Less than a week after releasing his presidential campaign council list, Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has come under fire from the leadership and national working committee of the party, who have accused him of going back on the agreement regarding the composition of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).
In a letter purportedly written and signed by the National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to Tinubu who is currently in London, the party accused him of sidelining the National Working Committee (NWC) by dismissing their contribution to the composition of his Presidential Campaign Council. Some governors of the ruling APC have even threatened to sabotage the presidential campaign of their party and its candidate, in their respective states.
It could be recalled that Tinubu had on Friday (23 September, 2022) unveiled a 422-man committee comprising political heavyweights and other notable members to pilot the various sub-committees of the campaign council. In the list, President Muhammadu Buhari retains his position as Chairman of the campaign council; while Tinubu is Deputy Chairman and Abdullahi Adamu is Deputy Chairman II.
Others on the list include Senator Godswill Akpabio (Vice Chairman, South-South); Uju Kennedy Ohanenye (Vice Chairperson, South East); Governor, Abubakar Badaru (Regional Coordinator, North/Jigawa state coordinator); Gov. Dave Umahi ( Regional Coordinator, South/Ebonyi state Coordinator); Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade (Zonal Coordinator, South-South/Rivers state Coordinator), to name a few. However, the list of members released by Secretary of the Presidential Campaign Council, James Faleke, in Abuja, followed a series of postponements and conjectures about those selected.
It is also interesting to note that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (who also contested for the APC ticket) is missing from the list, deepening long-held suspicions of a silent war brewing between him and his one-time political godfather, Tinubu.
Now, for the sake of context, it should be remembered that before the release of this list, the party’s leadership had contacted the governors through the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) secretariat to nominate individuals in their respective states to be members of the presidential campaign council, with each governor reportedly directed to nominate five persons each.
The governors were however stunned to see that Mr Tinubu and the party ignored their nominations and replaced them with others from their respective states without consulting them. Thus, the letter from Adamu declaring that the council membership list was not a true representation of the three-man committee set up to harmonize it.
Why It Matters
Up until this point, The National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, and members of the party have given the impression that they are a united force. Back in May, while fielding questions from journalists on the fears being expressed about the unity of the ruling party, he said the party would remain intact and united after its presidential primary, pointing out that President Buhari had shown that he is in support of a transparent democratic process.
At the time, he was quoted as saying, “we are sure that we will remain united. You know our symbol is the broom, you don’t break it as you go. Nigeria requires commitment, a uniform system, and a stable country and that is the only way we can be very proud of Nigeria.” In fact, earlier this month, Tinubu had called on the APC members not to hurl insults at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) because the rival party which is saddled with a leadership crisis and constant squabbles has no place in Nigeria’s future.
And yet… This latest drama around the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) would suggest that things are not as rosy as they would like it to seem and that storms are brewing in the APC quarters. And with the commencement of the 2023 elections campaigns, this does not bode well for the party. Just yesterday, it was announced that the party would postpone the launch of its presidential campaign indefinitely, further fueling insinuations about an internal crisis.
As we’ve seen, in the case of PDP, the party seems to have been consumed by a crisis much bigger than its leadership from top to bottom, and its chances at the polls have been dented. Similarly, the APC’s internal conflict has not only stalled their campaign, but has the potential to mar it leading up to the elections.
What Happens Next
With just a few months left until the 2023 General Elections, the pressure is on for political parties to put their best foot forward and present a united and competent front for the major electoral battle ahead. This is frankly not the time for internal conflict of any kind (especially with a formidable third force gaining increasing popularity). How can Nigerians trust that a party that cannot resolve its own problems will be able to resolve the challenges of the country? What do these claims of arrogance and autocracy say about Tinubu as a leader and possible future President?
Of course, we are used to the usual drama, the exaggerated allegations and counter-allegations among our politicians. After all, politics is a competitive game in which politicians legitimately indulge themselves in misinformation, disinformation and outright lies to score points with the public. Nigerians are not naïve enough to expect our politicians to always play by the rules or behave themselves. But what is at stake in the forthcoming general elections is much more than winning or claiming power. Nigerians need leaders who are focused on the task at hand: resuscitating the country. The fate of our nation is tied up with these elections.
In the most recent updates, The All Progressives Congress has distanced its Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, from the open letter he allegedly penned to the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu. The ruling party maintained that the letter did not emanate from its chairman and was not signed by Adamu. The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, debunked the letter in a statement made available to journalists today.
“We will not be distracted by the wishes and actions of detractors that wait gleefully but in vain for some kind of crisis to erupt between the Party and the PCC. We stand united, as a Party, in our resolve and commitment to execute a focused and issue-driven campaign to persuade Nigerians to renew our mandate in next year’s general election,” the statement read.
Despite this, it seems that there are cracks in the APC chambers, and citizens will be interested to see how the party bounces back, and what else will rise to the surface in the days to come.