The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been marred by series of internal crisis since it attained power at the centre in 2015. The crisis which has been a distraction for the Government, if not contained, might hinder the party’s chances in future elections and affect Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
APC was formed in 2013 following the successful merger of four opposition parties. The parties are the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressives Change, All Nigeria Peoples Party and a section of the All progressives Grand Alliance.
Intra-party crises date back to June 2015, when the 8th Assembly was being inaugurated as the APC senators could not reach an agreement as to who will lead them in the National Assembly. Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives on June 9, against the wishes of the leadership of the APC, who had earlier nominated Ahmed Lawan, a senator from Yobe State and George Akume from Benue State, as its choices for the positions of Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
Hon. Yakubu Dogara representing Bauchi State also emerged speaker of the House of Representatives, defeating the preferred Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila from Lagos State.
PDP law makers who occupy the minority position in the 8th Assembly ensured the wishes of the leadership of APC did not come to pass by supporting Senator Saraki and Hon. Dogara’s emergence, which created cracks in the APC Caucus.
President Buhari later expressed readiness to work with the leaders.
The crack grew wider few months later in September 2015 when the Federal government filed corruption charges against the Senate President at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
This aggravated members of the party as they saw the trial as a way of punishing Senator Bukola Seraki who was among the PDP governors that defected to the APC in 2014. Some voiced senate president’s ordeal was capable of tearing the party apart.
Reacting to Saraki’s trial, Abubakar Baraje an ally and a member of APC said, “Most of the distractions were created by APC itself. For instance, the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who heads an important arm of government, is not getting the necessary support from the party because a few people think they are more important than others.”
The Senate President tried in vain to stop the trial at the code of conduct tribunal which has been a major distraction for him and for the National Assembly.
On Monday, June 27, 2016, under Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu, a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, and his deputy, Benedict Efeturi, were arraigned before a federal high court in Abuja on allegation of illegally altering the Senate’s Standing Rule used in electing leaders and inaugurating the upper legislative chamber on June 9, 2015.
With an array of APC Senators lined up to testify against the leadership of the Senate, the APC crises further escalated. Some of the senators include Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central); Senator Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe North); Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice (APC, Ondo North) , Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina South) and Senator Ojudu Babafemi(APC Ekiti Central in the 7th Assembly ).
This development further worsened the APC crisis and it led to senators of the APC confronting one another during the closed door session on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, after which reports emerged of a plot to impeach the President.
The crises have distracted the senate from performing their constitutional function, as members are seeking ways of solving internal party isues.
The APC crises is not only limited to the Federal, a handful of states have also witnessed clashes between elected members of the Party.
In Kaduna the current Governor Nasir el Rufai and the senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, are at logger heads. The senator openly disapproves of el Rufai’s policies.
The Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje is at war with his predecessor, senator Rabiu Kwankwaso who represents Kano State Central, over the control of the party.
APC in Kogi is still divided over the handling of the November 21, 2015 election during which Abubakar Audu’s running mate James Faleke was denied the ticket after he died. The party’s National leadership gave the ticket to Yahaya Bello, who had come second to Mr. Audu in the primary election.
Although the APC leadership has often denied report that the party is riddled with crisis, the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary Mr. Frank insisted there is. In an interview with Premium times in April 2016, he said, “If anybody should tell you there’s no division even at the national level, they’re telling lies. I can tell you there are issues; there are very critical issues.”
Nigeria is currently facing a major economic crisis, with the low price of crude oil coupled with the destruction of oil facilities by militants. What people expect, is for Government at all levels to deliver on their campaign promises.
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