Quite often we mislead ourselves into believing that President Muhammadu Buhari is the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and every command and direction passes through his office. Agreed that Buhari is the leader of the party as APC constitution clarifies, but Adams Oshiomhole is chairman and chief executive of APC.
Oshiomhole presides over the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party as well as the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. He is also chairman of the party’s convention.
From all indications, Buhari does not interfere with the running of the APC. He is a thorough democrat. Whenever the party meets, watch Buhari demonstrating his democratic values as he allows the party to take charge. He knows that the party is the organ that sponsored the President and other top functionaries into government. Therefore, the head of the party is supreme in party affairs
It is unfortunate that many are trying to resist the powers of the party. How can a governor sponsored by the party flout the order of the party with impunity? I can’t imagine that a governor has the guts and temerity to flout and create another party within the APC that sponsored him to power and expect that when the party he sponsored wins he will receive the same honour and respect. That is absurd. At times, I blame the leadership of the party for not invoking the supreme party order by constituting the national executive council of the party to dismiss the erring governors.
In 1985, Dr. Kingsley O. Mbadiwe formed the National Democratic Party of Nigeria (NDPN) within the NCNC and had his membership as A.C. Nwapa Esq, who was former federal minister of commerce and industry, from Ugwuta, Chief L.N.C. Obioha from Arondizuogu, an industrialist; Chief Iweka and Kola Balogun from the west and others, including a prominent Nnewi man. They were harassing, cajoling and calling the leadership of the party names. The party, NCNC had her national convention at Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos, and the agenda of that convention was to discuss Mbadiwe’s anti-party activities. That incident nearly broke the cohesion and grip of the NCNC. Mbadiwe read the writing on the wall and quickly abandoned that new formation and joined the original party. That was the end of the NDPN, although a punishment was meted out on the erring party members.
In a similar development, Chief A.M.A. Adisa Akinnloye invoked the supremacy and power of the NPN at a point when Chief M.K.O. Abiola became uncontrollable. He stood his ground and nearly expelled Chief Abiola, who then thought that the 1981 convention in Port Harcourt would have been a solid ground to effect a leadership change. In all these attempts, Chief Akinloye remained as strong, as enormous powers of the party remained with him.
I am, therefore, advising those who think they can create crises in the party and get away with it to have a rethink. The party should be supreme. And members should obey its command.
The APC is right in what it has said about the leadership of the National Assembly. President Buhari has allowed the party to exercise its supremacy. The party controls the majority in the Assembly and should decide what happens. The era when the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives became the lords of the manor is gone. We should not allow a return to the era when they were even trying to impose things on the executive.
In those days, when party supremacy and the executive were enormous, even in your ward, you did not raise your head to make certain pronouncements that could undermine the powers of the party. Such acts were resisted with adequate, punishment from the party. The powers of the party must remain supreme. There can’t be two captains in a ship.
•Umenzekwe writes from Lagos. Email [email protected]