By AHURAKA ISAH, ANDREW ESSIEN, Oladipo Magaji, Solomon Ayado
Just about 11 days after its national convention, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has smacked another brick wall resulting in the emergence of a splinter group with the name Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC). The breakaway faction comprising most of the leading members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party’s (nPDP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) within the party has a former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Buba Galadima, as its head. The R-APC that was officially announced yesterday is to work with other compatible political parties and groups to offer Nigerians what it described as good governance in 2019. In a press conference attended by the leader of nPDP bloc in the APC, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, Galadima noted that the R-APC remains the authentic party and does not need to approach the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration. Noting that anyone who feels uncomfortable with the arrangement can go to the court, he described the local and state congresses as well as the national convention of the APC as undemocratic, just as he declared that the APC government is a monumental disaster. He said, “You will recall that in the build up to the 2015 General elections, some political parties and groups came together, and formed a brand new political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC. This merger was based on the strong belief that Nigeria had come of age, but was severely under-performing and unable to meet its potentials for good governance. The Nigerian people entrusted power to the APC based on its promises and potentials. “We are sad to report that after more than three years of governance, our hopes have been betrayed, our expectations completely dashed. The APC has run a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people”. Galadima further listed imposition of dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism as reasons why they decided to form the R-APC. He added: “It (APC) has failed to ensure the security and welfare of our people and elevated nepotism to unacceptable height. The APC has failed to deliver on its key promises to the nation. There is no evidence of any political will to reverse the decline of our party, while leaders who have created these circumstances continue to behave as if Nigerians owe our party votes as a matter of right. “The APC government, has been a monumental disaster, even worse than the government it replaced. The political party that was a vehicle for enthroning the government was rendered powerless by manipulations and complete lack of due process in its operations”. Noting that the last straw that broke the camel’s back was the state congresses and the national convention of the APC held recently, the R-APC leader said the congresses and convention “were intensely disputed as it was conducted with impunity, total disregard for due process, disregard for the party Constitution and naked display of power and practices that have no place in a party we all worked the very hard to put in place. “There are countless cases in courts all over the country challenging the legality of congresses and even the National Convention itself. It is very likely that the judicial decisions on these cases will result in massive chaos, confusion and uncertainties. The fate of a party in this state with a few months to the elections is best left to the imagination, but it is not a fate we believe our millions of members should be abandoned to”, he added. He listed states where there were parallel congresses to include Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto and Zamfara. Galadima stated: “These congresses in Wards, Local Government Areas and States all over the federation produced different sets of delegates. We therefore had an unfortunate situation where the party has been seriously factionalised and divided in not just 24 States but the 36 States and Abuja FCT. “The so-called National Convention of the APC was even worse. The National Convention of the party was ridiculed with constitutional infirmities that were so glaring and obvious that no fair-minded person can claim that a legitimate and lawful executive emerged from that process. “The Chairman of the organising Committee, Jigawa State Governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, declared 18 seats unopposed and uncontested, since only one valid candidate stood at the end of the grossly manipulated nomination exercise for each of the offices. He therefore proceeded to declare them duly elected in flagrant
He announced that the R-APC is made up of all the progressive forces in APC, including most of the leading members of the defunct nPDP, CPC, ANPP, ACN and others. He said, “The R-APC, will work with like-minded political parties and groups to offer Nigeria qualitative good governance in 2019. Nigeria faces an existential threat arising from three years of near destruction of this country and the exacerbation of our ethnic, religious and divisive cleavages. We will in concert with others offer real change to Nigeria. Not fake change. “It is clear that our party needs a leadership that will live by its founding ideals. We have therefore decided to legitimately lead those members to work to rebuild our nation more firmly on genuine democratic principles, to enshrine good governance and restore the faith of Nigerians in the possibility of the existence of a prosperous, secure and peaceful nation”. He implored Nigerians not to despair, assuring them that a rescue plan is in the works and will be unfolded soon. But in its reaction, the APC acknowledged the formation of the splinter group, saying it would respond to R-APC’s claim as soon as it gets details of the group. National publicity secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said, “We have report of a group of persons who have purportedly described themselves as a faction of our party. We will be able to give our reaction as soon as we get the full details and have the opportunity to review it”.