by Stanley Azuakola
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has disapproved of what it views as “meddling” by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into its internal affairs. It said that the ruling party overstepped its bounds when it criticised “in the crudest of language for which it is now notorious,” the decision of the ACN’s national leadership “to settle the rift between Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele.”
Let’s do a brief recap.
What the ACN is calling a “settling of rift” wasn’t exactly that. Two days ago at the Ekiti government house, in the presence of party leaders, the national leadership of the party led by Bola Tinubu, its national leader, publicly endorsed Kayode Fayemi for second term and advised Bamidele Opeyemi, a member of the federal house of representatives who has declared interest to run for the office, to perish the thought.
Tinubu said during the meeting that, “If anyone here knows Opeyemi, tell him that Jagaban has sent you to him to drop his ambition. Invite him and appeal to him. We will return later to do official endorsement.”
Another important takeaway from the meeting in Ekiti was that even though the ACN is painting it as a reconciliation meeting, Opeyemi was not invited and so was not present. It’s hard to classify that as “settling of rift.”
The PDP immediately latched on that and criticised its rival for not being democratic in its dealings, saying that Tinubu did not have a right to bar anyone from pursuing his constitutional right.
In the APC’s rebuttal released by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party wondered why the PDP, which was facing huge challenges would use the “time it doesn’t have to dabble into what is strictly the internal affairs of the ACN, an issue that has no bearing on governance at the national level where the PDP has been bumbling.”
Mohammed said the party leadership has no apologies for saying Gov. Fayemi should be allowed to go for a second term because he has performed well, adding that a student who does well deserves promotion.
”This is unlike the situation in the PDP where even a President who has failed woefully, using his own lowered ‘marking scheme’, is being offered an automatic ticket! ACN rewards excellence, not indolence, and we have no apologies for this,” the party said, asking when Mr. Bamidele appointed the PDP as his defender.
The ACN’s reaction would come across as strange to keen observers of the exchanges which usually characterises the relationship between the PDP and ACN. The ACN has released statements in the past criticising the PDP over affairs that are strictly PDP internal matters. A recent example was the statement of condemnation released by the ACN secretariat following the suspension of Gov. Rotimi Amaechi from the ruling party. Apart from the ACN, other parties like the CPC and the ANPP also released statements condemning the PDP leadership for its action against Amaechi at the time.
The ACN gave its own theory on why the PDP is so interested in its internal affairs.
”It seems, however, that what has irked the PDP is that where its own reconciliation efforts have failed woefully, because they were insincere, ACN’s have succeeded, due largely to the discipline in the party and the sincerity of its efforts. After all, we don’t go around suspending or destroying our best performers in the name of ‘reconciliation’,” it said.
Bamidele Opeyemi might have something to say about Mohammed’s claims that the ACN’s reconciliation attempt has worked, as the lawmaker emphasised on Thursday, one day after Fayemi got the endorsement of the party’s leadership, that he is still determined to run for the office of governor come 2014.