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Former APC House members write Buhari, urge emergency NEC meeting, constitution of national caretaker committee

The All Progressives Congress (APC) former Members of the House of Representatives Forum has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, warning that the crisis currently engulfing the Party has “the potential of decimating it and thus making it possible to lose future elections in the country.”

Stating that APC as a conglomerate of some defunct political parties and interest groups, is yet to fuse into a single united party, the forum called for the convocation of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party that will “uphold constitutionalism in the midst of chaos and deep polarization of the members of the NWC.”

The NEC meeting, they said, must discuss possible dissolution and appointment of an APC caretaker committee to organize a special national convention to elect new national officers within 12 weeks. The caretaker committee, should also overhaul, recalibrate and reposition the party to face the challenges of future elections.

They also said the caretaker committee “must be all inclusive and reflective of all interests and tendencies within the party as well as possess the desired competence, experience, impartiality and integrity. The composition may consist of all former Chairmen of National Political Parties who are now members of the APC, and other accomplished and evidently neutral persons; The Chairman who may emerge from the South-South zone must never be seen to be controversial and shall enjoy the goodwill of a wide spectrum of tendencies.”

In a letter to President Buhari dated June 24, 2020 with title: ‘NATIONAL CRISIS BEDEVILING THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC): THE WAY FORWARD,’ the forum noted that the crisis in the party is fueled by the struggle for the 2023 (Presidential) political project that debuted “too early.”

The forum lamented that it is “being cultivated and nurtured by greedy political mercenaries for their selfish profit to exploit unsuspecting interested players.”

According to the letter, “The irrepressible factional crisis in the Edo state chapter of the APC, which has resulted in the suspension of the National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomole from the party, and the subsequent disqualification of Governor Godwin Obaseki from participating in the Party Primary contest, has predictably snowballed into a leadership crisis at the National level.”

The letter was copied to the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives and chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and signed by Honourables Usman Balkore Mohammed, Isa Ibrahim Bio, Chidi Duru, Engr. Janet Adeyemi Hedssteanee, Dr. Shuaibu H. Abdullahi, Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa, Hassan Jonga, Ibrahim Zailani, Idris Yahuza Yakubu, Lumumba Adeh, Bala Bawa Ka’oje, Alex Nwofe and Chidi Nwogu.

According to them, “undoubtedly, the APC is currently embroiled in an internal crisis of leadership tussle, and this has engendered fears among concerned party members nationwide about its possible disintegration if urgent, and effective measures are not taken. The conflicts have tested the party’s grit and ability to manage intra-party squabbles and disputes. Many are of the view that the major factors responsible for the present turmoil in the party are leadership deficit and lack of respect for its own internal processes and Constitution.

“Apparently, the party is held hostage by a tactless, pliant and indifferent leadership bereft of skills which portrayed its intolerant disposition to accommodate divergent views and dissenting opinions within the party. It is also characterized by ineffectual and docile internal disputes resolution mechanism, that is scornful of expressed democratic opinions. The party is thus, unarguably divided between the conformists in support of the status quo, and those whom they wrongly view as dissidents, which molded the perception of a struggle for the 2023 political project that debuted the party too early. The 2023 project is being cultivated and nurtured by greedy political mercenaries for their selfish profit to exploit unsuspecting interested players.”

The forum of former House members regretted that there is “long-drawn political manoeuvre and rivalries to take advantage of the party’s leadership composition to make it amendable in the service of future political ambitions. Secondly, is the revealed inability of the party leadership to manage and accommodate dissenting opinions within it ranks, which has created chaos and disorder leading to needless suspensions, avoidable court actions and various acts of indiscipline and disharmony.

“Thirdly, the governing party- APC, is also grossly disrespectful of its own laws and constitution which prescribes the interrelated functioning of all organs of the party according to certain mandatory roles to accomplish tasks. Presently, the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party is yet to be inaugurated six years after the party formation, and only three National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings had ever been convened since the inception of the party, in clear contravention of the constitutionally provided quarterly NEC meetings.

“Thus, it is safe to argue that the party is being administered and run against the grain of the rule of law and left to the whims and caprices of the leadership through the National Working Committee (NWC), which has serially substituted other relevant organs. This attitude has culminated into the undemocratic conduct of the part of the NWC, and prodded up the legitimate resistance from other members of the party.

“Fourthly, and arising from the three misdemeanors above, the party’s internal conflict resolution mechanisms are either weak and untrustworthy or disrespected and disregarded by aggrieved persons. The party is also legendary for its nonchalance towards timely intervention and resolution of internal party squabbles and, more often than not, the leadership is seen as biased or accentuating crises with its lukewarm or combative postures to contain any brewing imbroglio and squabbles.”

In addition, they noted that “a major source of friction in the APC is the glaring undemocratic usurpation of the powers of NEC, Party Caucuses, National Convention and the BOT which rendered them inoperative and comatose, while their powers were being exercised in breach by the NWC. This scenario is viewed by many as deliberate, reckless, indefensible, and unparalleled in the history of party politics in Nigeria. The roles and functions of these organs are clearly spelt out in the party’s constitution, but trampled upon for subterranean political purposes which robbed the party the opportunity to periodically review, update and ratify its actions in between.”

The group therefore stated that the “by  the combined actions and inaction of the current leadership,” it has lost any moral pedestal to superintend the affairs of the party for its failings to abide by the grundnorm and internal processes of the party. The flagrant misconducts of the current party leadership is curious, unacceptable and incurable.

“There is absence of synergy, coordination and communication across the various layers and organs of the party. As party members and leaders, we pick information from the party concerning the internal issues of our party from social media and other news portals. There is near complete disconnection between party officials from ward levels to the national, which renders the national leadership susceptible to manipulation and intrigues since nature abhors a vacuum.”

The forum said that “if the foregoing suggested solutions are adopted and implemented diligently, they will restore the glory of our party. Needless to say that progressive-minded Nigerians still have strong faith and trust in the APC, but the party must never allow its lingering leadership tussle and unhealthy rivalries erode that confidence.”

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