APC Should Wield The Big Stick


APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun

FEW days ago Professor Pat Utomi lamented that interlopers and agents of darkness have hijacked our change project again. In that piece, Utomi reflected on the June 12, 1993 Saga and the sordid event of June 23, 1993 and the formation of the Concerned Professionals. Prof. Utomi lamented that we lost the June 12, 1993 as a result of the kind of complacency and political idiocy that is playing itself out today in Abuja. In our very own eyes we saw how SDP Chieftains started romancing with IBB and Abacha junta until Chief Abiola’s Vice President, Baba Gana Kingibe, SDP Chairman, Tony Anenih, Ojo Maduekwe and others joined Abacha to destroy and bury Chief MKO Abiola’s mandate.

Human rights activists, pro-democracy activists, concerned professionals, Trans Africa, Lawyers, etc spoke out against the annulment but their voices were swallowed by the vicious and dangerous voices of Abacha’s men. The rest is now history but we lost hundreds of Nigerians including the winner of that election, Chief Moshood Abiola, his wife Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Bagauda Kaltho, Suliat Adedeji, Dr. Omatshola, Admiral Elegbede, Admiral Olu Omotehinwa, etc. Had Nigerians stood up in great numbers to defend Chief Abiola and June 12, 1993 mandate, Nigeria would have been a better place today.

Time and space will not permit me to recall what we went through in the last sixteen years in the hands of PDP. They abused and told us they will rule Nigeria for 60 years. They beat us, divided us with guns and money, they killed Chief Bola Ige, Harry Marshal, Funsho Williams, General Azazi, Aminosoari Dikibo, Ogbonnaya Uche, Ayo Daramola, Bayo Ohu, Godwin Agbroko, Dipo Dina, Chief Layi Balogun, Odunayo Olagbaju, etc. Now, from just one state (Lagos) in 2003, the progressives led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President Buhari and others began to work, from AD to AC to ACN. ACN then teamed up with other legacy parties like CPC, ANPP and part of APGA and the new PDP led by Amaechi and others to form APC. APC hit ground running and in March 28, 2015, the change came and General Buhari emerged as the President on the platform of APC. APC won majority votes in the senate, House of Reps and even among the Governors. Now after elections, APC leaders met severally and agreed on candidates for the Senate leadership and that of House of Reps. But something unthinkable and bizarre took place in the Senate and House of Reps on June 9, 2015. As 51 APC Senators were having a meeting at the International Conference Centre Abuja, 57 Senators met to elect Senator Saraki as Senate President against the wishes of the party, which agreed to settle for Senator Ahmed Lawan. In the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara emerged against the wishes of the party, which initially settled for Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. Since then there has been trouble in the big house of APC as leaders questioned the process that led to the emergence of not only Saraki and Dogara, but Senator Ekweremmadu of PDP as the Deputy Senate President.

Party leaders see this as an act of colossal betrayal and sabotage, and vowed to reverse the anomalies. I believe in the supremacy of the party. I believe that APC is bigger than anybody. I know what APC leaders went through to get to where they are today and I believe that APC should stamp its feet down to defend the integrity of the party no matter whose ox is gored. If anything, the celebration and exchange of banters on the floor of the senate by PDP leaders after the so-called elections suggest that they are up to something sinister in years to come. I am also aware that the rules of the house allows one third members to form a quorum but I frown at using one third quorum to elect the principal officers of the Senate at a time like this. Matters were not helped when Senator Ekweremadu went to Enugu to beat his chest that PDP will bounce back in 2019 after stealing the deputy senate president seat. This is why APC must seize the moment now, put its feet down, play the real politics and give whatever is left of PDP a run for its money in Nigeria. We must reverse the dangerous development we saw in the Senate in order to send the signal out there that we mean business. Attempts have been made by the invaders and interlopers to suggest that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the one being whittled down by the emergence of Senator Saraki as Senate President. Bode George believes so and so are others who are worried about BAT’s rising and intimidating profile.

But today, Asiwaju BAT remains the most sophisticated and most celebrated politician in Nigeria. He has almost single-handedly retired Bode George, Ebenezer Babatope, Tony Anenih, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Alex Ekwueme, Ahmadu Ali, Tanko Yakassai, Edwin Clark, Bamanga Tukur, Richard Akinjide, etc from active politics. Today if the 16 years struggle for Change in Nigeria and the emergence of President Buhari is a book, Asiwaju BAT wrote 65% of it. In spite of hate campaigns, intimidation, use of brute force, dollars and pounds truck-loaded to Lagos, Asiwaju BAT defeated PDP and their agents. If this is not a monumental feat tell me what it is. In Kwara State, supporters of Saraki think that Alhaji Lai Mohammed must sacrifice APC’s unique position in Nigeria and support Senator Saraki because both of them are from Kwara State. No! Lai Mohammed cannot settle for primordial sentiments to the detriment of the National APC position. He has to defend the party, Saraki or no Saraki: This is the hallmark of leadership. This is the way to go. I want to appeal to APC leaders not to join the foolish constituencies to think that Asiwaju BAT is the problem. No! He is not. What is at stake is the integrity and position of our great party.

We have made promises to Nigerians and we need a good team made up of decent men and women to do the real job. We must have the courage to stop the ruthless and inordinate ambition of Senator Saraki and others in order to show the world that we know where we are going. APC must carry the big stick. President Buhari should play the real politics by standing firm with his party’s guidelines and established rules. President Buhari has the full weight of the federal government behind him to get things done the way he wants it so long as it will benefit Nigerians .The world’s richest man, Mr Warren Buffet says “In a chronically leaking vessel, it is more productive to change the vessels than to continue patching the leaks from time to time.” Let APC send the signals out there that it is not afraid to take hard decisions so long as it is in the national interest. After, history will forgive us taking decisions and making little mistakes than not taking decisions at all.

• Joe Igbokwe wrote from Lagos.

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  • Mac Makol

    The APC Let their guards down. No amount of grammar can be used to deceive Nigerians. The easy part is being Successful but Staying Successful is the main test. APC needs to understand that PDP won’t go down without a fight. I even think they were lucky not to have lost all positions in the NASS to the PDP.

    Saraki’s sin is about the Morality of his Actions but Morality isn’t what Politicians can boast of.

    • Abayomi A

      Saraki did not have any morality baggage to carry. He and Dogara had constitutional rights superior to any party stipulation, howsoever packaged, to present themselves to their Assembly peers for election to leadership positions. A clique in the APC, now confirmed to have been arrowheaded by Senator Tinubu, dreamt up an Electoral College device to pre-select Assembly members of APC stock meeting its fancy and present such to the Assembly to the exclusion of Saraki and Dogara.

      The audacious meddlesomeness was totally illegal. Saraki and Dogara did not bulge or flinch for one second. They focused on their mission, strategized, campaigned and won their way to becoming Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, as applicable. APC or any other party has no legal or equitable right to interfere in the business of an automous National Assembly whose members reserve the exclusive right to elect their leaders in line with set Assembly rules. The APC clique could lobby within accepted rules for lobbying, but no more.

      Impunity failed; illegality failed; constitutionality won; principled stance for civil rights under the Nigerian Constitution prevailed. None of the losers or their sponsors has been bold enough to go to court because they have no case. President Buhari went ahead to acknowledge that Senate President Saraki and Speaker Dogara were constitutionally elected to Assembly leadership positions at issue, though he wished that party recommendation had been followed. Femi Adesina, one of his Media Assistants, followed up with a press release that conveyed as much. Osinbajo, his Vice and senior Constitutional Law Professor/SAN, must have had input into Buhari’s stand on the National Assembly leadership election. The APC leadership clique must retrace its steps from the brink of terminal obstinacy, while it still can. Increasingly, it will find its rank depleted in no time and the likes of Igbokwe will either swim or sink with what has turned out to be an exercise in misdirected impunity.

      Buhari MUST NOT make the mistake of reversing himself and beginning to identify with unconstitutionality. The June 9, 2015 election of Saraki and Dogara as Assembly leaders remains valid. Aggrieved parties can and should seek redress in court, if they believe that they have a case to make. This post is with malice to none and respect for all that deserve respect.

  • Oluwafemi Taiwo Ogunbiyi

    Joe, you have been feeding fat for so long on the ACN/APC hogwosh that you are becoming unreal. Party supremacy my boot. An average Nigerian know that what you call party supremacy is nothing more than Tinubu and co are positioning for 2019. Have your fun while the merry last, Nigerians will soon wake up to know that PDP AND APC are 6 and half a dozen. While not saying a saraki senate presidency is in the best intrest of my dear country, I shunder to think what the opposite whould have been had your principal had his way. With people like you that know the ulterior motive of these people failing to expose them for the greater benefit of this country, I cry………………..

    • Anne

      Uncle Joe, the political assassinations of Bola ige, funsho wiliams, etc took place during the presidency of Obasanjo, who for all intents and purposes is a member of Apc, having been appointed the navigator of the party, by no other than the Asiwaju BaT. So what the heck are you saying here? Like people have been telling you guys, electioneering is over, forget mudslinging and get down to real work. Give us regular power supply, good roads starting from Lagos state, and security etc. That’s the job ahead.

      • Oluwafemi Taiwo Ogunbiyi

        Ann, true talk.

  • Abayomi A

    Ironically, I agree with Joe Igbokwe’s byline; APC Should Wield The Big Stick.” The only difference is that the stick should be coming down on all who planned and/or endorsed the Electoral College illegality. Needlessly, they exposed APC to national ridicule and created some buyer’s remorse, albeit fleeting, in the minds of the Nigerian electorate.