…Four governors have left APC for PDP since its ascendancy in 2015
The fight between the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his former political boss, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was taken to another dimension on Friday, when the governor officially decamped from All Progressives Congress (APC) to People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
It is noteworthy that PDP gave a waiver for the governor and his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu to participate in all party’s activities.
The waiver substantiates Obaseki’s defection to the party, as the PDP national chairman, Uche Secondus, disclosed this on his verified Facebook Page that, “The PDP NWC in exercising the power of NEC in accordance with the PDP constitution met and approved the waiver as requested by the ward executive for His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki to participate in all activities of the PDP including voting and be voted for.”
The support will help Obaseki participate in the primaries in June 23, and probably emerge as the PDP governorship candidate.
As commendations and criticisms continually flood this development, one cannot but begin to ask if APC has begun its journey to oblivion. Without mincing words, the ruling party is losing might in the states, as this is obviously going to shake its federal might come 2023, except some redemptive measures are devised.
While it is a norm among political leaders to defect from one party to another without due consultations from loyalists and supporters, it should be in the record that the APC that gained national supremacy in 2015 has performed woefully in managing its internal fracas which had seen its four governors left under the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole. They are Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, former governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, and now Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
In 2018, Samuel Ortom and Aminu Tambuwal, governors of Benue and Sokoto States respectively encountered reckless disparities with the leadership of their former party, All Progressives Congress (APC). Some mechanisms were employed to settle the brawls, but both state leaders could not find common ground to compromise their ideologies, and this underwrote their defection to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) where they got re-elected into their respective offices.
However, the argument is that both Ortom and Tambuwal reiterated their disparities against certain resolutions at the national level which they were not comfortable with. This was what they presented to their loyalists and supporters to gain their massive votes in the gubernatorial elections in 2019.
Still citing the two cases, Ortom categorically lamented after dumping APC for PDP that, “…we had to abandon that platform in search of one that offers more accommodation and support of our policies, especially the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Established Law 2017.” According to Tambuwal after his defection from APC to PDP, “…the nation is, unfortunately, going through the most and precarious times…with ethno-religious and regional distrust at its highest ebb.”
Their arguments were based on the flawed national programmes that adversely affected their states. If that stands, APC national leadership is deficient in handling internal crises costing the defection of its governors.
In a similar occurrence, it was Oshiomhole’s antics engaged to see the APC National Working Committee (NWC) adopting direct primary for upcoming June 22 primaries, as well as the Screening Committee disqualifying Obaseki from participating in the primaries by citing discrepancies his name and certificates. However, it is worrisome to see the efforts to resolve the rifts between the two political gladiators putting abortive.
APC governors led by its Progressives Governors Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu visited both the embattled Adams Oshiomhole and the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu but their efforts yielded only futility.
At this stage, if partisan politics and its features cannot accommodate the spirit of sportsmanship which APC has failed in, then our democracy is porous, and several questions should be asked. Obaseki officially announced dumping APC after visiting President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.
At this juncture, APC should have learnt from its main opposition, the PDP in the journey it took to oblivion after 16 years in control of federal power. In 2013, when PDP endured the poor leadership of Bamanga Tukur, it faced the music of losing five governors under the aegis of G-7 and 37 lawmakers to APC.
It was on this premise among other political strategies that APC capitalised to gain more votes. In one of its meetings to address the issue, former Akwa Ibom State’s Governor, Godswill Akpabio lamented that “Tukur has brought in more problems for the PDP and even the President Goodluck Jonathan is no longer interested in protecting the Chairman.” Can the same not be said of Oshiomhole? It is not negotiable that bad and undemocratic party leadership is cancerous to the survival of the party.
It is imperative for APC to accept that it is dealing with two matters presently. It has to outplay PDP in the gubernatorial poll. It is understandable that the primary election is a dead rubber as another governorship aspirant, Hon. Osaro Obazee has quit the race thereby endorsing Osagie Ize-Iyamu. If Obaseki emerges the PDP governorship flag bearer, the Edo governorship will be between the major contestants of 2016 but both swapping political platforms this time.
Beyond Edo, APC needs to put its house in order. The party’s national stakeholders should converge to salvage what is left if they want to remain in power in 2023. And, this is unrealistic if they persistently anger their governors.
As the Appeal Court has held the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of APC, the death rumours of its acting national chairman, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has already thrown the party into turmoil regardless of the unanimous decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) to appoint APC Vice-Chairman, South-South, Prince Hilliard Eta as the national chairman in an acting capacity.
Oshiomhole’s fate will be finally decided by the Supreme Court, and whichever way it pans out, APC will escape oblivion and thrive politically if the governors currently holding its broom are fairly treated under the democratic principles.