There is a saying among our people that it is only an irresponsible elder who would sit at home and watch the she-goat suffer the pains of parturition, tethered. Outside the elected officials of the Party, especially, at the national level, there are people, who by their positions and experiences in politics, including their contributions to the formation of the APC, are the undisputed elders of the Party. These elders would therefore be failing in their duties to the Party, if they fail to intervene at this time, and their intervention must be in fairness and truth. Posterity will frown at the continuous and I daresay, complicit silence of these elders, even as our Party’s fortunes hang on the precipice.
Anyone would be playing the ostrich and be seen as mocking us in our misfortunes, if he denies that our Party is in a crisis of its existence. The truth is that the handling of this crisis, will go a long way in determining the survival or otherwise of our Party. I am positive however, that the Party has all it takes to come out of this crisis, stronger and better. But, how?
The first step towards resolving a problem is to identify the cause of that problem. Presently, our Party has three officials tenaciously laying claims to the national chairmanship of our Party, while the suspended national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, continues to work from behind the scene in an attempt to dictate what happens in the Party. Our nomination processes in Edo and Ondo governorship elections, as well as several legislative bye-elections are at the risk of being torpedoed through court processes. Unfortunately, we should have learnt from Rivers and Zamfara experiences, but the same obdurate ego that has constantly delimited us as a Party, continues to hang its pained shoulders.
You cannot talk about the seeming intractability of our Party’s problems without placing the biggest chunk of the blame on the doorsteps of the suspended national chairman of our Party. For a man who rose to prominence through his activities as a labour leader and activist, it is surprising that he has been at the vanguard of oppression within the Party and an impudent suppression of the Party’s principles and Constitution. Oshiomhole’s handling of the Party since his emergence as the national chairman has been anything, but transparent, fair or even legal. He has become a law into himself, and had even open declared himself as the Chief Executive Officer of the Party, rather than its Chief servant. His arrogation to himself, a totalitarian authority to do things his way without a recourse to the dictates of our Party’s Constitution and even the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is, among other reasons, at the root cause of our crisis.
While Oshiomhole takes the blame for a very disheartening deviation from the Party’s founding ideologies which is hinged on the people and grassroots being kings and kingmakers, the Party’s elders and critical leaders also share in the blame. Our Party’s elders have kept quiet for so long, either as a result of the fact that some of them had traded their rights as consciences of the Party during the fraud-ridden 2018 primaries of the Party or they have been overwhelmed by the impunity that seems to have become the guiding philosophy of the Party.
The most brazen assault on the foundations of the Party happened when the Party’s NWC began to arrogate to itself powers of the National Convention and the National Executive Committee. The NWC became the clearing house of the Party without any regard to the Constitutional provision which makes the National Convention the highest organ of the Party and the National Executive Council, the highest decision making organ of the Party. The NWC became a conclave of irritants, who probate and approbate as the same time. The appointments of members of the NWC, including; National Publicity Secretary, National Secretary, Deputy-Chairman, South and any other such appointments were in clear violations of the Party’s Constitution. The Party also continued to show a clear and annoying disdain for Court rulings and orders, choosing instead, to obey some and ignore others.
Truth is; we cannot survive this raging crisis in our Party by covering things up. We cannot put a burning coal under a carpet and believe it would stop the house from being razed down. We may feel that the fire has mellowed, but we may merely be postponing the evil day. We would have put our building in an incinerator and before we would realize our mistakes, our house may be, the rubbles we see.
What I have come to do is to proffer a way out and not to recount our problems, hence, I shall be making the following recommendations to those concerned as my idea of how to return lasting peace to the Party;
- The highest ranking, properly elected and legally unencumbered national officer of the Party should be immediately be empowered to take over the affairs of the Party, as acting National Chairman.
- All those illegally appointed as national officers of the Party, should immediately cease to function as such.
- A National Executive Council meeting of the Party should be convened to among other things; discuss and agree on a date for a mini-convention to fill vacant national offices.
- All State chapters of the Party, illegally dissolved by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole should be reinstated and an open peace process initiated at various State levels.
- Leaders and elders of the Party should for this moment, freeze their personal and group interests and pursue only those agenda that shall entrench fairness, legitimacy and lasting peace in the Party.
- Competent Court orders and judgements relating to the offices of any of our national officers must be abided by, until such judgement is vacated by a higher court.
- The Party should be returned to the people at the grassroots. The era of imposing the wishes of a few connected people from Abuja on the grassroots members of the Party must be discouraged.
- The Party should accelerate processes of constituting a Board of Trustees as spelt out in the Constitution.
- Party members who were unjustly suspended, expelled or ‘ostracized’ by the Party leadership should be recalled and given an opportunity to contribute their quota to the rebuilding efforts in the Party.
MAY OUR PARTY SURVIVE!
By Onwuasoanya FCC Jones, State Publicity Secretary of APC in Imo State.
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