Immediately after the swearing in of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, Engineer Barnarbas Gemade became a constant visitor at the Aso Rock residence of Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The plot to kick out Chief Solomon Lar who led the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),to a resounding victor in the general elections,had started in earnest. Long before Olusegun Obasanjo ‘s swearing in, Lar the Apostle of Emancipation had been sentenced to death. His “real crime”,opposed to the “public lie”,was that obasanjo wanted absolute control of the party.The “public lie” was Lars’ lack of capacity to lead the PDP.So to date, the PDP has had Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Ahmadu Ali, Vincent Ogubulafor, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Bamanga Tukur, Muazu Adamu,Mohammed Bello,and Senator Ahmed Makarfi,as chairmen. Of all the chairmen,only Ali served out his tenure,without the usual “PDP ” treatment. A feat which was made possible by the willingness of Ali,the famed Garrison Commander to unquestioningly do Obasanjo’s dirty biddings.
From the orchestrated campaign against Chief John Oyegun,it is obvious that the All Progressive Congress(APC), that prides itself as agent of change, wants to travel the same PDP road, with the same obvious implication for itself and the polity. How can Nigerians ever trust any politician again,if the APC that held out so much hope,dashes it so willfully? Will this not be the confirmation that politicians are all the same?And that the interest of the people hardly ever matter.
If Bola Tinubu,Atiku Abubakar and Timi Frank had their way,John Oyegun during the recent visit of Mr. President to Edo State, would have been addressed in the past tense and as “your excellency” in obvious reference to the ambassadorial position, which they had proposed to Mr. President,as part of the plot to ease Oyegun out. Sources claim that Oyegun’s a one way ticket to Sweden,where he will be far removed from the politics of Nigeria had been bought. Oyegun’s crime according to Bola Tinubu and Timi Frank,is his lack of leadership,as evidenced by his “failure to resolve the internal crisis of the party “. The other allegation as articulated by Tinubu is that Oyegun lacks integrity. Atiku on his part hasn’t really been as clear as Tinubu and Frank,as to his grievances,with Oyegun.Atiku is obviously fishing in troubled waters,to help push out an obstacle to his presidential ambition.
The charges against Oyegun are weighty. But unfortunately the events don’t support the allegations.Take the specific case of Kogi and Ondo States.But for the death of Alhaji Audu Abubakar, the then Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) , Oyegun would not have crossed paths with James Faleke and his main sponsor Bola Tinubu.Tinubu holds Oyegun responsible for his failure to gain a foothold in the North. The other man equally as guilty as Oyegun in the “travails” of Tinubu is Abubakar Malami ,the Attorney General of the Federation,who has been throughly thrashed by the famed Lion of Bourdilion.Malami’s crime was that his legal advice denied James Faleke ,from becoming the Governor of Kogi State.
But while all kinds of conspiracy theories are being bandied about ,not many people have bothered to read the position of the law,which thankfully the law courts from the tribunal to the Supreme Court have eloquently spoken in support of the tricky road the party and the Independent Electoral Commission adopted in resolving a unique situation.Again as in the Kogi State case ,Tinubu had preference for Abraham as the flag bearer of the APC for Ondo State.He had every right to.But his candidate was trounced by Rotimi Akeredolu,a man that he Tinubu had in 2012 “awarded” the Action Congress of Nigeria ticket to. In the murky world of politics,only God knows Akeredolu’s crime,that made him a political leper.
In his widely publicized statement,Tinubu claimed the National Working Committee(NWC), voted for fresh primaries.A claim the party strongly refuted. The two critical issues remain that to date,nobody has showed proof of those who ought to vote, who didn’t vote or of those who shouldn’t have voted,but voted. Thursday 22nd September, 2016,the day the NWC was meeting, was also the final day for submission of candidates by political parties. The implication was that if for any reason a fresh primary was indeed needed, and was in fact conducted ,the APC would have automatically shot itself in the foot,as the party would have technically knocked itself out of the race.Was that a preferable course of option to Tinubu?There was need for political brinkmanship. But this word is absent from the lexicon of the average Nigerian politician.
The question that continues to agitate Nigerians,is the lack of political skills by the average Nigerian politician. Why is it so difficult to resolve political issues politically? How can Oyegun be solely blamed for all the problems of the APC? Is Oyegun to be blamed for the continued quarrel between Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ganduji.Even after sending fact finding teams to Kano State to “resolve” the issues?Is Oyegun also to be held responsible for the brewing crisis in Adamawa State,where a governor has said it is either Atiku for 2019 or nobody?Politics ís the act of agreeing to disagree, but in Nigeria it is agreeing to destroy. Today,the national legal officer of the PDP has lost track of the cases in various courts,the same part,that those pushing for Chief Oyegun’s removal are pushing the party to.
Those opposed to Oyegun want President Muhammadu Buhari (the Super Man) to intervene in the crisis of confidence rocking the party. They want him to become like Obasanjo.They argue that the only reason they want to hijack the party is to save it from collapse before 2019. That if the party is left in the hands of Oyegun, it would be bye-bye to APC in 2019. The signs are there,that by 2019,the APC would have been factionalized beyond recognition. But it won’t be because of Oyegun.The fate of the APC is not in the hands of Oyegun alone. Yes,as party leader he has the moral duty of providing direction – a wealth of experience that he possess in quantum. But what do you do with party members like Tinubu that insist the party must be run on their dictates? The greatest undoing of the PDP was its impunity ,and the APC is beginning to manifest those tendencies that sent the PDP to the intensive care unit. It’s obvious that the governors from their meeting with the President,will henceforth determine who gets what and on what terms.Their next move will be to “impose” a national chairman. And like the irrepressible Fela would say everything ” go scatter”.
Lets admit that APC is in crisis,but without conceding. The question is what led to the crisis? Has it got to do with implementation of party policies?Unfortunately the crisis is about the next election.The APC is surely facing trying times – an economy in recession, and failure of the federal government to dispense patronage to those who “laboured ” for the party, hasn’t helped. All stakeholders must join hands to build a strong APC. We need a strong party,disciplined and focused in delivering and a strong alternative in the event the party in power,begins to take the people for granted like the APC is currently doing.