As the 2023 Presidential election draws closer, ENigeria Newspaper reveal reasons for the leadership crisis in APC and PDP.
The road to 2023 looms bleak for the country’s two main political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Both parties are beset not merely by leadership problems, but also by seemingly insurmountable survival struggles.
Strangely, the APC has never been able to form a Board of Trustees since it was formed on February 6, 2013, by the various inclinations that joined together.
Following a Supreme Court ruling in the Ondo State governorship election, the ruling party is now facing serious legal issues that have thrown its leadership into disarray since last weekend.
PDP, too, is dealing with a crisis of trust, as well as a wave of defections by governors and parliamentarians elected on its platform, which has been exacerbated by yesterday’s resignations of prominent party executives, according to ENigeria Newspaper findings.
The majority of APC members were unaware of the party’s fragile state until the Supreme Court’s decision in the Ondo State governorship election challenge. If the opposition party’s governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, had joined APC’s National Caretaker Committee Chairman and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, in the litigation, the ruling implied that the party would have lost the state to the PDP.
The technicality in the case divided the seven-member Supreme Court panel, resulting in a four-to-three majority ruling, with Justice Mary Odili leading the minority opinion, saying that the supreme court should have removed Governor Rotimi Akeredolu since Buni acted on behalf of the party.
However, Justice Emmanuel Agim, writing for the majority, argued that because all of the concerns focused upon Buni, he should have been included in the argument.
The essence of the disagreement centered on the belief held by certain party members that as governor of Yobe State, Buni could not simultaneously serve as APC chairman, another executive position. Buni, they claimed, had broken Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Article 17 (iv) of the APC constitution.
Buni and a few other like-minded party members disagreed, and the Caretaker Committee pushed forward with the congresses despite a plea from the majority of party members to postpone them for fear of the unknown.
After a meeting of all lawyers in the cabinet, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, acting on President Muhammadu Buhari’s orders, made desperate moves to call off the congresses. This was due to concerns that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ondo State would come back to harm the party.
But, based on all signs, reason has begun to prevail, with governors elected on the APC platform and other stakeholders now debating the best course of action. Their alternatives are thought to include canceling the congresses in order to rescue the party from a slew of potential legal challenges in the future, ENigeria Newspaper learned on Tuesday evening.
APC, it appears, has yet to settle on a plan for dealing with the morass in which it has found itself. However, the majority of members believe that the party can reduce its losses by canceling the congresses first and then figuring out a way out of the legal quagmire in which it has placed itself.
The last several months have been tumultuous for the PDP, with the party losing three governors and a slew of state and federal legislators for a variety of reasons, including their inability to keep up with the party’s leadership.
The governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, was the first to defect, followed by Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade, and, most recently, Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle, whose defection generated constitutional difficulties due to the method in which he was elected governor.
Following a Supreme Court ruling that disqualified all APC candidates across the board due to allegedly rigged primary elections, Matawalle was elected governor in 2019 under the PDP.
Although the PDP is currently fighting Matawalle’s defection in court, seeking the Supreme Court to dismiss him, a new crisis has emerged in the party, with Sunday Udey-Okoye, the National Youth Leader, berating the party’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus.
This was quickly escalated when seven party officials handed in their resignation papers yesterday, citing charges of marginalization by the party leadership.
Secondus, on the other hand, has characterized what the youth leader claimed as the price of leadership, questioning why he did not notice that the deputies who resigned had not been assigned any official duties in the last three years, or since the party’s founding.
However, the NWC member stated that a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) would be called soon to address the issues mentioned.
In his reaction, Secondus maintained that the problem was not personal, but rather the cost of leadership. He claimed that the seven deputies who resigned were all sponsored because they were all aware of their status prior to their election.
“At our great party’s meeting today, the National Working Committee got notice of resignation from deputies who are elected members of the National Executive Committee,” Secondus confirmed.
“The meeting of the National Working Committee and the deputies immediately took place to dialogue on the issues that were raised,” PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan stated in response to the emergency.
The party will investigate the complaints made by members of the NEC and the National Working Committee.
“Our party’s internal conflict resolution process was also triggered right away to put these difficulties behind us. We urge all of our great party’s leaders, stakeholders, and members to be calm as we work together to resolve these issues.”
However, in an interview with journalists, the youth leader blamed Secondus for the party’s issues.
“Mr. Uche Secondus, the party’s national chairman, is incompetent to run the business of this party; he lacks managerial skills to manage PDP,” the youth leader said. He had ensured that several of the party’s departments were not functioning as efficiently as they could have been. Mr. Chairman has nothing to contribute to the party other than to deceive us. There is a deep schism in our NWC at the moment, and many more NWC members are more aggrieved than I am.”
In a same vein, Col. Austin Akobundu, the PDP’s National Organising Secretary, acknowledged the resignation of seven members of the NWC.
With major leadership crisis rocking the two leading political parties in Nigeria, obviously uncertainty looms as the country strolls toward the 2023 presidential election.