The fight for future of APC reach critical point…as search for chairman intensifies
By Victoria Ayuwei, Per Second News
Now that the ruling APC party has been cast into the political wilderness by President Muhammadu Buhari, they will have to rebuild and mend fence. Their first order of business is choosing a new leader: chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
There are growing anxieties and fears in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the forthcoming elective national convention, in June this year, where a new national chair and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) will emerge.
The planned convention is coming on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s annulment of the decision by the NEC, at its last meeting in Abuja, to extend its tenure till June 2019.
Buhari said that the decision was against the provisions of APC’s constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The president’s position has thrown those who had committed to benefit from the illegality, especially the embattled national chair, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and those seeking elective public offices, into a quandary.
But some groups in the APC have launched a search for a new national chairman that will replace Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, whom they say is a party to the leadership crisis in the party.
Critical stakeholders in the party are said to be searching for someone whose candidature will serve as a rallying point for the vast majority of the party leaders and members.
However, while former governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, according to multiple sources in the party is gearing up to throw his hat in the ring, his candidature, as feared, could be imperiled on two flanks.
The first, as learnt, is the fact that he is from the same state with the incumbent, Odigie-Oyegun and an attempt to seek the office may be interpreted as a manifestation of treachery that had underlined relationship between them even while Oshiomhole was in the saddle.
The second, according to a source, is the perceived stubbornness, independent-mindedness and temperamental nature of Oshiomhole that could pitch him against the establishment and those that enthrone him.
There are, however, further indications that a search for a consensus candidate in the south-south zone to which the national chairmanship position had been zoned, is on.
But an even broader, more vicious factional scramble may be looming, Per Second News gathered.
This fight promises to be nasty and to embroil the party, too early, in a fight over leaders.
“But we don’t have to have that fight right now, said a party chieftain from the North Central.
A group of high profile and establishment figures is moving swiftly to nip such a tussle in the bud by coalescing around former governor of Cross River state, Clement Ebri, who has not formally announced his bid.
“ Ebri is an ideal choice, right under our noses, who could unite the party across its broad spectrum, who could speak to elites and party stalwarts across board, whose popularity across all the APC demographics is sky-high, said the North Central party leader, speaking under the condition of anonymity.
Ebri was governor of Cross River state on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) from 1992 to 1993. In 1999, he contested the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) primaries for the state governorship ticket and came second in the exercise. He left the ANPP in 2006.
He joined the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) and became the national chair from 2008 to 2009 when he resigned after the former PPA governor in Imo state, Ikedi Ohakim, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ebri is a chieftain of the APC in Cross River state.
It was learnt that some few individuals are also being considered, but that at the end of the day, what would determine who gets the nod will be a combination of his political antecedents and the final say of President Buhari who, as learnt, wants to install his own national chairman that will give him complete loyalty.
With his background and record, Clement Ebri seems perfectly positioned to make this argument and reunite warring factions.
And much of the APC leadership seems to agree.
Whoever prevails will have an unusual opportunity and a large burden.
What distinguishes Clement Ebri is his experience as a progressive who has won and won and won again—and who knows that the APC can turn PDP states into APC zones by transforming their party into a movement.