By Emmanuel Aziken
After dithering procrastination the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has pledged to commence the planned validation and registration of party members next week.
Ever since the plan was first revealed last year it has remained a source of acrimony among party members struggling over the soul of the party.
The struggle first consumed Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who was shoved out as national chairman last year.
Reflective of the viciousness in the struggle, those against Oshiomhole and his group ensured that the party’s candidate in the 2020 governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu lost in the Edo State governorship election.
Ize-Iyamu, who by many accounts ‘won the 2016’ contest despite being in the opposition at the time was soundly beaten in the 2020 election despite the advantage of having security and all that.
Many were able to see the role of Oshiomhole’s enemies in the APC in the defeat of his anointed candidate.
If for anything, it was to silence the comrade governor who had in the past celebrated his decimation of the godfathers in Edo State.
Given the trauma he was made to pass through, it was no shock that when a former associate, Hilliard Eta last December sought to resurrect what was left of the Oshiomhole executive, that Comrade was quick to distance, disown and dispel any relationship to him.
For Comrade, he had had enough of APC bad politicking.
But there are some who simply cannot walk away. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the party is one such person.
Without him and the God factor, the APC could not have achieved the success it did in 2015.
On the way to Change, the National Leader and his associates successfully registered the APC as a party. His rivals in the party believe that he has the membership register and data which they claim he can use to produce the candidate at the prompt of buttons.
The sweeping defeat of Akinwunmi Ambode in the Lagos APC primaries, the emergence of Hope Uzodinma as APC candidate are among tales that party blabbermouths say are at the advantage of whoever controls the membership register.
Though the Mala Buni national committee was given the specific mandate of organizing fresh congresses and a national convention to produce a national leadership, the committee has somewhat managed to add to itself the duty of conducting a new membership registration exercise.
Incidentally, associates or those linked to the National Leader have been most opposed to this exercise.
When the issue began to gain traction last year, a party chieftain from Benue State had threatened to go to court over the exercise.
Given the chummy relationship between Asiwaju and Akume, some in Abuja hazarded that Akume was being used against the exercise. A source said he was simply called to order and his boy has since kept quiet.
What those behind it did next was to get President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval for the exercise. This Buni did when he visited the president on November 10, 2020.
Buni was escorted on that visit by the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Senator Bagudu Atiku who is also governor of Kebbi State and the governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru.
The Kebbi and the Jigawa governors according to sources have become the major influence moulders around Buni and whatever goes on in the APC of today.
Despite the fact that Tinubu’s ‘man’ Senator John James Akpan Udoedeghe is the secretary of the committee, it seems that for today, the national leader is on his own in the face of the determined effort by his traducers to whittle down his powers in the APC.
Earlier this week in an open admission of the desires of the Tinubu Camp against the exercise, James Faleke came out with what was supposed to be a clincher.
In an open letter he said that going on with the exercise would undermine the Federal Government’s fight against COVID-19.
While not calling for the cancellation, Faleke, a member of the House of Representatives representing Ikeja, called for a deferment of the exercise. His argument was that in the wake of the Second Wave of the pandemic that the ruling party should not be seen to be countermanding efforts directed against the pandemic.
That was about the most logical argument against going on with the re-registration exercise as scheduled.
However, Akpan Udoedeghe had a sharp response almost immediately. While commending Faleke over his concern, he was prompt to assure him that the party would adopt safe distancing protocol to ensure that COVID-19 is not spread during the exercise.
For the National Leader, the troubles of the exercise seem more than many eyes are presently seeing. The registration exercise could for the first time divide the unity of the Lagos APC going forward.
Fouad Oki, the factional chairman of the party in Lagos, having rebelled from the Tinubu mainstream is spoiling for a showdown with the National Leader and has reportedly started mobilizing for the exercise.
Oki, remarkably has not hidden his support for the 2023 governorship aspirant, Abdulaziz Adediran. Adediran, who was at one time linked to the Babatunde Fashola family is the champion of the Lagos4Lagos Movement which aims to eviscerate Tinubu’s leadership of the party. If Oki is able to galvanise popular support it could spell doom for all that Tinubu represents in Lagos.
The registration exercise as planned by the APC is exactly what the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP did in 2005 that threw Atiku Abubakar out of the party he founded. At that time Prof. Jibril Aminu the linkman for Adamawa refused to register Atiku.
Now despite its slogan of change, the APC which many complain has not as much changed much in governance is adopting the same prescription and procedure to cut down a leader.
So when some taunt that Tinubu has been quiet on the menace of Fulani herdsmen, they are ignorant of ferocity of the political marauders threatening him.