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FRANK TALK: APC, and a nation in free fall

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By Steve Nwosu

When PDP was ruling, we mocked them for their uncanny disposition to self destruct. We soon nicknamed them People Destroying People, Papa Deceive Pikin etc.

The other opposition parties, especially the then ACN, and later APC, took jibes at the fumbling PDP – especially when a PDP presidency was orchestrating the gunboat impeachment of its own PDP governors. From Bayelsa to Plateau and Ekiti, it was all the same. And PDP never recovered until it lost power.

APC, a Special Purpose Vehicle cobbled together to wrest power from the fumbling incumbents, reaped from PDP’s loss. But the APC itself was like a pawnbroker’s shop.

It had everything: progressives, conservatives, ideologues, patriots, true nationalists, federalists, confederates, irredentists, ethnic and religious bigots, gays, straights, lesbians, perverts, pseudo-democrats, wheeler dealers, influence peddlers, opportunists, political traders as well as blackmailers and the blackmailed.

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Now, barely five years after the party took over power, the strange bedfellows forced into sleeping together by an overriding ambition to grab power, have begun to show their true colours.

 In fact, signs of the crack began to emerge in the course of constituting President Buhari’s first cabinet (beginning with the kitchen cabinet, which has since come to be dubbed the Cabal). Everyone is pulling in different directions, with each pull tearing something away from the heart of the party.

As at the last count, there are at least six different wars going on simultaneously within the party.

The national secretariat, headed by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is a house divided against itself.

APC

Oshiomhole himself is battling home trouble (ancestral curse, if you like). His native Edo State is in turmoil.

 Ondo is in fire. Rivers is feeding itself a deadly kind of poison, there are murmurings in Osun, and until Sen. Abiola Ajimobi became sidelined by Covid-19, he was also deeply enmeshed in a crisis in Oyo APC.

The APC (Progressive) Governors forum is angry with the treatment meted out to their colleague in Edo.

Many of them are eager to see the back of Oshiomhole. There is confusion everywhere. Obaseki presents his APC expression of interest form to Buhari one day, and the next day, he is prevented from seeing the President – only stopping at the desk of the Chief of Staff.

So, he could not even tell if the president was for him or against him.

As at the last count, one governor and two Deputy Governors have jumped ship. And that is not saying anything about council chairmen, councilors and other party chieftains.

Court papers are flying all over the place. People are suspending people. The suspended are suspending their suspenders.

Courts of concurrent jurisdiction are ruling on the same matter and dishing out contradictory orders. So much so that, as at this moment, one is not sure of who is actually in charge of APC.

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And as if sworn to suicide, the party went for direct primaries to pick its governorship flagbearer for Edo.

Yes, in a season of Covid-19 pandemic, when the whole of Burundi, for instance, is paying dearly for stubbornly holding a presidential election in defiance of global lockdown and social distancing protocols.

Yes, Oshiomhole’s APC felt that the need to stop Governor Godwin Obaseki getting a return ticket was a greater national emergency than Covid-19.

Now, when things degenerate to this messy state, I immediately recall the wisdom in what Dr. Sule Lamido, the then governor of Jigawa State, once told me on why he did not want to send Emirs and traditional rulers  as delegates to the National Conference convened by the Jonathan government.

According to Lamido, who is the current leading light of Talakawa politics, if the royal fathers are sent there, by the time the conferees inevitably begin to throw chairs at each other, the royal fathers, whom we would have ordinarily run to for mediation, would be among those throwing chairs. That is recipe for complete breakdown.

Unfortunately, that analogy is the lot of the APC today. Those who should be called upon to settle the roforofo fight are also deep in the mud with the combatants, fully mired in the fight – either directly or indirectly.

That is why there is also a lot of shadow-boxing and proxy fights involved in all the crises. While some are hiding behind Obaseki to fight Oshiomhole, others are using the demolition of the embattled APC chairman to take cheap shots at Tinubu.

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Some who could not inflict enough injury on Rotimi Amaechi in Abuja have taken the fight to APC Rivers. Others are indirectly aiming punches at Nasir el-Rufai, Kayode Fayemi, Rotimi Akeredolu, and even Buhari.

The result is that more than a year after APC fully consolidated power, took control of the two chambers of the national assembly, and eased out most of the appointees of the PDP from the commanding heights of every aspect of our national life, the ruling party is still in search of genuine direction, suffering a lot of self-inflicted injuries, and gradually, but steadily, going into a free fall. Nothing probably explains this concept of self-inflicted injury as the recent move to rubbish the EFCC.

Recall that of the tripod of security, economic revival and anti-corruption war, on which the present government rode to power, the anti-corruption war appears to be the only leg on which the administration can claim to have made some appreciable inroad. Insecurity has worsened, as insurgency, assisted by banditry and ethnic cleansing, has taken over North West.

The North East is yet to enjoy the peace and tranquility it was promised. Things are so bad that even the President has joined us ‘wailers’ in complaining about the service chiefs.

He, through the NSA, even came to whine on national television (It was not First Lady Aisha who tweeted it). And the North Central has largely been silenced, more by political intimidation than genuine peace.

The South East, South South and South West are raising the alarm over strange movements into their territories. The economy remains in doldrums, made worse by the economic crisis imposed by the corona virus pandemic. But even when some of us still have issues with the modus operandi of the EFCC, and regularly allege the re-looting of recovered loots, it is hardly in the position of the APC government to champion the move against the commission.

Expectedly, that move, from the office of the attorney-general, has handed the opposition PDP the evidence to rubbish whatever the government might claim to have achieved on the anti-graft war.

Clearly, APC, was not content with simple control it secured with the victory of 2015. It wanted absolute power, and it ‘tweaked’ the 2019 polls to ensure that. Now with the impunity that comes with absolutism, APC’s absolute power is corrupting absolutely. But, like our elders say, those who the gods want to destroy, they first make them mad. Surely, our APC has gone mad again!

This piece was written Monday, June 22, 2020

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