APC working to get its groove back

For quite some time, it would appear that the ruling All Progressives Congress APC was tearing dangerously  following the conduct of its wards, local and state governments congresses and the attendant “factionalization” of the party.

Unfortunately, in spite of last-minute efforts to stave off some high-profile defections, the party has recently had to contend with emerging political realities that could affect its chances in the next general elections.

Consequently, the party appears to have outlined some strategies to reposition itself for electoral success. One of such strategies is the dissolution of state executives who emerged from the last congresses courtesy of some bigwigs who have now defected to the opposition.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that the dissolution of the wards, local governments and Kwara state executives of the party which is the first in the series, was meant to send strong signals to other political heavyweights who are on the verge of defecting from the party.

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However,the move was followed with the dissolution of the Cross River Executives. “There were actually petitions from over 24 state chapters of the party in the aftermath of the congresses.

So, what the party is doing is to reconsider those petitions and of course, there is always a window to exploit to edge out those suspected of anti-party activities”, said a top official of the party.

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According to him, the ruling party has stated other means to safeguard its interests in the polity. One of such is the current move to get Senate President Bukola Saraki to resign his position.

It is not just about the likelihood of not having a smooth passage of executive bills or clearance of her nominees that the Senate president is being asked to resign. It is not also about fears of a possible impeachment move on President Muhammadu Buhari.

Checks revealed that some strategists in the ruling party are also concerned about the issue of election sequence, a case which is already a subject of lawsuit. In order to decapitate Saraki, the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has now asked him to resign from office.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, he said since Saraki has left the ruling party, he should leave behind the “crown” that belongs to the APC family. He said: “But whatever is the reason, we can decamp from a party but we can’t decamp from Nigeria.

The only thing is that there are other consequential issues that every man or woman of honour who had taken such decision would be expected to follow through.

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I mean you should not collect a crown that belongs to a family and wear it. It is just a matter of honour to leave the crown in the house that the crown belongs to. As it stands even now, APC is still the largest party in the Senate.

We have 53 senators, that is more than what PDP has, or APGA has.” The Conference of APC Publicity Secretaries CAPS has also added its voice to the calls for Saraki to resign.

“Considering the recent movements of politicians across the different political parties and particularly the defection of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki from APC to PDP, CAPS observes that it is within the rights of Dr. Saraki to choose where to pitch his political tent.

However, CAPS calls on the Senate President to resign from the position immediately. We believe that Dr. Bukola Saraki, as a member of the minority PDP, has lost the moral ground to continue as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, the group said in a statement signed by its chairman, Joe Igbokwe and six zonal coordinators.

The move to get Saraki out is part of a larger move to get at the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who is of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP. The ruling party has never hidden its resolve to assume full control of the Senate, and Saraki was often fingered as the man who frustrated efforts to get Ekweremadu out of the way.

The plan is also to sound a subtle note of warning to Speaker Yakubu Dogara, a product of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party nPDP and who is known to have a running battle with his state governor, Mohammed Abubakar. There have been concerns about the speaker’s political future, with analysts saying that he could soon be on his way out of the ruling party.

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But like the top source at the party secretariat told Saturday Vanguard, the plan is also to avoid a wave of embarrassing Parliamentary Inquisitions into activities of the executive, especially the Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs of government.

“We have not forgotten in a hurry how the House of Representatives under Speaker Waziri Aminu Tambuwal embarrassed the Jonathan administration and helped to condition public opinion against the government in the build up to the last general elections.

What they did was to finance the committees to launch fierce probes of the agencies. It is not like we have anything to hide though, because the PDP still controls some of the agencies, a point that has been made severally by our party”, he stated.

There have been speculations that certain forces are currently working to forcefully reconvene the Senate, an allegation that has been denied by the Presidency.

The denial nonetheless, immediate past Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Comrade Timi Frank told Saturday Vanguard that there were plans to forcefully reconvene the Senate. He however cautioned against any attempt to illegally reconvene the Senate by some APC Senators in collusion with the Presidency.

According to him, no other person is permitted to reconvene any arm of the National Assembly when it is on break except the presiding officers only. He said that reopening the Senate under the guise of considering the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for funds for the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC towards the conduct of the 2019 general elections flies in the face.

Frank said: “Only today (Thursday), the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang was caught on video leading about 10 APC Senators, led by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan to meet with the President and to urge the President to provide them security to enable them forcefully open the doors of the Senate Chambers and conduct an illegal sitting.

“This, if allowed to happen, will not only represent a clear breach of the Constitution but also the height of illegality and impunity in this country.

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The APC Senators are only interested in gaining access to the chambers to carry out a sinister move against the presiding officers of the Senate and not anywhere near considering Mr. President’s fund request for INEC.

“Besides, available records show that INEC has enough funds to commence preparation for the upcoming elections in the 2018 budget even as additional budgetary allocation would be made for the agency in the 2019 budget.

“Let me add that the Senate alone cannot approve funds for INEC without the concurrence of the House of Representatives.

So, the attempt to illegally reopen the Senate by a handful of APC Senators therefore becomes suspect and must not be allowed to happen. “I want to call on President Buhari not to accede to the illegal request of these Senators who are only out to gain undeserved relevance and political patronage in the buildup to the primaries of the party soon.

“I also want Nigerians to be aware of this illegal plot and I call on them to rise to save the institution of the National Assembly which is the only defining characteristic of the nation’s democracy,” he said.`

I am an Electrical Electronic Engineering Student at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri - Nigeria. Best of Luck!

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