Nigerian politics and the ‘PHD’ syndrome


How are the mighty fallen is a phrase from the Holy Bible in 2 Samuel 1: 19. Over the weekend, a political tsunami swept away the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and the National Secretary of the party, Senator Iyiola Omisore. They were forced to resign their respective positions to avoid the ignominious option of being sacked by their colleagues in the National Executive Committee. This brought to an end a tortuous journey of 15 months having been elected at a National Convention in Abuja on March 26, 2022.

Several allegations were levelled against the duo. According to the Daily Trust online edition of Monday, July 17, 2023, Adamu committed seven mortal sins. These include opposition to the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the lead up to the presidential party primary last year. The former National Chairman informed the NWC then that former President Muhammadu Buhari was backing ex-President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, as the consensus presidential standard bearer of the party. This was later countered by the Progressives Governors’ Forum who went to meet the former president and lobbied him to allow for a power shift to Southern Nigeria. Adamu also was alleged to fail to reconcile the warring factions among the state chapters of the party.

Furthermore, National Vice Chairman of the party for the North-West, Lukman Salihu, many times accused the former national chairman of running the party like a sole administrator as well as abuse of office; the failure of Adamu to win his Polling Unit, ward, local government and the state (Nasarawa) for the APC during the presidential election of February 25 also show him as a weak leader who has not improved the fortunes of the party. There was also the open criticism of the ex-chairman of the emergence of principal officers of the 10th National Assembly. He was likewise accused of a gaffe for saying Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, is “extremely incapacitated” while praying for his speedy recovery last week.  Lastly, Adamu was accused of snubbing his colleagues “Governors of 1999 Set” who went on official visit to see the president last week. He was conspicuously absent when he should ordinarily be the chief host.

This newspaper shed more light on the other reasons why the duo of Adamu and Omisore were forced to resign   Aggrieved NWC members told The PUNCH correspondent on Monday that the contention over the manner the two men handled the audit of the party’s account, refusal to render party account for one year, lack of transparency, violation of the party constitution and running a one-man show without the contribution of the National Working Committee, were responsible for their downfall.

July 17 edition of The Cable expatiated on why Adamu and Omisore were removed. The “final straw,” according to insiders, was Adamu’s failure to account for the N32bn raised by the party from the sale of forms for the 2023 general elections. Only N7bn is allegedly left in the account. The credible source was quoted as saying that “Adamu and Omisore claimed the account has been audited, but we are not aware of when the auditors were appointed. How can NWC not be aware of the appointment? It is part of our responsibilities to appoint auditors.” Sensing the move to remove him, Adamu had reportedly sought the support of the chairmen of the state chapters of the party but received a cold shoulder. “By the APC constitution, the proceeds were supposed to be shared with the zonal, state and ward levels of the party, and they were not in the know. So there was no way they were going to support him,” another party insider reportedly informed TheCable.

Some other people accused Adamu of working in cahoots with the suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and ex-President Muhammadu Buhari to frustrate the victory of Tinubu at the poll by initiating the redesigning of the new naira notes on the eve of a general election. They said this was aimed at ensuring that there was no cash for political logistics. This is considered as self-immolation, a political suicide.

Related News
  • North-Central, South West ex-govs may replace Adamu, Omisore
  • Audit report nails Adamu, Omisore as Tinubu, govs shop for new chair
  • APC replaces Omisore with Fuanter, postpones NEC meeting

With the exit of Adamu and Omisore, other positions that are presently vacant in the APC National Working Committee includes Deputy National Publicity Secretary, formerly occupied by Murtala Ajaka, who is running for the office of Kogi governor on the platform of Social Democratic Party and National Welfare Officer, previously occupied by the late Friday Nwosu.

I have granted several media interviews since this news broke on Monday, this week. I am of the considered view that what is happening in our political parties in Nigeria is heart-rending! Leadership instability has been a recurring decimal in all Nigerian political parties both dominant and fringe ones. I have been working with political parties for 20 years now and I can say without any fear of contradiction that Nigerian political leadership has been most insecure. Some political analysts have described what is happening in our political system as ‘crabism’ or ‘pull him or her down’ phenomenon. How can a country attain democratic consolidation when there is no political stability?

APC as a ruling party was registered in July 2013. In 10 years of existence, it has had five party chairmen. Chief Bisi Akande (interim chairman) followed by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun,  Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Mai Mala Buni (Caretaker Chairman), Senator Abdullahi Adamu and now Acting Chairman Abubakar Kyari. All of these leaders were former or serving governors except for Kyari who is a former Senator.  Out of the lot, only Odigie-Oyegun served out his four-year tenure. He was however barred from seeking re-election in 2018.

The Peoples Democratic Party ruled Nigeria for 16 years out of its about 25 years of existence. In its quarter of a century only one party chairman managed to serve out its tenure. From its pioneer chair, Solomon Lar, to Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Ahmadu Ali, Vincent Ogubulafor, Okwesilieze Nwodo to Bamanga Tukur, Abubakar Muazu, Ali Modu Sheriff, Prince Uche Secondus, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu and now Amb. Umar Damagun only one PDP chairman, Col. Ahmadu Ali (retd.), served out his tenure and stepped down without rancour.

In other political parties such as the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Labour Party and ADC, it’s the same story. In fact, the African Democratic Congress suspended its 2023 presidential candidate, Dumebi Kachikwu, over alleged anti-party activities. This was as a Federal High Court Abuja nullified the executive committee of the African Democratic Congress led by Ralph Nwosu in December 2022. As I write this, there are two factional chairmen laying claim to the chairmanship of the Labour Party. There is Julius Abure faction and Lamidi Apapa faction. In APGA, for many years there was internal leadership wrangling between Chief Chekwa Okorie and Chief Victor Umeh.

The leadership crisis that has engulfed all our political parties stems from lack of internal democracy. Leaders are packaged in without election in what is popularly referred to as consensus candidacy. Why would political leaders be averse to political contests or elections? There are also issues of abuse of office, corruption, misgovernance, lack of due process as well as lack of accountability and transparency in party administration. Unless and until these issues are resolved, the leadership crisis will continue to plague Nigeria’s political parties.

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