Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, “is collapsing with no leader in charge,” one of its senior officials said on Thursday.
Salihu Lukman, who serves as the director-general of the APC governors’ forum, also called Progressives Governors Forum, stated this in a statement on Thursday.
“What is news now is that the party is collapsing with no leader in charge,” Mr Lukman said.
“It is as if the party doesn’t have a constitution or those who operate the constitution are either ignorant of its provisions or have decided to set aside the constitution and just embark on a free for all fight. Yet, APC is the ruling party in Nigeria.”
Mr Lukman took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari and party leader Bola Tinubu, saying they have both failed in providing guidance to a party in crisis.
“Does the current APC leadership crisis therefore suggest declining moral authority of our two leaders? It is very easy to reach conclusions,” he said.
Mr Lukman is not an elected official of the APC, but he supervises the secretariat of the APC governors and thus espouses the view of many of the governors on the crisis rocking the party.
The APC was formed in the build-up to the 2015 general election, mainly with the motive of defeating the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which had ruled Nigeria for 16 years.
Since it won the general elections in 2015, however, the party has moved from one crisis to the other.
The latest crisis took a new dimension last Friday when the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, was disqualified by the party’s screening committee, an outcome he blamed on his mentor-turned-rival, Adams Oshiomhole.
While Mr Obaseki was contemplating his next line of action, including defecting to the rival PDP, a shocker came.
On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal upheld the suspension of Mr Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the APC, a twist that sprung another controversy at the party secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday.
By Tuesday night, the APC spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, announced the party’s deputy national chairman (South), Abiola Ajimobi, as interim chairman.
However, by Wednesday, the APC deputy national secretary, Victor Giadom, declared himself the legitimate acting national chairman of the party. He also announced the invalidation of the screening that disqualified Mr Obaseki.
Mr Giadom said his declaration was is in compliance with a court order by Justice S.U. Bature in suit no FCT/HC/M/6447/2020 dated March 16, 2020, which ordered the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole and ordered that “I, Chief Hon Victor Giadom should act as National Chairman of our great party.”
In a separate press conference at the party secretariat on Wednesday, 15 of the 21 members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) reaffirmed Mr Ajimobi as the party’s interim national chairman. Only 12 NWC members were, however, present during the announcement.
“Chief Victor Giadom has long ceased to be a member of the NWC. He has voluntarily resigned his membership to be able (because that is the constitution of our party) to contest as deputy governorship candidate of our party,” said Hilliard Eta, the APC national vice-chairman (South-south) who spoke for the 12 NWC members in attendance.
However, in his statement on Thursday, Mr Lukman called for the removal of members of the NWC whom he said caused the party’s current predicament.
“It is very clear we need an organ transplant by way of replacing the members of the current NWC who constitute the problem. That the All Progressives Congress (APC) is having a leadership crisis is no longer news,” he said.