At the onset of the first term of the Muhammadu Buhari civilian dispensation four years ago, the inclination was to blame the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which held the reins of the country in the preceding 16 years for all the problems in the country.
However, after four years of Buhari on the saddle, the question as to his responsibility in the critical areas of governance cannot be prevented by the emotional attachment many have used in fending off the attacks on his personae.
President Buhari participates in Swearing-In Ceremony at the Eagle Square One excuse that had been used to the point of becoming a cliché was that the president is a man of integrity but that he does not know what his aides are doing.
FG’s intervention in tertiary institutions gulps N727.3bn in 4 years—While the critical issue of his performance in the critical areas of economy, security, and corruption remain debatable, one area that he has been rarely assessed is in his stewardship of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, APC. A female acquittance of your correspondent who four years ago mobilized for Buhari but changed track in 2019, called last Wednesday as the 29 new governors were being inaugurated to remind me that the PDP had 15 of the new governors being inaugurated.
That left the party that had control of the Federal Government with 14! That was a departure from the situation in 2015, when the APC had 20 and the PDP nine! In 2019, the party lost among others, Imo, Adamawa, Oyo, Benue, Sokoto and Zamfara States to the PDP. With contentions in Kano and Kaduna, it could be worse. So, when Senator Lawali Shuaibu, the deputy national chairman of the APC asked Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to resign as national chairman on account of the depletion, he only raised a red flag that is indicative of the coming battle that will unsettle the ruling party.
As with the governance of the country, Shuaibu, like many APC partisans, did not bring the president into the fray. However, in the days and months ahead as President Buhari progresses in office, his aim of leaving a worthy legacy would largely depend on how he addresses himself to the cohesion in his party. It was the failure of the president to act decisively that led to the losses in many of the states where the APC was humiliated.
Take Rivers State for example. What would it have cost the president to have summoned a meeting at the party secretariat between Rotimi Amaechi and Magnus Abe and allowed for a decisive interrogation of the issues between the two tendencies in the state chapter? It is now said that a Third Force within the APC allowed the crisis in Rivers to burgeon for the purpose of enabling Amaechi to be humiliated and cut to size ahead of the hustle for 2023. It is common political gossip that Amaechi is known not to flow along with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the leading 2023 political aspirant from the Southwest. Besides Rivers, the president’s seeming passiveness to the tantrums of former Governor Abdulazziz Yari in Zamfara was seemingly indefensible. In Imo State, Rochas Okorocha’s plot to build a family dynasty seemed to escape the famed anti-corruption concept of the president. The rot in Imo was worsened by the fact that it was regularly alleged that Okorocha was encouraged by some of the president’s enforcers within the presidency who may have been compromised. Despite perceptions of the First Lady’s objections to Senator Jibrilla Bindow in Adamawa, the president could still have intervened by strolling over to the other room and ensuring that his spouse and his party came out the better. But in all of these instances there was an apparent lack of leadership that allowed merchants of politics to prevail to the doom of the APC. Well, some have said that it serves the party right and that the president and the APC should continue to fumble in such a way that would lead the party to disintegration. But is that necessarily right for the polity?
The unfolding developments in the National Assembly provides an opportunity for redirection. Some party leaders having agreed among themselves on Senator Ahmad Lawan for Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila for Speaker are attempting to force it down on other APC legislators as the decision of the party. But where and when the party met and took a decision on the two men has not been said. It is now said that because of the perceived influence of Asiwaju Tinubu on the two men that other party interests are now mobilizing against them endangering their aspirations. President Buhari need not stand up and proclaim anyone as a presiding officer. As a responsible father, it is his duty to ensure that every one of his children is given the opportunity to harness his or her abilities. If he does that, it could well mean a turning around for the country as it would allow the best from his party into taking driving positions in government. But will he?