The marriage of convenience in the All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to be crumbling with the first signs of a battle-royale between the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawali Shuaibu, and his boss, Adams Oshiomhole. He has pointedly told the former Edo Governor to resign his office.
In a six-page letter dated May 27th, 2019, and addressed to the Chairman, Shuaibu in the letter titled “APC: Its fortune and misfortune, time to act!” said “It is my honest opinion that your ability to ensure this party flourishes is deficient as you lack the necessary composure and you also don’t posses the capabilities and the requisite experience to run a political party
He noted that in advanced democracies, people who fail to add value or build over and above what they met on assumption of duty show some civilised examples, “they honourably resign.”
Many fear that the move against Oshiomhole may be the first in a series of steps to force him out of his exalted position.
Said an APC insider in Abuja Tuesday: “Oshiomhole is a fighter and will not go down alone, that is if he does not tear us apart. I don’t know if the government has a hand in It, but if the anti-graft agencies come into it or any petition against him is revived, then this music will get ugly. He will definitely not accept the Oyegun treatment”.
The full text of Shuaibu’s letter said to have been delivered in Oshiomhole’s office this Tuesday reads:
I write this letter on my own behalf, personally and as a Deputy National Chairman.
I write this letter to you with very deep heart and high sense of responsibility.
I write this letter thinking because I am a critical stakeholder in the APC project.
I write this letter with my hands shaking arising from realizing of myself being involved in a project that is currently seen as failing, even before achieving the ambition of it’s founding Fathers. I never found myself in any failed project.
I sincerely believe in the APC Project, with all my heart.
l was part of more than 90% of all the meetings and processes that led to the final agreement to merge our Parties for purpose of this project. In fact, I led my own Party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, under which you initially served as Governor, to kick-start the National Convention to secure the consent of our members to merge with other Parties. You are fully aware that l was the Chairman of that National Convention in Lagos. I also served as member of the Merger Committee. Lest I forget, I was also the person mandated to file the registration documents with INEC and that is why the receipt for payment of the APC registration fees at INEC was issued in my name. I am stating all these, only to show proof, that I am a critical stakeholder in the APC project and therefore have a stake for which I reserve the right to write this letter to you. This is however, in addition to my being a legitimately elected Deputy National Chairman, North at the last National Convention, and not because I have any higher stake in APC than any other member.
To start with, the APC project, which started with the agreement to merge our legacy political Parties, eventually succeeded in forming a strong party that came with massive goodwill across all divides in Nigeria, and which was acknowledged to be first of its kind in the history of politics in this country.
The adopted norm at that time was team work all the way to success, and never unilateral approach to any decision-making. With that, various committees were formed to work assiduously towards achieving the goals of the new political party under an atmosphere of crude attack by the ruling party then, as well as deliberate lack of cooperation from Agencies of Federal Government. It was the first time calumnious statements were introduced against an Opposition party by the ruling party instead of vice-versa.
The interim leadership of The new Party, rather adeptly came up with a formidable army of brains drawn from it’s membership, that put together quite an impressive electoral strategy on how the Party could win election at all levels. The only function of the National Chairman was to preside over meetings in which ideas were discussed, he then allowed committees to go to work and submit reports which were tabled before the working committee for decisions or for further recommendations to the larger leadership meetings for final decisions.
The Party through it’s Committees, was able to organize congresses at all levels across the states and finally produced its National Officers when it conducted what was described as the most organized National Convention in recent history. Thereafter also, the substantive leadership of Party went ahead to organize the most orderly, cohesive and successful Presidential Convention, also in recent history.
When the APC Presidential Campaign started, we had two attractions; the electoral asset in the person of our Presidential Candidate and the manner of campaign that was devoid of hate speech or calumnious statements as against our opponents who unleashed their attack dogs on our Presidential Candidate and our new Party.
The maturity exhibited throughout the 2015 political rallies, together with the aura of our Presidential Candidate attracted massive goodwill for the Campaigns, and the value addition to that, was unquantifiable.
At the end of our successful Campaigns in 2015, our Presidential Candidate won massively with a whooping 15,424,923 votes as against a sitting Nigerian President’s 12,853,162 votesll This is in addition to having 23 States to our credit.
2019 Election Activities and Campaigns
Under normal circumstances, when you take over as a Project Manager, it is expected that you bring to bear, your wealth of experience to the new job which will be seen in your capacity and capabilities as value addition.
In a political party like the APC, you are expected to also introduce new approach to strategies through committees that will work and submit recommendations to you towards improving on the current fortunes of the Party.
It is expected that for every decision credited to the Party, it should be the result of a meeting where resolutions are passed by the working committee.
It is also expected that policies by the party are always alI-inclusive and never one sided and to cap it up, no unilateral decisions should be made to represent the opinion of either the National Working committee, the National Executive Committee or even the least, the National Caucus. National Chairman cannot assume the powers of the National Working Committee.
Faulty Processes The last Congresses in States, unfortunately, represented a complete lack of knowledge, not to talk of experience on how due process in political electoral process is adhered to.
The National Working Committee is saddled with the responsibility of recommending guidelines for every electoral process and appointing committees that will embark on conducting primary elections for every constituency and submit report and thereafter an appeal committee will attend to complaints and petitions and also submit its report to the NWC. The National Working Committee is then expected to perform the duty of the final adjudicatory body on each electoral matter and from there you have the final list of Candidates.
National Chairman cannot, in any circumstances be Chairman of any committee be it screening committee of any other committee contrary to what you did.
Chairman presides over the meetings of Nationai Working Committee in which each matter disposed of by any appeals committee is examined and Tina! decision reached.
If the National ChairMan should chair any of these committeés what if there is a complaint about his own conduct, who do you send your petition to? He can not be a judge in his own matter!
National Working Committee meetings, in my own experience, shall not be held in private residences especially where it involves thousands of party men and women with grudges over injustice meted out on them by officials of the Party. The Party Secretariat is the officially recognized venue of such meetings, uniess if there are other motives for keeping away from there.
For every meeting of any organ of the Party, there shall be minutes of the meeting reflecting every decision taken at such meeting. Most of the meetings held and fundamental decisions purported to have been taken were not backed by minutes.
The few meetings that were covered by the Secretariat and minutes taken could clearly show that final decisions of the NWC were altered! Example was the unanimous decision by NWC to allow Mrs Aisha Alhassan, former Minister of Women Affairs to go and contest with her co-Aspirants at the primaries in Taraba State which decision was overruled by you. You singIe-handedly disqualified her and numbers in the Party got depleted and thereby weakened. So also, several other aspirants that you personally disqualified without Just cause.
Arising from such conduct, the APC ended up with severe injuries and is today badly fractured in virtually every constituency in this country, resulting in the erosion of the massive goodwill that you met the Party with.
Apart from the President, more than 60% of members including those that contested elections under the APC in 2019 are not happy with the process as it left a lot to be desired. We have Court cases in every State, by far much more than it was in 2015 and I wonder how much money the Party is likely to spend on litigations arising from mistakes of the National Chairman in not adhering to due process and sidelining transparency. Committees for primaries became secret affair to the extent that not even members of the NWC were aware of how certain committees were constituted with members mostly from Edo State outnumbering every other State and in some instance, the same Edo members sewing in more than one State in conducting primaries. The records are there to be seen. What is wrong with being just in what you find yourself doing for the people? Personal interest should not be allowed to overshadow the interests of our teeming loyal members across the country.
We all know and I still believe that by electing us into the various Party offices, we are expected to build this institution to flourish and wax stronger beyond our own tenure, not to be seen as undertakers that came to kill and bury it, and clearly so! The strength of every political Party I also believe, lies in the number of States it is able to win elections.
We had 23 States in 2015, but after the 2019 elections we lost 7 States!
We also had 60 Senators in 2015 at the end of the election count, we now end up with 57 Senators in 2019! You were not brought in to lose election, It is absolutely unacceptable!
What this entails is that for any Senator to become a presiding Officer he needs to go and kneel down before the PDP Senators and beg for support! And to make things worse, you announced that APC will not allow any PDP Senator to be , appointed as Committee Chairman except the committees statutorily meant for the opposition members of the Senate. That is never the tradition of the legislature anywhere! The Legislature is the house of collaboration and lobby and you can never succeed with hostile approach, you must lobby seek for cooperation of members across Party divides. If you don’t know, you have made the situation worse than it seems. Try and use your calculator and you will find that as at now, if anybody, backed by the PDP members, wants to become Senate President, all he needs is the support of only 6 APC Senators to win the election on the floor of the Senate! Chairman, strategies are not announced on television, they are discussed at caucuses.
We have no reason whatsoever to go about it this way if we really are serious in building this institution that many leaders suffered to put in place.
Conclusion and Prayer
It is my honest opinion that your ability to ensure this party flourishes is deficient as you lack the necessary composure and you also don’t possess the capabilities and the requisite experience to run a political Party.
The respect APC was commanding among its members and Sympathizers have been completely eroded, while the goodwill has equally evaporated with the type of attitude of threats to members you deploy, including senior members like Governors, Senators, Ministers and other Government officials whose functions do not fall within your jurisdiction. As I know, the relationship between Party and Government are cooperation and collaboration to ensure Government programs are implemented in line with the party manifesto, but not shouting and giving marching instructions to Government officials on television screens or on the pages of newspapers, and more often than not, they call your bluff and make look helplessly unimportant in the scheme of things”
Please don’t get me wrong, do not think I am saying these about your conduct as Chairman because I want to be Chairman. I don’t want to be National Chairman, because I can not be, even if I want to, for as long as President Muhammadu Buhari is in office, having come from the same North West geo-political zone.
In advanced democracies, people who fail to add value or build over and above what they met on assumption of duty show some civilized examples, they honourably bow out.
In that connection therefore, I want to advise you to take the path of honour, to step aside and allow the Party to embark on the onerous task of reconstruction and rehabilitation in those States it was weakened by the effect of manner the last primary election exercises were conducted or even the task of recreating the party where it is on the path of extinction, arising from the loss of a sitting APC Government, for example in Zamfara State, where you directly personally created the problem leading to the painful complete loss of APC’s electoral fortunes, FROM UP TO DOWN I All these are uncontestable facts. You cannot exonerate yourself from blame on what happened to APC Zamfara State, thereby destroying the hopes and aspirations of 534,541 APC members and supporters, including my goodseW!
l have nothing personal, except that I love this Party and can not keep quiet seeing it being brutally murdered!
Senator Lawal Shuaibu
Deputy National Chairman, North