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As APC ‘brings’ order from chaos

By News Express on 19/08/2017

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If you have ever visited a typical chain of brothels, then you will understand how chaos and disorder functions in real life situation.

This is because traditionally, the red light district is a house of 'sin' and the ancillary activities that go with commercial sex, such as smoking and drunkenness. In the environment of commercial sex, commotion and noise are the order of the day. Naturally, such anti-social behaviours of excessive alcohol consumption and smoking of weed and a range of cigarettes, among others, can't be carried out in air of tranquility. The brothels where commercial sex hawkers practice their infamous trade can be likened to a house of commotion. It is in a typical brothel, that all kinds of in-fighting take place hence, brothels, especially in our clime, are seen as harbingers of all kinds of criminal syndicates.

Knowing the above facts, can anyone truly convince the audience of the potency of finding orderliness in such a chaotic environment, such as brothels, in a typical Nigerian township? 

The graphic picture of the chaotic scenario that is a daily occurrence in brothels and intra-party feuds going on within the ranks of the political party that controls the Federal Government of Nigeria, known as All Progressives Congress (APC), are like Siamese twins.

Ideally, the name, All Progressives Congress, connotes aspirations that most Nigerians yearn for in politics: namely, progress and unity. Unity among members of political parties with clearly defined agenda of development of the society brings about progress and rapid expansion of happiness among the greatest percentage of the populace.

 The Utilitarian philosophers say that the achievement of the greatest happiness of the greatest percentage of the people of a given society is the essence of politics. I agree. But, if those who happily voted for President Muhammadu Buhari’s party had hoped to witness tranquility and unity of purpose among the top chieftains of the ruling party, they may have to wait for a long time to come. Right from the day President Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015 till date, his political family has yet to experience peace. His frequent foreign medical tourism has compounded these chains of chaotic in-fighting and uncertainty. 

The squabbles going on among the APC stakeholders can be likened to the self-destructive fight that occurs when a bunch of hoodlums have retired to their hide-out to share their loots, and there is a slight discord regarding the sharing formula. A typical example was the story told by the police about Evans, the billionaire suspected to be a kidnapper, that the bullet wound that can be seen on his hand was sustained when in one occasion quarrel ensued among his gang members on the sharing formality. The armed hoodlums reportedly exchanged gun-shots to settle their differences. As it was told, Evans was about the only survivor from that battle for the loots.

Although it may be uncharitable and unsophisticated to compare the political in-fighting within the APC, to the typical boardroom bullets' exchange among quarrelsome members of a crime syndicate, but the genesis of the crisis in the ruling party is known to have started with the selection of leaders of parliament. So, if a conspiracy theorist compares the various squabbles in APC to that of members of an organised crime syndicate, it must be understood from the context of the extent of frustration that Nigerians are feeling, because of the apparent inertia in the governance of the country by the quarrelsome politicians belonging to APC. It would be recalled that the party faithful loyal to President Buhari - championed by the disgraced Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal - wanted some other person, rather than Dr Bukola Saraki, to become Senate president.

But most senators of the APC, supported by those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), thought otherwise and went for Bukola Saraki and the PDP’s Ike Ekweremadu. The emergence of the opposition PDP senator as deputy Senate president was taken as a political slap in the face of an ‘all-powerful’ APC-produced President, for which both of them in the Senate leadership would be subjected to the bitter pills of Federal Government-sponsored persecution. The emergence of Dr Saraki – former two-term governor of Kwara State and the eldest son of the Second Republic Leader of the Senate – did not end the in-fighting among the supporters of the new leadership and the remnants that backed the Presidency. That infighting boiled out to a ferocious legal prosecution of the Senate leaders in both an Abuja High Court, for alleged forgery of in-house rule book of the Senate, and the recently dismissed prosecution of Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal. With all these fights going on and threatening the foundation of the ruling party, the national hierarchy appeared very weak and partisan. 

However, the national hierarchy of the ruling party has spectacularly failed to provide the needed effective leadership by example, by failing to rise to the occasions to resolve conclusively the various contentious supremacy battles in different state chapters. These are particularly battles between influential senators and their state governors, who feel threatened by the national visibility of the outspoken senators, especially as 2019 approaches, and they aren't sure of a return ticket. 

 The national leadership is also at war with itself, because of what the deputy national publicity secretary saw as a fraud in the failure to nominate him as substantive spokesman of the ruling party, to succeed the former national publicity secretary, Mr Lai Mohammed, who was elevated to Minister of Information and Culture. The national chairman isn’t comfortable with the deputy national publicity secretary stepping in as the official mouthpiece of the party. From Kogi, Kwara, Kano, and Lagos, and even Rivers State, the internal battles of supremacy have threatened the cohesion of the national ruling party. And these various challenges eating deep into the leadership fabrics at the national level has affected implementation of the party’s manifesto. This is shown by the failure of the APC to even accept a major promise it made in its manifesto on restructuring. 

Recently, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, attacked a senator from the state, Dino Melaye, saying the lawmaker was not properly nurtured into adulthood by his parent. The comment came as a political feud between the two former allies deteriorates, following an outbreak of violence at a political rally in Kogi, for which the two politicians blame each other. The Kogi State governor is accused of budgeting over a billion naira to prosecute the recall of Senator Melaye, who hurriedly obtained a court injunction to slow down his recall by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC. Mr Bello said it had become apparent that Mr Melaye’s “reckless” behaviour could be traced to his childhood, admonishing Nigerian parents to do their utmost and ensure that their children were properly cultivated.

“You see, I would rather admonish Nigerians that when a child lacks proper parental care and upbringing, he constitutes social menace in the society. And, if the society does not take steps to check and correct such a child, they can take into criminality. Then, it will be left to government to check such criminality the Kogi governor told journalists in Abuja.

 But the senator fired back, telling the press in what is described as an unusually swift response, to a request for his reaction to his governor’s jibe, that he is a victim of his unenviable rise to political prominence.

Melaye said: “Bello is afraid of anyone with rising profile, a characteristic of one suffering superiority complex and intellectual stagnancy. He is shooting the moon and boxing the wind.”

The governor also scolded senators for doing little to rein in alleged exuberance of their colleague, saying they risk being viewed as cuts from the same cloth, as Melaye.

“I think it is necessary that that wonderful house (Senate) should, as matter of urgency and as a matter of fact, check any social deviant that exists within them (sic), before they could be adjudged birds of the same feather,” Bello said, but quickly added: “I know they are not of the same feather.”

Kogi State Polytechnic confirmed a student died in the fracas, which broke outside the school’s campus where the rally was held. Two State Security Service agents attached to Melaye were also said to have been injured during the fracas, while his SUV was defaced by bullets, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.

Governor Bello accused Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial District, of hurriedly putting together the gathering in order to beat back an ongoing effort to recall him from the Senate.

In Kaduna State, the misunderstanding between Senator Shehu Sani of Kaduna Central and the state governor has even degenerated to allegations of sponsored assassination plot, targeting the senator. Indeed, the Kaduna face-off in the APC is not limited to Sani and Governor el Rufai, because the last fracas involved the two senators representing Kaduna North and Central - Suleiman Hunkiyi and Sani – who were allegedly attacked by supporters of the governor, although he quickly denied the claim. The armed hoodlums, about 10 in number, reportedly attacked Kaduna Constituency Office of Senator Shehu Sani, destroying property and made attempt on the life of Abdulsamad Chima Amadi, Personal Assistant on Special Duties to the Senator. The attack occurred when members of the social media team of the senator were having a meeting in the office, located at 1 Junction Road by Stadium Roundabout, Kaduna. An eyewitness narrated that the youth with cudgels, machetes, sticks, among other dangerous weapons, went to the first floor of the building chanting “ina shegen” (meaning, where is the bastard?) in Hausa, dispersed the meeting and broke anything breakable in the office. A newspaper vendor who witnessed the incident said the boys came from the side of Cabala Costain, and after the attack also went towards same direction. The vendor who identified himself simply as Adamu, said the weapons brandished by the youth scared many people, leading to stampedes that saw many injured in the process of trying to escape from the hoodlums.

Another eyewitness who sells goods close to the office, pleaded anonymity for the fear of what the youth could do. He said that what surprised them was that as the pandemonium happened, a police van with personnel was packed across the road, and the men watched without any attempt to disperse or apprehend the hoodlums.

At Magajin Gari Police Station, Kaduna North Local Government Area, where Abdulsamad Chima Amadi went to report the case, he told New Nigerian Newspapers that the hoodlums actually came for him. Abdulsamad said he was in the inner chamber of the office and watched the hoodlums wreck the havoc, with one of them holding a pistol and asking of his whereabouts. He said it was the grace of God that saved him, as the hoodlums were really prepared to mow him to death.

“We are here to officially report the case to the police,” he stressed.

It would be recalled that on Friday December 2, 2016, some youth led a protest to the resident of the senator’s late mother, with intent to torch the place. It took the prompt intervention of the police to disperse them, using tear-gas, as an opposing group mobilised to save the house by confronting the first one. The frosty relationship between Senator Shehu Sani and Governor Nasir el-Rufai is getting worse on daily basis, with accusations and counter-accusations. 

The Special Adviser, Political, to el-Rufai, Uba Sani, has always been pointed as the brain behind attacks on the senator and his supporters. Last weekend, Senators Sani and Hunkiyi, and other factional leaders of the Kaduna State chapter of APC were holding a press confab at NUJ centre, when they were attacked, with many journalists getting bloodied. There was also reports that some of the armed thugs went for Senator Sani, who was immediately whisked off by his personal security. 

In Lagos State home-base of the leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his political family has imploded, following allegations that last week’s local government election was rigged by supporters of the governor. The controversy led to the announcement of the purported suspension of the national legal adviser of APC, Mr Muiz Banire, who was however cleared by the national hierarchy.

The controversy in the wake of purported suspension of APC’s legal adviser, Muiz Banire, has pitched the party’s spokesmen in Lagos and Abuja against each other. APC’s publicity secretary in the FCT, Adaji Usman, asked his Lagos counterpart, Joe Igbokwe, to retract his statement that the party’s national publicity secretary Bolaji Abdullahi could not speak for the party or face sanction.

Mr Abdullahi had in a statement, issued penultimate Friday, announced the decision of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC), annulling the purported expulsion of Banire. Mr Igbokwe, in a swift reaction, said since Abdullahi was not validly elected, he could not speak for the party. He also described the NWC decision as hasty and an assault on democracy, for faulting the right of the local chapter of the APC to recall a party member at the national level, over alleged anti-party activities.

In Rivers, the only APC senator, Magnus Abe, is having a running battle with one of the financiers of Muhammadu Buhari's 2015 election campaign, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the immediate past governor of Rivers State. Amaechi is said to be scared of the rising profile of the senator, who is nursing governorship ambition for 2019, against the wishes of Amaechi who prefers another crony. 

The South-east branch of APC is not left out in this bonanza of factional battles for supremacy. The Enugu State chapter has two factions, which have recently announced suspensions of each other.

In Anambra State, where the governorship election will come up in November, the APC already has over three dozen members seeking to be nominated as the candidate to challenge the incumbent. 

The worrying infighting within APC has created doubts in the minds of most Nigerians, that this party is incapable of providing good governance because, a house divided amongst itself can surely not stand. Again, given that Nigeria is too sick to have a party of commotion governing it, most Nigerians have expressed frustration that the APC has, indeed, failed the litmus test of leadership. Two years down the line, the central government's incompetence has foisted economic recession, even as social and economic crimes have ballooned out of control. The APC must buckle up and redeem itself, else they would be thrown out come 2019.

•RIGHTSVIEW appears on Wednesdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, a popular activist, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). He can be reached via 08033327672 (sms only) or via 

Source News Express

Posted 19/08/2017 9:57:05 PM


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