The intense horse-trading and ploys witnessed in the just concluded ward, local government and state congresses of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) have left the party more fractured than united. No political party can be crisis-free; especially when in power;internal squabble and scrabble for ‘who gets what’ are normal in political parties and most common in nascent democracies like Nigeria’s.
The parallel party congresses which were witnessed in many states are nothing but the manifestation of various problems in the APC being amplified by the forthcoming 2019 elections. These problems are offshoots of six major issues which are; Governors who want to control everything and everyone; second, ex-governors who want to control incumbent governors; third, second-term governors fighting senators for senate-seat tickets; fourth, senators who want to become governors; fifth, parliamentarians unsure of a return ticket and finally, party faithful and stakeholders who feel sidelined by state government or at the centre.
Looking at the crisis in the APC from political science perspective, the APC is struggling to effectively manage sudden fame and enormous power in the hands of different interests groups with diverse world views. The APC has suddenly become very mighty but with weak respect for party supremacy and control. This is a problem.
As the national convention of the APC approaches, the game in the APC has got messier and personal – thus, the person of President Muhammadu Buhari is needed to put a stop to it.
President Buhari is known not to interfere in party affairs nor interested in controlling party structures, even at his own ward level. This is mixed blessing for the APC. Buhari’s non-interference has entrenched internal democracy in the APC, as a party and at the same time has also created a free-for-all atmosphere where everybody tries to put their personal interest above the party’s.
The results of just concluded congresses have divided the APC into groups purely based on political interests. Despite consisting of individuals with diverse ideologies and from different political backgrounds, harmony amongst members is still possible in the APC. This is achievable through genuine political reconciliation method of ‘give and take’ and a measure of ‘presidential touch’. This will help prevent the eventuality of some of the aggrieved groups moving to other parties, with other groups that stay playing the role of spoilers, especially at the state levels.
President Buhari’s personality is critically needed because, Buhari is a colossus in the APC, and he is one of the foundations in the formation and membership drive of the APC. He is also an undisputable regional force with cult-like followership. If the APC were a plc, Buhari should own at least 55 percent stake. So, as things are now, it appears that Buhari is the only person alive that can resolve the present problem in the APC. With Buhari’s involvement, most of these issues in the APC will be easily surmountable. Some bigwigs and stakeholders just need some ego-massage- a simple apology to them will do the trick, other people need an assurance of tickets for their seats while some individuals need government patronage- contract or appointment.
Buhari’s critical presidential intervention will for sure revive cohesion within the APC as well as reconcile many aggrieved members of the party, though some of the grievances in the APC are normal and seasonal- they are all about 2019 elections.
Zayyad I. Muhammad, Jimeta, Adamawa State