APC chairmanship contest: PDP style?

The reported endorsement of former Edo state governor Adams Oshiomhole for the APC chairmanship in the party’s May 14 Convention by President Muhammadu Buhari, if true, would be PDP style, especially when the incumbent chairman, Chief John Adigie-Oyegun, is running for the post. Under the past regime and the ones that preceded it, the ruling party’s chairman had to be at the beck and call of the President in order to survive in office. And that’s an irony because it is supposed to be the other way round: the party is supposedly supreme. In our brand of democracy, however, it is the tail that often wags the dog. Recall that Audu Ogbeh was said to have been forced to resign as PDP national chairman at gunpoint during the Obasanjo Administration.

Not many analysts had anticipated that the APC would be playing the politics of party chairmanship exactly the way the PDP did. After all, this is a Change regime. But someone says Buhari is finally learning the way politics is played in Nigeria. He wants a party chairman he can work with, and it is said that Oyegun is not type of man.

But what goes round comes round. Often, there are debilitating repercussions with that kind of tinkering. Already, things are not very quiet within the APC. Personally, I foresee some top APC members (including former governors) decamping back to the PDP fold or other parties as a fallout of the Convention and the anti-corruption fight, as well as grouses by those who feel shortchanged and sidelined after contributing to the party’s past successes. A coalition of opposition parties is also a strong possibility. That scenerio is very familiar; it was its type which gave birth to APC itself. The early quitters of APC included Atiku Abubakar.

In spite of that, however, I am yet to see the chance of President Buhari being defeated in the 2019 general elections. No formidable opposition has been built yet as to pose a serious threat at the federal level. But of course some of the APC state governors and National Assembly members are bound to be defeated. Why? Politics is always local and it is at the local level that the opposition to APC leaders is the stiffest. I think many pro-APC voters would feel comfortable retaining Buhari as president while doing away with the governors and NASS they voted in 2015. This time around the “sak” jargon, on which many governors, senators and Reps were elected, will not apply. It is going to be everyone-for-themselves. You bet!

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