By Fortune Archibong
After several months of horse-trading, political back-stabbing, power play, ethnic jingoism, avarice and outright manipulations between the power brokers of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the fleeting national convention of the party has finally taken place at the Nigeria’s venue of power, the Eagles Square in Abuja. The day was said to have appeared ominous owing to the fact that at about 9pm the leader of the party and President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, was said not to have showed any indication of attendance despite the early afternoon completion of all protocol arrangements for his arrival to a convention already concluded with consensus candidates. They only needed a vote to introduce the anointed candidate, inauguration, vote of thanks and a possible benediction.
It was discovered later that the President’s late arrival may not be unconnected to the last minute tinkering of the party’s unity list of already anointed candidates to lead the “hitherto” troubled ruling party. Whereas the President and leader of the party had hosted the supposedly founders of the party, which includes the likes of Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State, Chief Bisi Akande, a former governor of OsunState, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State, thealleged financier of the party and betrayer of his people for “national interest” and others to a dinner; the task of arriving at a consensus amongst the star-studded chairmanship aspirants of the ruling party appeared even more serious than choosing the presidential aspirant for the ruling party. Alas, the party finally zeroed in on the former Governor of Nasarawa State and serving Senator Abduldahi Adamu as national chairman and another former Senator and former deputy governor of Osun State, Otunba Iyiola Omisore as national secretary.
The Nigerian political party firmament has two critical offices as focal and the retinue of officers after the chairman and secretary as “others”. For the ruling party, it is Abdulahi Adamuand Iyiola Omisore calling shots while others exist whenever their services are required. But who are Senators Adamu and Omisore; they are former ranking members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who had tasted the offices of Governor and Deputy Governor of a PDP state at a time. This is another semblance of the scenario of Esau’s body and Jacob’s voice, and the first person to have noticed the chemistry of leadership to befall APC was the maverick Bola Tinubu who is said to have visited the President Buhari to caution him on the dangers of some of the consensus candidates for the various party offices especially the candidature of Senator Iyiola Omisore. Tinubu was in accompany of Chief Bisi Akande the former national chairman of the party and one of the Grand Commanders of the coalition parties which formed the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
The outcome of Tinubu and Akande’s meeting with President Buhari is obvious as their move was dead upon arrival and nothing could change the President’s mind from his anointed national chairman and secretary. Several political calculations may have informed the President’s choice of Adamu and Omisore to replace the caretaker executive of the party led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State and Senator John James Akpanudoedehe. This includes the impression of the APC as party for the core muslim north and Senator Adamu from North-Central geopolitical zone may appeal to the South-East, South-South to identify with the ruling party. The choice has already put paid to the presidential ambition of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State whose zone cannot produce the party chairman and presidential flagbearer. For the national secretary office, Omisoreis a match to his caretaker predecessor secretary, Senator Akpanudoedehe, who is a no-nonsense party man with PDP blood, and would call off the bluff of any party charlatan.
In the true sense, the new APC National Executive appear to be a complete departure from the splinter or coalition political groups such as CPC, ANPP, AD or ACN, which originally formed the APC. The two former stalwarts of PDP leading the ruling party may be an anathema to the political interests of people such as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Senator Omisore is a serious thorn in the flesh for Tinubu who on a Governorship campaign to Osun State did something weird such as burning a mock coffin and declaration of unprintable statements against the personality of Senator Iyiola Omisore who had contested as Governor of Osun State in a party different from APC, CAN, AD. Omisore is always linked to the refrain associated with the songs of sorrow and loss of the late Chief Bola Ige. Besides, the likes of Omisore, Femi Fani-Kayode and other young mafia politicians of the South West have never hidden their disdain on the overbearing political influence, interests and ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and may take advantage of the present party structure to hit him below his political belt. In fact, if Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State could not hide his opposition to Tinubu at the just concluded APC governorship primaries in Osun, then Omisore may not retain any regard for Tinubu. With Omisore at the APC national secretariat, Tinubu may no longer call the party shots as it used to be, as Omisore as the manager of the party secretariat amounts to Tinubu’s political brick wall.
Senators Abudullahi Adamu and Omisore stand the risk of forensic and other security scrutiny to check the PDP blood in them when the President and other promoters of their candidature recover from the euphoria of their consensus breakthrough. Should the withdrawal of other chairmanship candidates for the emergence of Senator Adamu be a mere political charade to hoodwink the President or the fear of EFCC,the aftermath of post-convention threat or action may lead to a possible implosion ahead of the presidential primaries. Also, should Senators Adamu and Omisore prove to be patriotic and play proper politics of inclusion, fairness and commitment to the tenets of true democracy, the outing party could be more acceptable to Nigerians of various political spectrums and may even signal the death of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)whose members may wish to cross carpet to help “their own” now in the saddle of the ruling party.
One consistent political re-incarnation in the Nigerian political space is the presidential aspiration of Alhaji Atiku Abubakarwho has recently made his sixth declaration to rule Nigeria;Atiku has one of the largest political network of friends across the length and breadth of Nigeria, one man who is not afraid to spend in and for politics. Only God knows if the likes of Senators Adamu and Omisore are not in his pay book or had benefited from his political largesse, then the APC is in for the worst blow of fifth columnists who have successfully hunted and snatched the soul of the ruling party for a sweep of 2023 elections.
Archibong is of the Nigerian Guild of Editors