By Ojo Maduekwe
Since coming to power, Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party has blamed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for everything.
From the economy, even down to the confusion that has characterized the President Muhammadu Buhari administration; any blame you can think of has been heaped on the PDP. The APC has refused to take responsibility.
Last month, Lauretta Onochie, an aide to Buhari, accused the PDP of hijacking the government. Ms. Onochie said more than 50 percent of the presidency, judiciary and national assembly had been infiltrated by members of the PDP.
“They are everywhere; they are in the presidency, they are in the national assembly, you can find them in the judiciary, they are in the law enforcement agencies, they serve their interest,” Ms. Onochie alleged.
The preceding week before Ms. Onochie made her allegation, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs, Hameed Ali, also made the same accusation at a commissioning event by the Buhari Support Organisation.
“I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journey and these people are the ones that call the shot today. That is why we (the APC-led federal government) are derailing,” Ali said.
Part of Ms. Onochie’s job as personal assistant to President Buhari on social media is to amplify government propaganda. This is what she has done with the allegation made by the customs boss, Ali.
It is not true that there are PDP members in the present APC-led federal government. The Buhari administration is fully run by duly registered members of the APC. Regarding some PDP members who decamped in 2013 and were welcomed by the APC leadership which then used their support to defeat the PDP in 2015, they stopped being PDP members 4 years ago.
A little background
2013 was a historic year for Nigeria. In November of that year, seven aggrieved governors (G7) of then ruling PDP formed a faction known as the New PDP. Five of them would go on to publicly defect to then opposition APC.
The five governors were Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto). The governors, along with some lawmakers, were led by Abubakar Baraje, chairman of the New PDP, in decamping to the APC.
Amaechi is the current minister of transport, and Kwankwaso and Wamakko are presently serving in the senate. Ahmed remains a governor while Nyako, now ex-governor, along with his son, is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for corruption and money laundering.
The G7 joined the APC at a historic merger ceremony in Abuja attended by APC leaders such as President Muhammadu Buhari; national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu; and then interim chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande.
Baraje, as the chairman of the breakaway faction of the PDP, read the statement which formally switched the allegiance of members of the New PDP to APC. Now this statement was co-signed by Messrs Baraje and Akande.
Speaking to newsmen after the merger, Tinubu said, “What has happened today is significant for our country… What is important is not the numerical strength but the character and commitment of the people committed to change.”
This merger helped in getting the APC to defeat the PDP in a historic election. For the first time in Nigeria, the opposition removed a sitting president.
Not everyone blames PDP
At the commissioning ceremony, Ali said the APC-led government had “derailed” and lost focus of its vision. “Every day, when you wake up, there is a story that makes you shiver,” he said. He blamed the PDP for this.
Ali is not alone. Even the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari thinks that her husband has lost control of his government, but not to the PDP.
Last year October, in an interview with the BBC, Mrs. Buhari suggested that her husband’s government had been hijacked by a few people, a cabal that makes up the kitchen cabinet, who are behind presidential appointments.
“The president does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years,” according to Mrs. Buhari. She said those who had hijacked her husband’s government were not there at the beginning and did not support his ambition to be president.
Also, Governor El-Rufai in the leaked memo said the APC government had failed to manage voters’ expectations and that the general feeling even among supporters of the APC was that the government “Is not doing well”. Like the president’s wife, El-Rufai did not blame PDP for the APC’s failure.
When he asked Buhari to repair the damaged relationship between the executive and legislature, he said, “The relationship with the Senate was marred by the betrayal the party suffered at the hands of many of its members.”
Senator Bukola Saraki was said to have betrayed the party leadership to become Senate president. But, El-Rufai knew better than to blame this betrayal on the PDP because, legally speaking, Saraki is not a member of PDP.
APC has failed to lead
Members of the ruling APC, like most politicians are known to do, have been serving their interest, and this is the beginning of the APC’s failures. This is not the making of the PDP, but an inherent attribute of an average politician.
The failure of the current APC leadership and the Buhari government is that they have refused to accept members of the New PDP as one of them, and are not skillful at managing these different interests. Like Mrs. Buhari and El-Rufai said, both original and decamped members of the APC feel left out.
It is this feeling of marginalization that has resulted in them working for their interest as against that of the party. This selfish attitude is what Ali and Onochie attributes to a hijack of the arms of government by the PDP.
The APC can blame past PDP governments for mismanaging the country and that would be difficult to fault, but to blame the PDP for hijacking the APC government is bogus. All those running the Buhari administration are registered members of the ruling APC. If they’re not, the party should call for their sack.
PHOTO: President Muhammadu Buhari (M) flanked by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (L), and National Chairman of the APC, Chef John Odigie-Oyegun (R) Credit: (Sunday Aghaeze/STATE HOUSE ABUJA)