For quite some time, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been in crisis at the national and across many states in the country with factions emerging here and there almost tearing the party apart.
As fallout, some persons like the then National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his entire executive were casualties. Thus against this background, President Muhammadu Buhari and other top leaders of the party rallied round and named a nine man Interim Management Committee (IMC) with the governor of Yobe State, Mallam Mai Bala Buni as the Chairman. The main mandate of the IMC was to resolve all crises at the national and state levels then put the party back on track.
But given recent developments, it is like the IMC is creating more problems than resolving them. For instance, the IMC declared that it has resolved the entire crisis in the states and announced the process of commencing registration exercise of members nationwide. But their performance seems not to go down well with some top members of the party. Recently, some persons went to the Federal High Court, Abuja and Justice Taiwo Taiwo on November 16 was reported to have restrained the IMC from embarking on the registration exercise which is seen as a strategy to disenfranchise some persons and hijack the party. But the IMC through its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena was quoted to have denied the existence of such an order saying, “upon our findings, we discovered that such court order was never granted by the court.”
In view of this, former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Clement Ebri, a ranking member of the party and one of the likely candidates for the party’s National Chairmanship position, in a phone interview opened up on some of these issues and warned that if the proper thing was not done, disintegration of APC could be imminent.
“I am suggesting that whatever registration or exercise they are doing, they should be transparent. They should do it in such a way that all stakeholders are involved. The fear of certain persons is that this thing will be hijacked by certain forces for their 2023 ambition and that will tear the party further apart. But if they come up and do it in a transparent manner and ensure that all the major stakeholders agree and accept the modalities for implementation, it will be successful. If that does not happen it will break and completely destroy the party in the country and that is the last thing we want to happen at this time especially when we do not have somebody like the president running again.”
Ebri is emphantic that only transparent conduct of affairs of the party can stir it away from crisis that may even engulf the country. “There are some few governors that have an agenda and they are trying to foist it. For them, APC is all about governors. That is why you do not find them encouraging any elder statesman from the South South, they must kick all of us out. They just do these things to spite people, but I can tell you that will be the end of APC. I want to make them understand that for them to run the party and for it to be successful, they must be transparent.
“The people at the leadership should find a way to fund the party because uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. If all these things are done, the registration is going to be a very successful one but for now I think that there is need to tidy up some few areas. We cannot afford to get this one wrong we must get it right. All partisan interest must be put aside and the survival of the party should be of utmost importance at this time and not individual interest.”
Since funding has remained big challenge to most political parties, Ebri advised the IMC to come up with a funding formular for all the organs of the party to function. He remarked: “Most of the organs do not function. It is only the national that has the resources and these resources do not trickle down to the people.
“We have no resources at the wards, in the chapters and nothing in the states. Look at Cross River for instance, somebody told me that for 13 months they have not paid salary. This is the situation everywhere except at national level.
“No matter how small they should give something just as how it is done in the Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC), no matter how small. The states, Local Governments, Wards will have something no matter how small.”
The former Cross River State governor noted that anybody in the party’s leadership should find a way to ensure that the organs function, stressing, “We should not depend on candidates or aspirants, because they will not be there all the time, but for just a period.”
“So, as they are doing this which is even a priority than registration, it will be okay, because if money trickles down they can even be doing the registration on their own.
“Even though resources are limited, the leadership of the party at the national level at a point should be able to have the capacity to make a bite out of the crumb,” he declared.
On the claims by the IMC that it has reconciled all factions and settled the crises in the party across affected states, Ebri said: “In the course of the reconciliation, it is not sufficient, I advise them to go out to the various states and meet a wider group of people, especially the stakeholders and discuss with them to reconcile the crisis.
“It should not be taking a few people to Abuja and come back to say they have resolved. They should come out with a timetable for the various states known to everybody and let people that have grievances come there and let them resolve them in their various states, instead of taking few people to Abuja, because many people can not afford to travel to Abuja.
“So if they are ready for reconciliation they should move out to the states physically and they should expand the committee to bring in credible Nigerians who will also assist, not just the IMC.”
Is there a reward mechanism to recognise loyal members, particularly foundation party people? Answering, the APC chieftain affirmed, but added that the “IMC should also review the issue of the reward system for the party.”
His words: “Those hard working members of the party that have been there seeing the party through thick and thin have been completely sidelined, while public officeholders are now using those positions to key in their cronies and position them for their own selfish reasons.
“Most of those people do not even have the clout. The IMC should look into this and investigate the cases where this happened and ensure this does not happen again. Now we live in an era we are talking of palliatives. Is there any arrangement? There should be palliatives for members throughout the country, just as the federal and state governments have done. We do not need to have billions to do that; little we have should trickle down.”
He said that despite various odds, “the IMC is doing its best.” While urging the committee to remain neutral, Ebri noted: “To actually resolve issues, they must go down to earth. The only way the committee can succeed in its activities is if transparency, justice and equity are infused into them.
“Any attempt to steer its activities in the direction of any political tendencies in the party ahead of the 2023 presidential election will further deepen the crisis in the party and compromise the party’s chances of winning the election.”