Despite the far-reaching decisions taken by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) last week, the crisis rocking the party appears far from being over, Daily Independent has gathered.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that some loyalists of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, National Leader of APC, who are apparently miffed by the latest developments in the party, are demanding a pull-out of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) fold from the APC family on the basis that there are plans by some power brokers to muscle out Tinubu from the affairs of the party.
It would be recalled that the APC came into existence in February 2013 following a merger that involved the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led by Tinubu, Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) led by President Muhammadu Buhari, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) led by Ogbonnaya Onu, and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) led by Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo State.
Following the multiple litigations and leadership tussle in the party which led to the suspension of the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, President Buhari and the NEC last Thursday dissolved the National Working Committee (NWC) and constituted a Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, to reset the party.
Though sources said he was not in support of the meeting, Tinubu, in a statement at the weekend, praised President Buhari, saying he acted like a true father to save the party from disintegration with the dissolution of the NWC.
He also appealed to members of the dissolved NWC to sheathe their sword and see the larger picture of the development.
Tinubu also declared that he had not made a decision on contesting the 2023 presidency, expressing pity for those who insinuate that President Buhari had ended his purported 2023 presidential ambition with the NWC’s dissolution.
A key loyalist of Tinubu and former member of the House of Representatives, who spoke on condition of anonymity with our correspondent, said all was still not well within the party.
He said the CPC wing of the APC was trying to hijack the party while scheming out other political parties that contributed to the success the APC enjoys today.
“Honestly, if we want to be sincere, APC is APC. Following the merger, we shouldn’t be talking of ACN, CPC, ANPP, APGA or nPDP again.
“In 2013, we all agreed to bury our various political parties and queue behind a single political entity called the APC.
“Nigerians believed in us, retrieved their mandate from the PDP and gave it to us in 2015.
“But if you have been following events before and after the 2019 general elections, it is very clear that the CPC wing is trying to sideline other political parties in the arrangement, especially the ACN, which is the dominant party in the merger.
“They have been playing hide and seek, but last week they decided to show their true colour with what happened at the NEC meeting.
“I can assure you that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was not carried along in the whole arrangement.
“I read his statement on Saturday approving the decisions taken at the NEC but I must tell you he did that just because he is a loyal party man and elder statesman who will always do everything to protect the image of the party.
“But we, his loyalists, have been discussing. We are unhappy with what is happening and we won’t hesitate to pull out if we get the green light to do so.”
Also speaking, Mikhail Balogun, another loyalist of Tinubu, said there were plans to cripple the ACN bloc led by Tinubu by some powerbrokers in the APC.
“I don’t think the crisis in the APC is over. Far from it! From what is happening, the Northern plot is on.
“I have a feeling that the APC is planning to field a Northern presidential candidate and the nomination of Governor Mai Mala Buni, a core CPC member, as the Caretaker Committee chairman, is part of the strategies to realise that plan.
“I have a feeling that the Yobe governor will definitely conduct a convention that will throw up a chairman who will deliver a Northern agenda. Let’s just wait and see,” he said.
Speaking on the latest development, Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said Tinubu’s latest ordeal in the APC did not come to him as a surprise.
George, who said Tinubu was already receiving judgment from God, added that the problem of the former Lagos State governor began when he started laying claims to being the ‘national leader’ of the party even though he occupied no elective position.
He argued that in a presidential system of government, the president is the national leader in a ruling political party and not any individual, no matter how highly placed.
He said: “From the very beginning, I used to tell them that the party, APC, is a congregation of strange bedfellows. When you have a big party like that and someone wants to hijack it, there will be a problem.
“First of all, it is a misnomer in a presidential system for a man who is not elected into any position to come out and say he is the national leader of the party.
“How is that possible? There is only one national leader of the party and that is the president.”
When asked if Tinubu should pull the ACN bloc out of APC as being canvassed by his loyalists, George said: “That is his decision. I can’t decide for him.
“For me, when you start seeing the signal, if he is a very clever person, he will recall himself and have a deep introspection.
“If he thinks he can run Nigeria the way he did to Lagos, he is making a mistake,” he added.
Also speaking, Monday Ubani, a former Second Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said it would be very premature for Tinubu to pull out of the APC now.
“It will not be wise for him to pull out now because unless he has concrete evidence that he has been sidelined, it is just speculation based on what just transpired recently.
“Among the political parties that joined forces to form the APC, the ACN led by Tinubu was the major partner in that venture.
“I don’t think it will be right for him to be advised now to pull out. It will be very premature for him to do so,” he said.