By Madu Onuorah
- If those opposed to President Buhari’s political agenda fail to stop it on Saturday, they can as well kiss goodbye to their Presidential ambitions
Saturday March 26, 2022, the much awaited National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will hold at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
Since June 25. 2020, the ruling party has been governed on interim level following the military-style sacking of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party led by the former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiohmole.
Comrade Oshiohmole, as National Chairman, was clearly a bully and it got to a point every other person in the party could not stomach him. It was actually a swift decision for the leader of the party, President Muhammad Buhari to do away with him and his team.
But sacking Oshiohmole did not bury the intrigue in the party. Instead, it multiplied it as the interim government of the party under the Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mala Mai Buni, struggled to navigate various interests.
The climax of the intrigue and the scheming was last week’s failed coup attempt against the interim regime by some APC Governors led by Kaduna State Governor, Nasiri El-Rufai. The coup saw the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, take over from Governor Buni who travelled for medical checkup abroad.
Governor Bello, as the acting interim leader, was cruising on, making far reaching changes and claiming to be working for President Buhari’s interest. The President in his characteristics style of allowing fighters go all the way until exhausted, had gone to London on medical trip, maybe hoping that the fight will rage well in his back.
The Governors were already divided between the ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ Governors led by Governors Hope Uzodimna of Imo State and Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and the others led by Él-Rufai. The new leaders had summoned emergency the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to give legal endorsement to all they wanted, including but not limited to doing away with Governor Buni as interim leader.
But the coup was truncated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who drew the party’s attention to the legal flaws in their move and their weighty implications. It was at this juncture that they reached a dead end in their hatchet. Following INEC’s necessary intervention, the President decided to distance himself from the coup. He even went further to write the Governors and drew their attention to the danger of fighting on.
As Buni returned, it was clear to him that the anger of reasonable members of the party were on him and he needed to turn a new leaf. He has not been his old arrogant bluff, instead he appeared tamed and willing to build goodwill and carry people along. And when Governor El-Rufai the leader of the rebellion threatened to carry on with the fight if their way does not prevail, he was called to order.
And as the APC Governors met with President Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja, the Commander-in-Chief was clearly in charge. The Governors had limited choice. If they insisted on having their way, the President was ready to excuse himself from it all.
After all, this is a man who has finished his politics after leading his country twice as a military officer and as an elected President in his second term of eight years. Most of the Governors are still aspiring higher and they know that if the President back out, it would be over for APC as a party because of its fragile foundation.
At the end, nobody – pro and anti Buni factions – wanted to challenge the President as he rolled out his consensus agenda.
So, Saturday’s meeting as a Convention will be just to endorse Buhari’s list. If this comes through, the other convention to pick Presidential flag bearer later in the year would have seen a template to follow.
When President Buhari insisted on having consensus arrangement in picking leaders either in party and government leadership in the new Electoral Act, he was unmistaken about absolute use of his power. The situation also turns everything to him as the alpha and omega of choosing his successor.
What is coming out very glaring is that President Buhari is not disposed to sharing his power with anybody. When he said recently that the party has the capacity to tackle its crisis, he knew what was on ground and that with his absolute power, solution to every problem is handy.
Clearly, Buhari is not a pretender to power. He knows the powers at his disposal and is not willing to share it with anybody. Nigeria and APC should pray for a discerning mind for him because his choice is capable of either ruining or lifting the system. If those opposed to the President fails to show it on Saturday, they can as well kiss goodbye to their Presidential ambitions.