The National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has weighed in on the recent crisis that rocked the party, exposing several issues that led to the problem.
Tinubu disclosed that problems had been lingering in the party for months, especially among its leadership. He criticized the now-dissolved national working committee, NWC of the party adding that order, party discipline and mutual respect had disappeared. He made his position known through a statement signed by his media aide, Tunde Rahman.
The statement reads in part:
"I wish to begin my remarks by commending members of the National Working Committee. Under their collective stewardship, the party earned great and important victories, not least the vital second mandate handed to President Buhari. President Buhari’s victory and the overall electoral success of APC speak highly of them. Our task as a party is to build upon the progress thus made so that both nation and party may advance to their better future."
"Yet, we must acknowledge that something important has gone off track. For some months we have experienced growing disagreement within the leadership of the party. This unfortunate competition had grown so intense as to impair the performance of the NWC, thus undermining the internal cohesion and discipline vital to success."
"Some people have gone so far as to predict the total disintegration of our party. Most such dire predictions were from critics whose forecasts said more about their ill will than they revealed about our party’s objective condition. Predictions of the APC’s imminent demise are premature and mostly mean-spirited. However, an honest person must admit the party had entered a space where it had no good reason to be."
"The trouble is not that we would forfeit our collective existence but whether we were in danger of losing our collective purpose. In some ways, this possibility is of greater concern. A political party that has lost sight of the reason for its existence becomes but the vehicle of blind and clashing ambitions. This is not what drove the APC’s creation."
"Those who believe Nigeria can be forged into a better nation and deserves good governance must harken back to the establishment of our party. Those who were there and contributed the most to the party’s genesis embraced a common vision. Not only did we believe the venal, purblind PDP was leading the nation into a pit, we sincerely held a common vision of progressive good governance. This was the overriding reason for the APC."
"Those most intimately involved in founding the party remain faithful to this benign, timely assignment. Sadly, many members have lost their balance. Their personal ambition apparently came to greatly outweigh the obvious national imperatives."
"Even in the best of times, Nigeria is beset by myriad challenges. Poverty and economic inequality, insecurity, lack of infrastructure are longstanding obstacles that have blocked our access to national greatness for too long."
"Through no fault of our own, we now live in a moment of heightened difficulty. We did not ask for COVID-19 but it has found us. We must deal with it and navigate its rude economic consequences. At the same time we must grapple with the violent insecurity caused by increasingly desperate terrorists and criminals. People need concrete help from us. We must focus on building roads and creating jobs. For the average man, watching politicians wrestle for position is a poor substitute to seeing politicians working for the benefit of all."
"Yet, such intramural fighting has come to occupy the attention of many high ranking party officials and members."
"The National Working Committee, itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict. Those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground. Attempts were made to use the power of executive authority to bury each other. I must be blunt here. This is the behaviour of a fight club not the culture of a progressive political party."
"Some members went against their chairman in a bid to forcefully oust him. In hindsight, his fence-mending attempts were perhaps too little too late. I believed and continue to believe that Comrade Oshiomhole tried his best. Mistakes were made and he must own them. Yet, we must remember also that he was an able and enthusiastic campaigner during the 2019 election. He is a man of considerable ability as are the rest of you who constituted the NWC."
"It had been my hope that the disagreements could be resolved. After all, a political solution should not be beyond the ken of leaders of a major political party. But such resolution has failed to materialise. It was as if some unseen but strong force continued to stoke the embers. Instead of calling a prudent ceasefire, too many people sought more destructive weapons against one another."
"Order, party discipline and mutual respect went out of the window. Members instituted all manner of court cases, most of them destructive, some of them frivolous, none of them necessary. In the process, a dense fog fell upon our party."
"When this matter first came to a boil a few months ago, I issued a statement against this litigious tendency. President Buhari and former interim chairman Akande published strong words against this misuse of the courts as being contrary to the spirit of the party and the letter of its constitution. Each of us knew nothing good would come of such conduct. Instead of listening to this counsel, party members increased their trips to the courts. While busy providing ample livelihood for a gaggle of lawyers, these actions cast the good of the party to the wind."
"After the fusillade of lawsuits and countersuits, two NWC members laid competing claims to the chairmanship. One legitimately elected at our national convention; the latter whose claim was based on the questionable suspension of the former."
"With lawsuits so numerous one needed a spreadsheet to keep track, President Buhari has reasonably decided that he has seen enough. I do not lament his intervention or its outcome. I lament that the situation degenerated to the point where he felt compelled to intervene."
He called on NWC members to sheath their swords and come together in order to win the upcoming Edo and Ondo state elections. He also stated that former members of the dissolved NWC can also recontest.
"In this vein, I appeal to all former members of the National Working Committee and all members of our party to sheathe their swords and look to the larger picture."
"We have governorship elections around the corner in Edo and a primary and elections in Ondo. On these important events we must concentrate our immediate energies. In the longer run, we must restore the collegial nature to the party so that it should be in the practice of coming to support the President instead of him having to rescue the party from itself."
"In Edo, we must rally round our candidate Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu. In this, Comrade Oshiomhole has a crucial role to play. I congratulate him for his equanimity and loyalty to the party and our President in accepting the dissolution of the NWC. I encourage him, now, to return to Edo State to energise the campaign for the election of Pastor Ize-Iyamu."
"In addition to the daily operation of the party, the Caretaker Committee has the mandate to prepare for a mini national convention within six months. We must give the committee the support needed to fulfil this assignment in an impartial manner."
"As I understand it, no one has been precluded from seeking any party office to which he is otherwise eligible. Former NWC members are free to seek re-election to the NWC. Provided they have the support of party members, they will have an opportunity to return to serve the party in a leadership capacity. This reflects our overriding desire to restore and maintain internal democracy not subvert it" the statement read in part.