A weekly intelligence report on Nigeria Politics and Security says a silent crisis is rocking the country’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The report by Menas Associates, a political risk consultancy also says All Progressives Congress (APC) governors have had their way with the dissolution of their party’s National Working Committee (NWC) which, under Adams Oshiomhole, had become a threat to their bid to control the party’s structure.
According to excerpts from the report, President Muhammadu Buhari helped in pulling his ruling party back from the edge of descending into total chaos after he backed a faction of the party and forced the dissolution of its NWC.
‘’This action has brought an end to the controversial reign of Oshiomhole as the party’s national chairman and also rolled back the crisis that was almost tearing it apart’’, the Menas intelligence report says, adding, ‘’Buhari’s decision to intervene in the APC crisis was the result of pressure from two of its state governors that are close to him.’’
Continuing, the report says Buhari’s actions angered the pro-Oshiomhole faction to the point where they are alleging that he was blackmailed into backing the anti-Oshiomhole faction.
‘’The dissolution of the pro-Oshiomhole NWC has been viewed as a huge blow to the political ambitions of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu — the former Lagos State governor and the APC’s current national leader — who was seen as the leading contender for the 2023 Presidency when Buhari’s tenure comes to an end.
‘’Oshiomhole was seen as Tinubu’s stooge who was being used to control the structure of the party in order to smooth the way for his presidential ambitions. Now that he has been removed the feeling is that Tinubu’s ambitions are in jeopardy.
‘’Now that the governors have persuaded Buhari to sack him, they are likely to continue to ensure that they have absolute control over the party’s future structure but this is likely to create tensions with the pro-Tinubu group.’’
Already, the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee has started consultations with the bruised party stalwarts. It has visited the pioneer APC Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, and Tinubu. It is the committee’s first step since the Oshiomhole NWC was dislodged.
Tinubu said at his Ikoyi, Lagos home on Thursday night, ‘’we have no differences to be sorted out. We just had consultations and those consultations are about how our party, the APC, will continue to be a progressive party. Politics without seeming ‘media crisis’ will be less interesting, depending on your (reporters’) persistent questioning.
“But the question is: are we committed to building this party and Nigeria? That is what we are all about. We’re steering the ship of our party and our nation in the right direction. We lost one of our brothers, Isiaka Ajimobi. We discussed him, sent very sincere condolence to the family and looked at our party, the APC, which is the cure for aches and pains.
“We’ll apply the ingredients of APC to what appears to be pains in our party so we can heal. Sincerely, we have trust and respect for the character of the chairman of the caretaker committee. We’re willing to support him to succeed for the party to continue its crusade of progressive governance in the country.”
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos says: “I am a good host, I am happy to have my colleagues here, it has been a very fruitful discussion we had here this evening.”
Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, the Caretaker Committee Chair led the delegation to Tinubu’s home. Other members of his entourage were: Secretary Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe, Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Bagudu and Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello.
Buni said the meetings were part of the consultations “we are making. You know the task before us is daunting and we need guidance, experience and prayers from our leaders.” Hhad earlier led a five-man delegation to Akande’s Ila-Orangun home in Osun State, for a one and half hour parley.
Director of Press to Governor Buni, in a statement, said: “Akande urged the committee to differentiate true party men from platform seekers for the party to grow. There is great hope in what l have seen in this committee, the party will certainly bounce back stronger.
“I will continue to leave myself open with a call on other stakeholders to cooperate and support the committee to succeed”.
Akande is also heading APC’s reconciliation committee which has received over 170 petitions. They went to consult him in order to know where the shoe pinch.
Governor Buni described the meeting as successful and very fruitful. “This meeting further gave the committee a lot of confidence towards a very successful exercise. With such support and encouragement from founding fathers like Akande, we are strengthened and confident that all other stakeholders will extend the required support for the party to emerge stronger.”
In the meantime, Tinubu is said to have endorsed the aspiration of Akinwumi Ambode, for the Lagos East Senatorial re-run poll. Tinubu aborted Ambode’s second term bid as the governor of Lagos.
APC stakeholders in the senatorial district are said to have resolved on Ambode’s preference as the suitable candidate to replace the deceased Senator Osinowo.
Meanwhile, the intelligence report says ‘’so far, the main opposition PDP appears to have benefitted from the crisis that has been tearing its main rival apart.’’
It, however, pointed out that despite the apparent relative calm in the PDP, ‘’it has its own silent crisis which is brewing between two factions.’’
Menas Associates cited the two factions as those of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who was the PDP presidential candidate in 2019 and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
According to it, the silent crisis in the PDP ‘’could come to a head in months ahead as it begins the process of challenging for the Presidency in 2023.’’