How Buhari solved the APC crisis in 2 weeks as insecurity escalates
Tongues continue to wave among Nigerians in various forums over the seriousness with which President Muhammadu Buhari handled and resolved the crisis of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), during the second round of his national convention last month. latest.
The convention, held on March 26 at Eagle Square, Abuja, amidst fanfare, was preceded by infighting that nearly rocked the boats.
The event came at a time when killings, kidnappings and other forms of attacks by terrorists and other criminal groups against unfortunate communities in Kaduna, Niger and other parts of the country have reached a crescendo.
Apart from security concerns, Nigerians are also grappling with a number of economic hardships including a grueling energy crisis that has nearly brought the country to a standstill due to a long fuel shortage. Buhari, who is also oil minister, has been ridiculed for allegedly paying lip service to the issue.
The events leading up to the party convention raised questions about President Buhari’s assertion that the country’s security took priority over all other issues for his administration.
The ruling party was also plagued by leadership crises as terrorists threatened Niger, Kaduna and other northwestern states almost unchallenged.
However, President Buhari, in a swift intervention, asserted his influence as leader of the party and saved it from collapse, even as insecurity and other pressing national issues required a similar decisive intervention.
The president met several times with the governors, gave orders and ensured their execution. Even during his medical vacation in London, he continued to host party leaders in a deft move to prevent implosion within the ruling party.
The president also cut the trip short and, upon his return, continued a series of meetings that ensured a smooth transition within the party.
Many believe that if the President had displayed the same leadership, energy and commitment that he showed in resolving the APC crisis to combat insecurity in the country, the situation would not be as worse than it is.
How Buhari saved the party from the brink
The ruling party, in its eight years of existence, had four national presidents – Bisi Akande, John Oyegun, Adams Oshiomhole and Mai Mala Buni.
After Oshiomhole was unceremoniously exited as party chairman, President Buhari’s intervention produced an interim committee headed by Buni, which was given a mandate to hold a convention in six months. The convention took place after 21 months, after two postponements.
After maintaining a studied silence on the state of affairs of the party, Buhari in January told the APC to take the convention issue seriously, warning that it risked losing power to the Peoples Democratic. Party (PDP).
He then met with party governors ahead of the national convention scheduled for February 26. many worshipers engaging in bashing.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had accused Buni of working with some governors and “yahoo yahoo politicians” to prevent the convention from taking place.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State also claimed that the president had approved the removal of Buni as interim president.
There were also reports that the interim committee received a court order preventing it from organizing the convention which the committee however allegedly hid from alerting key stakeholders.
In addition, moves to produce a consensus candidate for the office of president and other party offices destabilized aspirants, further heightening tension.
While the Governor of Yobe was away in the UAE for medical treatment, Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello assumed leadership of the party and chaired the interim committee meeting, giving credence to speculation that Buni had been removed from office.
The crisis escalated when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting notice unless Buni signed the notification letter.
Amid the imbroglio, Buhari floundered again, warning that the APC was drifting towards the path of the PDP, a party he said had failed for 16 years and also failed in opposition.
The president, in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, warned party leaders (and members) to refrain from name-calling and backstabbing, stand firm and maintain unity if the party wanted to continue on the path of victory and its dominance at all levels throughout the country.
Moreover, after meeting Buni during his medical trip to London, Buhari warned party leaders to refrain from attacking the governor of Yobe and called for the immediate return of all members of the party’s interim committee to their respective positions.
In a letter to the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Bagudu, President Buhari gave three clear instructions to the party leadership ahead of the convention and assured that they were fully implemented.
“First, the question of the leadership of the Interim Committee of the Extraordinary Convention (CECOC) should immediately return to the status quo ante; second, all members of the Governors’ Forum and their supporters should refrain from any behavior or statement that could lead to disunity within the party ranks and ultimately jeopardize the transition to the convention; thirdly, the CECC led by Mai Mala Buni should, accordingly, be authorized to make all necessary preparations to hold the convention as scheduled without fail on March 26, 2022,” Buhari said in the letter.
A few days before the convention, Buhari also held separate meetings with party governors and presidential aspirants to urge them to support his candidate of choice, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
The governors, after the meeting, told reporters that they had decided to support whoever the president supported at the convention.
He also held a separate meeting with leadership of the National Assembly and another with what the presidency called the “founding fathers of the party”, all in its attempt to save the APC.
Endless terrorist attacks
Many communities in the North and other parts of the country are in mourning following the almost daily violent attacks by terrorists, who murder, maim and kidnap citizens mostly unchallenged.
Even military formations are not spared from the incessant terrorist attacks.
During the week the ruling APC held its convention, dozens of people, including security personnel, were killed and abducted in Kaduna, Niger and other northern areas.
The hardest hit was Giwa Local Government Area in Kaduna State, which suffered four different attacks during the week. The attacks left more than 70 people dead and many others abducted in several communities.
The latest killing of 15 soldiers, three vigilantes and two civilians in Kaduna came days after terrorists bombed the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, killing nine people, while dozens more were injured and dozens are still missing.
A few days earlier, insurgents struck at Kaduna airport and killed one person. The incident had forced some airlines to suspend flight operations to the airport.
In Zamfara on March 27, terrorists attacked several communities in Talata Mafara and Bakura local government areas, killing four people.
In another attack, they killed at least 35 people, including a village chief, after attacking five communities in the Anka local government area of the state last week.
On March 28, gunmen killed five people and injured three in communities in the Irigwe chiefdom of Bassa du Plateau local government area. On the same day, six soldiers were killed and several others injured after bandits stormed a village in Suleja, near Abuja.
In Taraba, terrorists also attacked a mosque as worshipers broke their fast on Tuesday, killing three people, while scores of worshipers were abducted in Baba Juli village in Bali’s local government area.
Some Nigerians said the rapid succession of these brazen attacks under government surveillance was worrying.
“Get serious about tackling insecurity the way you solved the APC crisis”
The executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) and head of Transparency International (Nigeria), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the kind of leadership and resources deployed by Buhari to resolve the APC crisis was also needed to stop insecurity.
He said that even when situations pointed to a crisis-filled convention, with diverging interests within the party at loggerheads, the president single-handedly directed the party leadership and the many candidates vying for different positions to achieve success. a consensus and finally reached a peaceful party. agreement.
“It is this kind of leadership that is expected from the president to end insecurity in the country,” he said.
Rafsanjani expressed his fear that insecurity in Nigeria has taken on a serious dimension, with terrorist groups becoming even bolder in their despicable acts.
He said, “Life in Nigeria has indeed become too brutal, too short and too uncertain for the citizens, especially as the activities of these terrorist groups go unchecked.
“The Governor of Kaduna State has been left defenseless and has continuously called on the Federal Government to deploy the full force of the security apparatus to root out the groups. His proposal to recruit foreign mercenaries also suggests the lack of capacity of Nigerian forces to deal with the situation.
“The occasional summoning of the security chiefs to the presidential villa after each attack and the issuing of directives did not yield any visible results; therefore, the president is expected to go all the way to curb insecurity in the country.
“As the general elections of 2023 approach, it is essential that the country achieves security stability for peaceful, inclusive and participatory elections.
“As much as citizens are expected to participate en masse, it is vital for security agencies to ensure citizens’ safety during elections.
“The President must therefore ensure that the security of Nigerians is given the same importance given to the stability of his political party by pulling all the resources in his power to strengthen security in the country.”
Nigerians free to express their opinions – Presidency
Contacted, a presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, declined to comment.
However, a senior presidential source said that Nigerians are entitled to have opinions on the security situation in the country.
He said, “People have opinions, and we can’t stop people from having opinions. People have the right to have their own opinions.