By Edet Eyo Bassey
A couple of months ago, the APC Caretaker/Extra Ordinary National Convention Committee (CENCPC) was born as a child of necessity. As we look back in retrospect, there are many reasons to give each other a pat on the back and thank Mr. President and leader of our great Party for the master stroke that birthed HE, Governor Buni’s CENCPC. Gone are those rancorous days and free for all proclamations; now replaced by calmness deserving of a ruling party with officials engaged in constructive thinking to rebuild and consolidate on the gains of the party.
Let me through this medium commend and thank HE, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and his committee, APC, CENCPC for the remarkable and progressive manner he has set about attaining its objectives. In a gradual but steady fashion consistent with its terms of reference the committee has set the ball rolling and already scoring successes in reconciling and wooing back to the party hitherto aggrieved members. The return of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker, House of Representative is a plus and big boost to the Party in Bauchi state.
Besides Hon. Dogara eminent members of the party across the country who left the party in anger are returning in droves. This is no doubt sequel to fresh hopes and new vistas offered by the reconcilliatry effort of Governor Buni led committee. The fresh hope of a bright future for the party has also provoked series of defections from other political parties to APC. For instance, the defection from APGA to APC by Mr. Alex Otti, a towering political figure from Abia state has added value and provided further impetus for the quest by APC to over-run Abia state in 2023.
While contending with administrative matters, in addition to preparing the party for participation in a series of by- elections proposed by INEC, the CENCPC is equally focused on scoring high in the reconcilliation of members engaged in intra-party feuds in state chapters across the country. States such as Edo, Ondo, Ogun, Imo, Zamfara, Rivers etc have endured prolonged intra-party crisis. Interestingly, the committee recently brokered a truce in Cross River chapter that had been plagued with leadership squabble. An Ag. State Chairman of the Party, Senator Mathew Mbu endorsed by all sides was recently inaugurated by the Ag. National Chairman of the Party at the party office in Abuja.
Oftentimes, intra-party crisis stem from disagreement over divergent opinion cum interests by party leaders which if and when not promptly addressed results to fractionalization of the party. Party leaders of diverse description are usually responsible for such conflicts. The conflicts rare their heads when influential leaders with considerable followership insist on securing advantage and preserving their interest but are rebuffed by opposing interests. Therein, lies the root of conflicts in most chapters of the party. It is therefore pertinent that the comittees focuses on leaders with such tendencies in states embroiled in conflict as did in Cross Rivers state.
It was exhilarating yesterday, when Governor Buni broke the news that former governors of Rivers and Bayelsa states, HE, Rotimi Amechi and HE, Timipre Silva, both party stalwarts and Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been reconciled with each other after a prolonged political disagreement. One maybe curious at what could constitute or provoke their differences; both not coming from the same state. Interestingly, both are from the South-South region; a region that holds the wealth of the nation and of great importance and interest to government. As the ruling party, APC needs the South-South states. It is important that governments and Governors of the South-South region align with the centre and work in tandem with Mr. President for obvious reasons. But for Edo (now at risk) all other South-South states are controlled by the PDP. This is not good enough for APC.
No doubt, the lapses or gaps that APC has suffered in the South-South maybe ocassioned by irreconcilable differences of party leaders in the zone. The peace brokered between Governors Rotimi Amechi and Timipre Silva is a huge accomplishment for the Buni led committee. Now, having two strong Party leaders in Rivers and Bayelsa work in synergy with other leaders of the Party in Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Delta states offers a glimpse of hope for APC in the South-South zone come 2023.
The committee must be commended for the successes it has recorded so far. There are indications that the committee may request for extension of time to complete its assignment. This is worth consideration by leadership of the party because it takes patience and diligence to reconcile feuding personalities.
Further on the anticipated extention of time, it is equally important to put into contemplation the outcome of the results of the election in Edo and Ondo states which the committee will necessarily have to deal with. It is obvious that any such activity will interface and possibly disrupt the timely delivery of the scheduled programme of the committee. It is always better to think ahead and anticipate challenges than be taken unaware.
Finally, it is distressing that despite the appeal made by Mr. President and leader of the Party for members to withdraw pending litigations in court, many have remained adamant and poised for combat. This is not only disobedient to President Buhari but an untoward behaviour inimical to the future and positive posture of APC. I was alarmed when I heard in the news of a certain APC Chairman in Abia state who was reported to have secured an order of an Abuja High court for substituted service on the Ag. National Chairman of the Party over a pending litigation. This is not only intolerable but unacceptable. It is time for the party to wield the big stick if it must move forward.
Edet Eyo Bassey (Esq ) is a former State Publicity Secretary of APC, Akwa Ibom chapter and writes from Uyo.