The All Progressives Congress (APC) is currently like a house divided against itself. As a new election cycle draws ever closer, the various power centers in the party are locked in proxy battles with each other.
Evidence 1: It started a few weeks ago with the bombshell by the minister of women affairs, Aisha Alhassan, that her “godfather”, former vice president Atiku Abubakar will emerge as Nigeria’s next president in 2019. She said if Pres. Muhammadu Buhari decides to throw his hat into the ring, she would resign from the cabinet and throw her weight behind Atiku. Shortly afterwards, two things happened:
- The Atiku bloc rose stoutly in her defence. Atiku called her a bold patriot and said that the APC was made up of different blocs and people were entitled to be loyal to their various blocs. Since then, several opinion pieces defending her have also been released from Atiku’s formidable media operation.
- The Buhari bloc condemned Alhassan, with some calling for her resignation. Kaduna Gov. Nasir El-Rufai said Alhassan had never believed in the president’s ideology and was only a minister because of Buhari’s magnanimity.
Evidence 2: The governors of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, and Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu, are both members of the APC. But they do not see eye to eye. In the build up to the governorship election in Ondo last year, Akeredolu got the backing of the Buhari bloc of the party. The senate president Bukola Saraki also backed Akeredolu. However, the supposed leader of the APC in the South West, Bola Tinubu, endorsed Segun Abraham who was roundly defeated by Akeredolu.
- Tinubu never campaigned for Akeredolu in the buildup to the polls.
- Gov. Aregbesola, who is a loyal member of the Tinubu bloc also did not support Akeredolu. He reportedly backed and funded the candidacy of Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the election following Abraham’s defeat. Akeredolu eventually emerged winner but he has not forgotten Aregbesola’s actions.
- Last week, a commissioner in Aregbesola’s cabinet, Bola Ilori, who was director general of the Olusola Oke campaign in Ondo last year visited Ondo state and was beaten by thugs. Ilori believes that the thugs were sent by the Ondo government. That violent act meted on Ilori has led to a war of words between the two state governments. You can read our report on that escalating situation HERE.
Evidence 3: Prof. Itse Sagay is an appointee of Pres, Buhari. He heads the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-corruption (PACAC). Sagay has stepped on many toes both within and outside the APC as a result of his role. In a recent interview, he took on the leadership of the APC itself, calling them “the most unprincipled group of people” who are “encouraging and accepting rogues” in the party. He said: “When I say ‘rogues’, I don’t mean stealing. In literature, when you say someone is a rogue elephant, it means people who are running riot and destroying the party.”
- The party has now responded to Sagay, saying he is the real rogue elephant, “who feels accountable only to his own ego; who does not feel the need to bridle his tongue for the sake of anything that is higher than himself; who feels independent of everyone and every institution.”
- The party said that “it is impossible for him to call out the leadership of the party as ‘weak’ and ‘unprincipled’ without indicting the President, who is the leader of the party and has the fundamental responsibility to build the party. If Sagay had any iota of respect for the man who dug him back from inevitable oblivion and puts him in a position in which he now feels superior to everyone, he would channel his opinions and advice to the President on how to make the party stronger and more principled.”
- Read the last paragraph again – you will notice a subtle dig at the president hidden in there.
- The statement was signed by Bolaji Abdullahi, a former commissioner of information under ex-Kwara Gov. Bukola Saraki; a former minister nominated in the Jonathan cabinet by Saraki; and a man who resigned from the cabinet following Saraki’s decision to dump the PDP.
Interesting days ahead.