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Published On: Fri, Nov 3rd, 2017

Buhari, APC and the opposition within

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National Council of State has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’sWhen the All Progressives Congress took over power from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), many believed that the era of intra-party wrangling had gone. Apart from the mass appeal attracted to the APC through the personality of its then Presidential candidate and now President, Muhammadu Buhari, the PDP as a political party failed largely because of its inability to manage its political success having been in the saddle for sixteen unbroken years from 1999to 2015.
The constant frictions among members of the PDP led to an implosion which necessitated the exodus of some of the critical members into the APC formed on the tripod of the defunct ACN, ANPP and the CPC. The entrance of the PDP decampees in 2015 changed the calculation and the rest, they say, is history.
But that seems to be the end of good narratives of a cohesive party which went into the general election to rout the incumbent. Since assumption of power, there have been struggles between centrifugal and centripetal forces threatening to tear the fortunes of the party apart. Though politics has been described as a mechanism for conflict and conflict resolution, excessive disagreements and power flexing among critical stakeholders of the party may sound death knell to the APC.
There have been developments in the polity indicating lack of unanimity and synergy. These are not healthy developments as a house divided against itself is bound to fall. There have been series of criticisms against Buhari’s administration from within his homestead and camps, suggesting division in their ranks.
For instance, the Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari once raised the alarm that most of his husband’s appointees were not the known faces who worked for his success at the polls. She lamented that those holding juicy positions were never prominent members of the APC just as he raised the alarm that her husband may have been caged by a dreaded ‘cabal’.
While the official opposition PDP was still hibernating and struggling for oxygen, Mrs. Buhari again, it was who raised the alarm on the rot in the nation’s health system. The Wife of the President had criticized the management of the Aso Clinic, the official medical facility for the President, Vice President and other top government officials and their family members, for not being stocked with drugs.
She alleged that this facility lacked common syringe.
Even though Mrs. Buhari was eulogized for her candor and fearlessness in exposing the rot in the nation’s health sector, political watchers believe that her outburst was necessitated by the possibility of a break down in communication within the echelons of Buhari’s administration. Her decision to go public on such sensitive matter only goes to indicate lack of coordination and communication in government.
A staunch member of the ruling party and a man of no mean stature, considering his closeness to the President, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, recently at the commissioning of Buhari’s Support Organisation (BSO) corroborated Mrs. Buhari position on those appointed into offices by her husband when he alleged that Buhari government was made up of 50 percent of people from the opposition PDP.
Ali, who is also the National Coordinator of the group routing for Buhari’s second term, said this made it impossible for the government to move forward and fulfill its campaign promises to the people.
According to him, those ‘strangers’ in government do not share in the APC and Buhari’s vision and this explains why the government is derailing. Governors on the platform of the ruling party have also protested that most appointees occupying the slots from their states in President’s cabinet were not known to them.
Alleging that 50 percent of appointees in the government are PDP members when some of them are actually card carrying members of the ruling APC only indicated lack of integration in the party. Most members are still loyal to their old parties which collapsed to form the amalgam APC. Referring to top officials as aliens, who never understood the vision and mission of a President they are meant to serve, only raises the fears that the goal set ab-initio may not be attained by the government.
It must however be stressed that the 2015 victory of the APC was made possible by a conglomeration of forces hitherto described as strange political bedfellows. By now, those regarded as strangers ought to have been integrated into the party for it to be able to prosecute the oncoming general elections with a common front.
Belly-aching over who-gets-what by individuals who are supposed to belong to one indivisible political family may not augur well for a party preparing for another shot at power. Such internal bickering helped sealed the coffin of the PDP in 2015.
The President rekindled hope among his party men recently when at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the APC he said he was going to expand his cabinet and fill vacant positions in government parastatals and agencies.
He confessed that the nation’s financial status has improved and as such could afford to engage more people to contribute to the development of the country.
But many believed that for Buhari to make the desired impact ahead of the 2019 general election, he must rejig his cabinet and ensure that those men hungry for accomplishments are given the opportunity to serve. Only few of his cabinet members, as presently constituted, are performing while several others are only ministers in name without much to offer.
Another galling development in Buhari’s administration is the perception of muscle flexing among his senior officials. The refusal of the Senate, where the APC has a clear majority, to clear the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on the strength of an indicting report by the Department of State Services (DSS), also headed by a member of Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, raises the danger of power play and lack of unanimity in the polity.
Also, the reinstatement of the fugitive Abdulrasheed Maina, the Pension reform boss, who was sacked during the vilified administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and declared wanted by the EFCC, even when he was on the anti-graft agency’s wanted list, was also a sour point.
The lack of communication between the DSS and the EFCC in this matter is novel and strange in a government that is furiously fighting corruption.
For some period of time now, Senators on the platform of the APC are obviously playing the roles of the opposition and there is the need for the party leadership to step in and enforce the doctrine of party supremacy. This is not to discountenance the fact that there should be separation of powers and that the National Assembly should be allowed to play her role as a check on the excesses of the executive.
For the President to succeed in his mission and deliver the much desired democratic dividends to the common man, he needs to make his lieutenants and party men exhaust all internal mechanisms for conflict resolution before externalizing their grievances. Allowing opposition within the ruling party is tantamount to repeating the mistake of the PDP which is now nursing the devastating wounds it got from the 2015 electoral defeat. The APC leadership must stop this naked dance of its men in the market place.
she succeeded at for the health of the people, her outburst was generally Lack of unanimity and synergy in the Fight against corruption with Legislative/ executive relations Inter agency rivalries Appointments and allegations of marginalization Customs Boss Buhari’s second term

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