On Thursday, June 25, 2020, against all expectations but in consonance with his surprising late moves, President Muhammadu Buhari met with the National Executive Council (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by the embattled Acting National Chairman Victor Giadom.
The acting chairman had been under fire since the court upheld the suspension of the National Chairman Adam Oshiomhole. The move to back the Giadom led executive have led to speculations that Buhari has by decoy shown where he belongs.
It is an open secret that the suspended Oshiomhole is a supporter of Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the Jagaban Borgu, who is widely speculated to be interested in succeeding Buhari in 2023.
Tinubu who is often referred to as national leader of the party played a major role in cobbling together the diverse interests that formed the party and produced Buhari as the presidential candidate. The coalition saw to the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. The first time an incumbent would be defeated in Nigeria.
Analysts believe that by openly endorsing Giadom on Wednesday and attending the NEC meeting despite opposition from governors and some interests groups, Buhari has shown where his interest lies – not with Oshiomhole nor Tinubu, his principal.
Giadom, who was deputy national secretary of the party, had insisted he is the rightful acting chairman of the party following the suspension of Oshiomole. But some members of the NWC who met after the court judgement had endorsed the deputy national chairman (South), Abiola Ajimobi, as the acting chairman. The former governor is a known ally of Jagaban.
Giadom’s position as as deputy national secretary had been declared vacant and Worgu Boms sworn in as his replacement. In siding with Giadom, Buhari through his spokesman, Garba Shehu explained that “the law was on the side” of Giadom.
But a professor of law, Itse Sagay, who is an admirer of Buhari has faulted the president’s decision, saying he listened to wrong legal advice.
But the acting National Secretary of the party, Waziri Bulama, said the proposed NEC meeting was in direct contravention of the party’s constitution.
According to him, “The constitution is very clear on the steps and circumstances of calling a NEC meeting. Chapter 14.2 of the constitution and Article 25 of the constitution are clear about who should convene the NEC and how. Any action outside of this is clear illegality.”
In the meantime, opposition to the growing influence of the Jagaban in the party is on the increase as some seven governors are said to be teaming up with others to clip his wing. Among these is Rotimi Amaechi, the transportation minister.
The governors listed in this move include Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Nasir Elrufai of Kaduna, Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), and Niger’s Abubakar Bello. Others are Yobe’s Mai-Mala Buni, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti. In fact, it is believed that the recent tiff between him and Senator Femi Ojudu, a presidential aide who hails form the state, is linked to this.
Buhari backing a candidate that is known not to enjoy any support of the Jagaban is believed to be part of the move to cut him to size. He has of recent seems to be having some threat to his control of political groups in Lagos and this allegedly led to the ban of all such groups in Lagos.
The police again on Thursday barricaded the main entrance to the national secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), reportedly on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu.
A dysfunctional party?
For the second week running a detachment of police have barred workers and reporters from accessing the APC secretariat. But the police said in a statement that they were there to prevent breakdown of law and order.
How is the party going to work itself out of this bind, is what many are wondering?