The leadership of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) recently endorsed Ahmed Lawan for senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila for speaker of the House of Representatives, and now the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu, has given two options to those with contrary opinions – accept the party’s position or leave the party.
Speaking at a prayer programme in Lagos organized by Islamic and Christian clerics to celebrate the APC’s win, Tinubu emphasised the importance of party discipline. The party will apply “the whip” to erring members, he said.
- “We were a little careless in 2015. We created the opportunity for serpents to get into our party and that did not allow Nigeria to make the desired progress.”
- “We are not going to allow that to happen again. We are going to respect our party and we are going to apply the whip,” he said.
Addressing recent statements from APC lawmakers like Senator Ali Ndume, who called out the party for attempting to impose its preferred choice on senators, Tinubu was uncompromising.
- “It is either you stay with us or you follow us or you leave. You have the freedom to choose but the freedom does not allow you as a minority to go and collaborate and protrude our mandate given to you to another party who was our opposition and who is still our opposition.”
Tinubu also echoed the promise of the party’s chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, on ensuring fair distribution of positions among the zones. “We look at our reward system equally, zone by zone,” he said.
Bottom Line: Tinubu, Oshiomhole and other members of the APC leadership would be hoping that their words carry a heftier weight this time than in 2015. Back then, the party issued several threats and promised to use its whip, but it failed to shake lawmakers who defied the party and defeated its preferred candidates in both the senate and House of Representatives.