APC crisis: 2023 presidential declarations by party members is further deepening the existing crisis in the ruling party, ENigeria Newspaper reports.
The debate surrounding the All Progressives Congress – APC’s failure to host a national convention to pick a national chairman and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) has reached a crisis point, with party stakeholders signaling that their patience has run out.
ENigeria Newspaper reports that the recent declarations by presidential hopefuls of their intention to run for president in 2023 have exacerbated the crisis, a development that most party faithful believe is detrimental to a party that has yet to put its house in order and hold a convention.
According to sources, the party leadership wanted to move the date ahead to a period when it would be opportune to have a national convention that would elect a new national chairman, members of the NWC, and a presidential candidate all at the same time.
APC Crisis: Buhari’s interview fueling further crisis
However, party leaders, including governors elected on the party’s platform, were upstaged and flew from pillar to post after President Muhammadu Buhari warned APC leaders to clean up their act if they want to retain power in next year’s general elections in an interview with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
Buhari warned against the party’s continued divisions, instability, and lack of agreement, saying they might jeopardize the election and allow the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to retake the president in 2023.
Most party stakeholders have become emboldened by the president’s stance, and are now openly expressing their discontent with the delay in conducting the national convention as scheduled.
APC Crisis & party convention and Mai Mala Buni’s reaction
On Wednesday, the Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee dismissed as “fake news” reports that the party had postponed its national convention until June 2022, stating that its immediate task was to address and resolve internal party disputes, including litigation and the fallout from recent congresses, as well as reposition the party in preparation for the national convention.
However, in a letter to the party’s leadership, Salihu Moh Lukman, the director general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), urged against postponing the national convention, stating the party’s electoral prospects would deteriorate if the caretaker committee continued to hold everyone hostage.
Noting that delaying the convention beyond February date would further weaken the chances of the ruling party to win future elections, the APC chieftain implored APC members to take the issue of leadership recruitment beyond the question of loyalty.
He asked the Buni committee to stop claiming that it was waiting for the meeting of Progressive Governors Forum before taking “all the necessary decisions to commence the process of organising the Convention.
“Such a claim is not only dishonest but also amounts to taking the support of Progressive Governors for granted, which is why Progressive Governors have been reduced to punching bags of all party members regarding all the challenges facing the party,” he noted.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Lukman pointedly stated that the national caretaker committee would be demonstrating that its “new objective is probably to take APC to its political grave” if it shifts the national convention again, adding that “this should not be acceptable!”
He stated: “Unless the CECPC has given itself the new responsibility of being the political and electoral undertaker of the APC, it must stop promoting some subversive campaigns suggesting that it is undertaking ‘the immediate task of addressing contestations within the Party, litigations, fallouts of recently conducted Congresses and generally reposition the Party ahead of the National Convention.’
“The more the party continues to allow the leadership of the CECPC to continue to hold everyone captive and refuse to commence the process of organising the February APC National Convention, the more party leaders would have supported the CECPC in weakening the electoral prospect of the APC.
Largely on account of delaying the implementation of decision to organize the February APC National Convention, there is hardly any internal party preparation for the 2023 electoral contest beyond individual leaders declaring their personal aspirations for offices.
“Without any prejudice to the aspirations of leaders, it is important that the party is able to set some minimum standards for the 2023 campaigns so that individual aspirants can orient their internal party mobilization around those minimum standards.
APC must not make the mistake of orienting its internal party mobilization for the emergence of candidates for 2023 elections, especially Presidential Candidate only based on personality contest.
“Personality contests will only weaken the APC and undermine the capacity of the party to link its 2023 electoral contest with the achievements of the party, especially the Federal Government led by President Buhari. Once that is the case, the party will be strengthening the false opposition narrative about the failure of APC and President Buhari.”
The PGF DG warned that the APC must take all the necessary steps to correct the false narrative of failure on its part and President Buhari if it really wants to unassailably win the 2023 general election.
This, he said, can only be possible if leaders and members of the party rise to the challenge of ensuring that the caretaker committee devotedly implements the decision to organize the APC national convention in February this year.
Lukman made recommendations for party leaders to adopt as minutest guiding principles to determine the qualification of potential party leaders, especially the National Chairman.
He continued: “Any potential candidate must have good relations with party leaders at national level, especially President Buhari. The candidate must also have good relations with all party leaders in his/her state, including the Governor, where there is an APC government.
“It should be a strong advantage when the aspiring person has played any role during the merger negotiation that produced APC and has been consistent in the party since 2013. This means such a person would have the needed institutional memory to recognize and respect sacrifices made by party leaders and members to make the merger that produced the APC successful.
“It should be a strong disadvantage when any aspiring candidate has records of defection from the party or any of the legacy parties that merged to form the APC.
“Finally, public service experience will not only be an advantage but a measure of determining the democratic credentials of the candidate. Any candidate with public service experience at whatever level without incontestable records of achievements, such a person cannot inspire any party member and by extension Nigerians into believing that his/her leadership can bring any good electoral fortune for the party.”
Leadership reports that the PGF boss, however, declared that the first challenge was to ensure that the CECPC has no option but to organize the APC national convention in February 2022 as decided based on all the consultations that have taken place.
“The CECPC must be told that all consultations about organizing the Convention ended with the meeting with President Buhari on November 22, 2021 and therefore the CECPC leadership should stop lying to Nigerians and APC members.”