Naswem
When All Progressives Congress (APC) began to have internal crisis shortly after the party won the presidential election and majority of the seats in the National Assembly on where certain positions should be zoned to and the preferred people to occupy such positions, some Nigerians saw the party igniting a crisis that would later become a “political inferno.” The situation even became more compounded when Dr. Bukola Saraki emerged as the Senate President against the wish of APC elite.
President Mahammadu Buhari and the National Leader of APC Ahmed Bola Tinubu were the major standing storms against Saraki emergence as the Senate President. Their preferred candidate was Ahmed Lawan. The emergence of Saraki as the Senate President reignited the already existing crisis in APC that even led the Federal Government to bring up many corruption allegations against Saraki which he appeared many times before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to defend himself.
Intra-party crisis cannot be avoided in any party. But when such crisis is left unresolved, it can linger for a long time and can cause an extremely destructive havoc that might take a very long time to repair and might leave the party in an extremely irredeemable situation.
When the Fourth Republic began with the inauguration of the 1999 constitution in 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo emerged as the first President in the Fourth Republic on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party was extremely formidable and enjoyed a lot of the benefits relative peaceful internal democracy brings. The party’s transition of power in the presidency moved from Obasanjo to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and then to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Although PDP began having its numerous crises during the administration of Obasanjo especially when his third term bid was in futility, the crises became worse during the administration of Jonathan. Jonathan failed to be resolute and applied pragmatic approach in resolving such crises. He allowed political and ethnic sentiments to affect his right sense of judgment and which made him to push PDP out of the formidable leadership rail.
When Obasanjo wrote an 18-page open letter to President Jonathan in December 2013, he raised certain points that should serve as lessons to President Buhari, Tinubu and APC.
In his letter titled: “Before It Is Too Late” dated December 2, 2013, Obasanjo said these which are excerpt from the main letter:
“….The five positions which you share with nobody except with God and which place great and grave responsibility on you are leadership of the ruling party, headship of the Federal Government or national government, Commander-in-Chief of the Military, Chief Security Officer of the nation, and the political leader of the country. Those positions go with being the President of our country and while depending on your disposition you can delegate or devolve responsibility, but the buck must stop on your table whether you like it or not….
“Whatever may be the feud in PDP and no matter what you or your aides may feel, you as the leader of the party, have the responsibility to find solution, resolve and fix it. Your legacy is involved. If PDP as a ruling party collapses, it will be the first time in an independent Nigeria that a ruling party would collapse not as a result of a military coup. It is food for thought….
“At the prompting of governors on both sides of the divide, and on encouragement from you, I spent two nights to intervene in the dispute of PDP governors. I kept you fully briefed at every stage. I deliberately chose Banquet Hall at the Villa to ensure transparency.
“The so-called crisis in the PDP can be turned to an opportunity of unity, mutual understanding and respect with the Party emerging with enhanced strength and victory. It will be a win-win for all members of the Party and for the country. By that, PDP would have proved that it could have internal disagreement and emerge stronger. The calamity of failure can still be avoided. Please, move away from fringes or the extremes and move to the centre and carry ALL along. Time is running out.
“Denials and cover-up of what is obvious, true and factual can detract from honour, dignity and respect. Truth and transparency dignity and earn respect. And life without passion for something can only achieve little. I was taken aback when an African Development Bank director informed me that the water project for Port-Harcourt, originally initiated by the Federal Government to be financed by the bank, is being put in the cooler by the Federal Government since the Amaechi-Jonathan face-off.
“Amaechi, whether he likes it or not, will cease to be governor over Rivers State which Port-Harcourt is part by the end of May 2015, but residents of Port-Harcourt will continue to need improvement of their water supply. President Jonathan should rise above such pettiness and unpresidential act, if it is coming from him.
“But if not, and it is the action of overzealous officials reading the situation, he should give appropriate instruction for the project to be pursued. And if there are other projects anywhere suffering the same coolness as a result of similar situation, let national interest supercede personal or political feud and the machinations of satanic officials.
“Mr. President, let me plead with you for a few things that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Don’t always consider critics on national issues as enemies. Some of them may be as patriotic and nationalistic as you and I who had been in government. Some of them have as much passion for Nigeria as we have”.
With the ongoing crisis in APC, there is need for President Buhari to ensure the crisis is resolved no matter the sacrifices that should be made before it will be too late. With the way PDP is regrouping, if the crisis in APC continues to linger, it will sure affect APC in the 2019 general elections.
President Buhari should just reconcile with Saraki and other APC leaders that are in disagreement not just for the interest of APC but the interest of Nigeria at large.
Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan has a lot of lesions from President Buhari and the APC leadership as well. Most of what Obasanjo said might hit APC if the necessary steps are not taken to avert them. President Jonathan never took the letter seriously and a lot of things went bad for him and PDP. With the lingering crisis in APC, Obasanjo’s letter is a good instructional guide for Buhari and APC. Lessons should be learnt from PDP’s collapse as the ruling party!