Perils of Bad APC Leadership

Perils of Bad APC Leadership

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 8:56 am

Salihu Moh. Lukman

Salihu Moh. Lukman

Salihu Moh. Lukman

That APC is at another crossroad having to contend with the leadership of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje whose legitimacy is being battered by a moral crisis of corruption allegations is no longer news. This is a reality, which is a major source of concern for all party leaders and members. Ideally, if Dr. Ganduje is a selfless person who is committed to the progress and wellbeing of APC, he would have taken the path of honour and simply resigned. Regrettably, here we are stuck with Dr. Ganduje who brazenly want to remain as National Chairman of the APC with all the ethical problems it portends and the potential political and electoral misfortunes it can bring.

At personal level, I betray no emotion that in the first place Dr. Ganduje wasn’t the right person to succeed Sen. Abdullahi Adamu for three reasons. The first being that the position of National Chairman of the APC is zoned to the North Central and it was ceded to Nasarawa State at the APC March 2022 National Convention. Based on the provision of Article 31.5(i) of the APC constitution dealing with what needed to be done when there is a vacancy, which stipulated that ‘in the case of a National/Zonal Officer, the State Executive Committee shall propose a replacement to the State Congress and Zonal Executive Committee for endorsement. Thereafter, the name shall be sent to the National Working Committee, which shall forward same to the National Executive Committee for approval.’

If this provision of the APC constitution is to be respected, the Nasarawa State Executive Committee of the APC, where Sen. Adamu comes from, should have the right to propose a replacement, which the State Congress and the Zonal Executive Committee should endorse. The name of the nominee shall then be forwarded to the NWC for onward transmission to NEC and approval. Moving the position of the National Chairman out of Nasarawa State, North Central clearly violates this provision of the APC Constitution.

The second reason is that negotiations for the leadership of the National Assembly ceded the position of National Chairman of the party to North-Central on account of which the North Central was excluded from the political leadership of the National Assembly. Having been excluded from the political leadership of the National Assembly, the only position, which the North Central occupy in the political leadership of the country is the position of National Chairman of APC. Taking the position of the National Chairman of APC out of North Central therefore would mean outright and downcast political marginalisation of the people of North Central.

The third reason is the moral question given the problem of uncleared corruption allegation against Dr. Ganduje, which has now been escalated by the government of Kano State. Back in July 2023 when Dr. Ganduje was being nominated for the position of National Chairman, I have argued that if leaders of the North West are asked to nominate five people for consideration to serve in the capacity of APC National Chairman, Dr. Ganduje will not be one of the five nominees. We could debate this, but it is unfortunately a true reflection of the rating of Dr. Ganduje in North West. His biggest political strength was being a Governor of the most populous state in Nigeria, which he failed to utilize to improve his political relations with other political leaders, especially back in Kano State.

All these notwithstanding, one would expect that having emerged as the National Chairman against every rational political judgement, Dr. Ganduje will initiate actions to remedy the obvious political marginalisation of the people of North Central. The low hanging fruit at his disposal was to reopen negotiation for the leadership of the National Assembly and make it possible for the Deputy Senate President currently being occupied by Sen. Barau Jibrin, who is also from Kano State to move to North Central. This would have demonstrated that Dr. Ganduje is strongly committed to supporting President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to provide a balanced political leadership for the country.

As far as Dr. Ganduje is concerned, having emerged as the National Chairman of APC, everything should remained unchanged. Even the challenges facing the APC as a party, which were responsible for the resignation of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu and Sen. Iyiola Omisore as National Chairman and National Secretary respectively should remain unattended to. Problems of not convening meetings of organs of the party continued. The National Working Committee (NWC) continue to usurp the powers of all organs of the party. Discretionary decisions by the National Chairman got worsened so much that one of the aides to Dr. Ganduje is being alleged to be imposing decisions on the party and sometimes reversing decisions of the NWC.

Problems of discretionary decisions, especially with respect to conduct of party primary are potential time bombs, which could further undermine the electoral viability of the APC. Beyond all that is also the fact that once Dr. Ganduje emerged as the National Chairman of APC, virtually all the APC leaders in Kano State relocated to Abuja. In fact, part of why Kano State Government was able inflict the kind of huge political damage on Dr. Ganduje is because of the absence of virtually all APC leaders in Kano. The reality is that since the emergence of Dr. Ganduje as National Chairman, for about nine months, he did not visit Kano State more than twice.

With such reality, and operating as an opposition party, it begs the question about whether he is at all interested in getting APC to win back Kano State. If President Asiwaju Tinubu with all his busy schedules could find time to go back to Lagos State on more than five occasions, it is certainly scandalous that Dr. Ganduje will use his position as the APC National Chairman as an excuse for political truancy. Being a political truant could only produce electoral failure back in his home state. And given the importance of Kano State to the politics of the North, especially North West, President Asiwaju Tinubu and APC leaders need to recognise the risk of keeping Dr. Ganduje as the National Chairman of APC.

In simple terms, the risk is potential electoral disaster. Unless our objective in APC is to rig the 2027 elections, the earlier we relieved Dr. Ganduje from the position of National Chairman of the APC the better. At this crucial point in the life of APC, the best job for Dr. Ganduje is to send him back to Kano State to facilitate reconciliation of all political leaders in the state and reorganise the party. Being a party envisioned to be progressive, we must appeal to all our leaders at national level, especially President Asiwaju Tinubu to take every step needed to bring back North Central to the mainstream political leadership of the country by taking back the position of APC National Chairman to North Central.

In nominating a new APC National Chairman from North Central the priority should be about choosing a competent political leader who can initiate processes of rebuilding the APC. Rebuilding the APC should be about restoring constitutional order in the party. Given the fact that the current members of NWC are in their third year now and have so far appear to be comfortable with running affairs of the party without reference to APC Constitution, the question of their political and administrative competence to manage the APC needs to be reviewed. Beyond changing Dr. Ganduje as the National Chairman, perhaps it is the whole NWC that should be changed.

The additional reality is that the requirement of rebuilding the APC should push us to reorganise all the leadership of the party from Ward to Local Governments, to States, and National level. Integral to that is the need to inaugurate all structures of the party. For instance, our National Advisory Council should be inaugurated without any delay. Women, Youth and Persons Living with Disabilities Wings should be organised and inaugurated in lines with provisions of Article 12.19, 12.20 and 12.21 of the APC Constitution.

Inability to manage affairs of APC as provided under the Constitution of the party is symptomatic of bad leadership, which in every respect the leadership of Dr. Ganduje represent. Being saddled with bad party leadership has made APC leaders, especially President Asiwaju Tinubu complicit of marginalising the people of North Central from the political leadership of the country. APC must urgently take steps to correct that by electing a new leadership for the party. This is an irreducible minimum for APC to recover and regain all its electoral strengths across Nigeria.

* Salihu Moh. Lukman, Kaduna




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