How the mighty fall is a phrase from the Holy Bible at 2 Samuel 1:19. Over the weekend, a political tsunami swept through the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and the party’s National Secretary , Senator Iyiola Omisore. They were forced to resign their respective posts to avoid the ignominious option of being fired by their colleagues on the National Executive Committee. This ended a tortuous 15-month journey after he was elected at a National Convention in Abuja on March 26, 2022.
Various accusations were leveled against the duo. According to the Daily Trust online edition of Monday July 17, 2023, Adamu committed seven deadly sins. These include opposition to the rise of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the run-up to the presidential party primaries last year. The former national president then informed the NWC that former President Muhammadu Buhari was endorsing former Senate President Senator Ahmed Lawan as the party’s consensus presidential standard-bearer. This was later countered by the Progressive Governors Forum, which met with the former president and pressured him to allow a shift of power to southern Nigeria. It was also alleged that Adamu failed to reconcile the warring factions between the party’s state chapters.
In addition, the national vice president of the Northwest party, Lukman Salihu, accused the former national president of running the party as a sole administrator many times, as well as abuse of authority; Adamu’s failure to win his Voting Unit, his district, local government and state (Nasarawa) for the APC during the February 25 presidential election also shows him as a weak leader who has not improved the lot of the game. There was also open criticism from the former president of the emergence of the main officials of the X National Assembly. He was also accused of making a mistake in saying that Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is “extremely incapacitated” as he prayed for his speedy recovery last week. Finally, Adamu was accused of snubbing his colleagues “Governors of 1999 Set” who went on an official visit to see the president last week. He was conspicuously absent when he normally should be the main host.
This newspaper shed more light on the other reasons why the duo of Adamu and Omisore were forced to resign. Aggrieved members of the NWC told The PUNCH correspondent on Monday that the dispute over the way the two men handled the party account audit, the refusal to hold party accounts for a year, the lack of transparency, violation of party statutes and putting on a one-man show without input from the National Labor Committee, were responsible for his downfall.
The July 17 edition of The Cable elaborated on why Adamu and Omisore were removed. The “last straw”, according to experts, was Adamu’s failure to account for the 32bn naira raised by the party from the sale of forms for the 2023 general election. Supposedly only N7bn remains in the account. The credible source was quoted as saying that “Adamu and Omisore claimed that the account has been audited, but we don’t know when the auditors were appointed. How can NWC not be aware of the appointment? It is part of our responsibilities to appoint auditors”. Sensing the move to oust him, Adamu had reportedly sought support from the party’s state chapter chairmen, but was met with a cold shoulder. “Under the APC constitution, the profits were supposed to be shared with the zonal, state and district levels of the party, and they were unaware. So there was no way they were going to support him,” another party member told TheCable.
Some other people accused Adamu of working in collusion with suspended Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele and former President Muhammadu Buhari to thwart Tinubu’s election victory by starting the redesign of the new naira banknotes on the eve of a general election. They said this was aimed at ensuring there was no cash for political logistics. This is considered self-immolation, political suicide.
With the departure of Adamu and Omisore, other positions currently vacant in the APC National Working Committee include Deputy National Secretary for Publicity, previously held by Murtala Ajaka, who is running for the position of Kogi Governor on the platform of the Social Democratic and National Party. Welfare Officer, formerly held by the late Friday Nwosu.
I have given several interviews to the media since this news broke on Monday of this week. I am of the considered opinion that what is happening in our political parties in Nigeria is heartbreaking! Leadership instability has been a recurring decimal in all Nigerian political parties, both mainstream and fringe. I have been working with political parties for 20 years and can safely say that the Nigerian political leadership has been highly insecure. Some political analysts have described what is happening in our political system as a phenomenon of “crabism” or “bring it down.” How can a country achieve democratic consolidation when there is no political stability?
APC as a government party was registered in July 2013. In 10 years of existence, it has had five party presidents. Chief Bisi Akande (Acting Chairman) followed by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Mai Mala Buni (Acting Chairman), Senator Abdullahi Adamu and now Acting Chairman Abubakar Kyari. All of these leaders were former or serving governors, except for Kyari, who is a former senator. Out of the lot, only Odigie-Oyegun served out his four-year term. However, he was barred from seeking re-election in 2018.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party ruled Nigeria for 16 years out of its 25 years of existence. In his quarter century, only one party president managed to serve his term. From its pioneering Chairman, Solomon Lar, to Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Ahmadu Ali, Vincent Ogubulafor, Okwesilieze Nwodo to Bamanga Tukur, Abubakar Muazu, Ali Modu Sheriff, Prince Uche Secondus, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu and now Amb. Umar Damagun only one PPD Chairman, Colonel Ahmadu Ali (retired), served his term and resigned without rancor.
In other political parties like the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the Labor Party and the ADC, it’s the same story. In fact, the African Democratic Congress suspended its 2023 presidential candidate, Dumebi Kachikwu, for alleged anti-partisan activities. This was when a Federal High Court in Abuja struck down the executive committee of the African Democratic Congress led by Ralph Nwosu in December 2022. As I write this, there are two faction chairmen claiming the Labor Party presidency. There is the Julius Abure faction and the Lamidi Apapa faction. At APGA, for many years there were internal leadership disputes between Chief Chekwa Okorie and Chief Victor Umeh.
The leadership crisis that has engulfed all of our political parties stems from a lack of internal democracy. The leaders are packaged without election in what is popularly known as a consensus candidacy. Why would political leaders be averse to political contests or elections? There are also problems of abuse of power, corruption, misrule, lack of due process, as well as a lack of accountability and transparency in the party’s administration. Unless and until these issues are resolved, the leadership crisis will continue to plague Nigeria’s political parties.