By Mamman Mohammed
For Nigeria’s ruling political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the pivotal decision taken to dissolve its National Working Committee to salvage the party from annihilation has now proved to be the best option, and a turning point in its resurrection .
The copious wisdom and foresight of the National Executive committee in dissolving the Adams Oshiomoleh led executive council, and the meticulous excursion in search for credible and widely acceptable members to serve on the Caretaker and National convention committee was apt, timely and evidently fruitful.
To most stakeholders, the nomination of Yobe state Governor, Mai Mala Buni as chairman of the caretaker committee was quite appropriate, deserving and befitting. Others who were privy to his outstanding managerial skills when he served as National Secretary of the party, said his appointment would clear the snister coated storm that had bedevilled the party for quite some time.
His personal attributes of humility, tolerance and quintessential ability to accommodate dissenting opinions, unarguably placed him as the best choice to wriggle the party out of the abyss of deadly confusion it found itself.
At the time when the committee came on board, the party was already overwhelmed with multifarious litigations challenging one action or the other taken by the then leadership of the party. The quest for a remedy became not only important but also urgently imperative.
To some doubting Thomases, the task of rebuilding APC was far beyond the Buni committee. This school of thought predicted the emergence of a fresh internal crisis and a looming total disintegration awaiting the party. In fact, for the opposition parties, it was a moment of celebration as the crisis was seen as an end of the road for the APC.
However, the tenacity with which the Buni led committee advanced the cause of true reconciliation and reconstruction of the party, breathed a new fresh air of hope upon the party chieftains, members and supporters.
The people’s trust in the Caretaker committee and the new hope, encouraged all stakeholders including feuding parties to avail themselves for consultations and true reconciliation. Suddenly, the celebrations by the opposition parties over an anticipated untimely death of APC eased out.
From Ila Oragun in Osun state to Lagos, from Bauchi to Imo, from Taraba to Oyo and Bayelsa to Zamfara, the committee recorded unprecedented success in bringing hitherto estranged members to reconcile their political differences in the interest of the party.
The visit to Chief Bisi Akande, a founding member of the party at his Ila Orangun country home in Osun state, marked the begining of the succesful path to reclaiming the party’s dwindling fortunes and glory.
Chief Akande was highly elated seeing the party coming back to life. He declared, “there is now a great hope for APC from what l have seen in this committee. The party will certainly bounce back to life and much stronger. I will continue to leave myself open to the committee and also call on other stakeholders to support the promising committee to rescue the party.”
Similarly, the committee’s visit to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, popularly referred to as National Leader, at his Bourdillon Lagos home, has been described as a major political score point in reconstructing the party.
There was no hide and seek game between Tinubu and the committee as envisaged by some political pundits. In spite of the short notice, Tinubu waited for the committee and, the duo had fruitful discussions. These put to rest the fear of major stakeholders not coming forth for a genuine reconciliation and reconstruction of the party.
Exactly one month after the constitution of the Buni led Caretaker committee, the party recorded its first major catch in the former Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara who dumped PDP and returned to the APC, leaving the PDP in utter shock and disbelief.
It was momentous when President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday 24th July, personally received Dogara back to the APC. He was accompanied by Governor Mai Mala Buni to the Villa and officially accorded a heroic welcome back by Buhari himself.
Dogara had since his return along with thousands of supporters in and outside Bauchi state, taken up the role of preparing grounds for other members of the House of Representatives to return to APC. Dogara recently led Honorables Hermen Hembe (Benue), Danjuma Usman Shiddi (Taraba), Sam Inuigbo (Imo) to meet the Caretaker committee chairman at his Abuja residence.
Similarly, members of the Bauchi state House of assembly visited Buni to assure him that, the new initiative by the committee has afforded them the opportunity to come together to build a united and strong APC just as the former Governor of the state Mohammed Abubakar also catched on the opportunity provided by the Buni committee to reconcile his political differences with other stakeholders in Bauchi state.
The successful flagg-off of the Edo state governorship campaign, which recorded tremendous success was attributed to the hard work of the Ganduje led National campaign committee constituted by the Caretaker committee.
The party’s fortune is equally changing in Taraba state. Hon. Ibrahim El-Sudi, chairman APC Taraba state, has in recent times led prominent politicians in a meeting with Governor Buni, expressing their readiness to move to APC.
For prominent sons of the state like Engr. Danladi Kifasi, former Head of Service of the federation who were hitherto on the fence, the coast is now clear to join and identify with the APC under the Buni leadership.
From Imo, many political stalwarts had conteneously met with the caretaker chairman also indicating their preparedness to join the APC. They expressed satisfaction with the principle of equal opportunities practically exhibited by the committee.
Senator Rochas Okorocha and Uche Nwosu were also with the chairman assuring him of their support and commitment to build a strong and united APC.
The 11th August meeting between Buni and state chairmen of the party, was very heart warming as the state chairmen cherrfully reeled out lists of prominent politicians in their states who had earlier left the party and now making moves to return, and new ones too willing and eager to join the party.
Having recorded such monumental achievements in six weeks out of the six months lifespan of the committee, it is evidently clear that, the committee is truly on the path of sustainable success for the rebirth of a new, united, stronger and reliable APC that will continue to be Nigeria’s leading political party.
The President who expressed satisfaction with the work of the Caretaker committee, described Governor Buni as “highly mobile in the renewed drive towards coordinating and strengthening the governing party.” For APC, it is indeed a new begining with the Buni led Caretaker committee. As people of wisdom say, we should not be great to begin, we should rather begin to be great. Ushering the APC on the path of all inclusive sustainable greatness is indeed a task Mai Mala Buni is poised to achieve with trust in God, and an irrevocable commitment.
Mamman is the Director General Press and Media Affairs to Governor Mai Mala Buni.