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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been in power for almost a year and there are signs that all is not well within the party which made history last March when it became the first opposition party in Nigeria’s history to defeat a ruling party at the presidential level. From internal wranglings, to lack of funding, to discontent in the land, below are five issues which show that the APC is in trouble.
1. It’s all about the money
The APC is broke. That’s one of the biggest challenges. Unlike the former ruling party that was always awash with cash, the leadership of the APC has been unable to find a sustainable formula to fund its activities and run its operations. This is due to President Muhammadu Buhari’s politics which is averse to footing the party’s bills from government funds.
Even the national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, admitted last month that the party was broke. He said they were working on plans which will be launched in a month or two to raise money from members. A meeting held between the leadership of the ruling party and the president in January ended with the president advising the party to think of ways to fund itself. Buhari does not want the APC to fall into the same ditch which ensnared the PDP when it began to use resources of the nation to fund its activities. But if the party is unable to find a way to raise money soon, it won’t be long before party members begin rumbling in public.
The APC is broke. That’s one of the biggest challenges. Unlike the former ruling party that was always awash with cash, the leadership of the APC has been unable to find a sustainable formula to fund its activities and run its operations.
2. Faster, faster, Mr. President
Another source of disquiet within the ruling party is that Buhari has continued with his snail-like pace in making crucial appointments. Everything about the Buhari administration takes time and the party faithful are getting impatient. The president (in) famously waited six months before inaugurating a cabinet, which then led to the bungling of the budget proposal for 2016, as ministers did not have enough time to settle in and get their priorities right before the budget presentation deadline loomed. It did not take long for Nigerians to begin to dissect the shoddy work done in the budget. The embarrassment which the administration has suffered is a direct effect.
Now, Buhari is continuing to delay in appointing heads of boards of parastatals and federal agencies. Interestingly, the president’s sluggishness seems to be affecting APC state governors as well. Most of them waited until Buhari forwarded his own list to the senate before they sent names of commissioner-nominees to the state assembly. Just like the president, many governors have still not appointed heads of boards and even special advisers. This is a big source of concern for party members. The ‘spoils’ of their March 2015 victory needs to be shared and quickly too.
During the meeting of members of the Rivers APC with the National leadership of the party, they lamented over the fact that board members appointed by former president Goodluck Jonathan still held sway and were using the offices to ”victimise” APC members. Supporters of the party who worked for the party’s victory last year expect to be rewarded, and so far that is not happening. A key point to note is that a presidential committee on the reconstitution of federal government boards headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal, is yet to submit its report.
There are some who argue that the delay by Baba Go Slow (as Buhari is often called) in making the board appointments is because of the infighting within state chapters of the party. However that argument holds little water, as ultimately appointments are discretionary and President Buhari has the final say. If there is one thing he has shown in the last eight months, it is that he is not beholden to anyone.
The president’s sluggishness seems to be affecting APC state governors as well. Most of them waited until Buhari forwarded his own list to the senate before they sent names of commissioner-nominees to the state assembly
3. There’s a rumble in the jungle
Another challenge facing the APC is the internal war among its leading chieftains. All has not been well ever since Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged as senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively. The two men were not the popular choice of the party leadership, President Buhari, and APC national leader, Bola Tinubu. However with deft politicking, romance with the PDP and the support of former vice president Atiku Abubakar and some state governors, they pulled off an upset win.
Read also: Buhari building a sectional economy -Fayose
It was thought initially that Atiku would be announced as the chairman of the party’s board of trustees, but his candidacy has suffered a setback due to his support for Saraki and Dogara. There is now mutual suspicion between the different power centres in the party. The Bola Tinubu camp is believed to favour former interim national chairman of the party, to be named as BOT chairman. As a result of the stalemate, the party has no BOT.
In January, APC chairman, Odigie-Oyegun, was asked why the BOT has still not been constituted, he said, “There is no issue surrounding that. It’s just that there has been so much to do and the president wants to personally participate in it. A date has been scheduled for all organs of the party to meet.”
4. Where’s the common ground?
Another challenge for the party, which is similar to the above is the fact that since July 3, 2015, the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) has not met. At that last meeting, Bola Tinubu, Bisi Akande, and even Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, were absent. They were believed at the time to have stayed away in protest against the election of Saraki and Dogara, who both attended the meeting.
Buhari frittered away a lot of goodwill initially by failing to take some early tough decisions and the government has not shown that it has enough imagination to rescue the economy from the doldrums.
The NEC is supposed to meet every quarter, according to the APC constitution. However no other meeting has held, two quarters later. There are speculations that a meeting of the NEC will hold by the end of the month. It is believed that the stalemate within the party will be resolved at that meeting but it will take a mighty effort from all stakeholders involved to meet at a common ground, or else the party leadership must be ready to pass off one of the warring factions. We await.
5. There is fire on the mountain
The final – and biggest – challenge facing the APC is that the stars do not seem to be aligned in their favour. These are hard economic times: oil prices have crashed, the naira is exchanging in the parallel market at about N330 to a dollar at this moment, and the government has been unable to ramp up quick wins to assure citizens that it understands what it is doing. Buhari frittered away a lot of goodwill initially by failing to take some early tough decisions and the government has not shown that it has enough imagination to rescue the economy from the doldrums.
Of all the challenges the APC faces, this more than any others will determine its fate as a ruling party. If the party has all the money in the world to run its activities, and is at peace with itself, all that will mean nothing, if Nigerians are not happy with it. They will do well to remember that.
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